Thursday, May 5, 2011

Quick post on using FamilyFinder DNA

So between advising two DC friends of mine who recently went through with FFDNA tests to help them identify their biological father, and reading on The Genetic Genealogist: Using Autosomal DNA Testing to Identify An Adoptee's Roots, I thought it would be a good time to reiterate this opportunity (albeit a pricey one).

Family Tree DNA's Family Finder Test uses hundreds of thousands of locations across the genome (compared to 15 in a traditional DNA test) and has a large database with which they can identify not just close relatives (parents, siblings, grandparents) but as far out as 5-7th cousins!

This test is especially effective if both you and your mother are tested - though since the cost is close to $300/person, it's not imperative but very helpful.  It's especially helpful if you do not have a very detailed family history of your mother's family, where having her tested will show which matches were maternally inherited (those you share with her), and by process of elimination which matches are paternally inherited and could lead you to your biological father.

So what does this mean for you?  It means if you can identify "close cousins" on your paternal side, it's possible to trace or identify who your biological father is.  Many people who submit their DNA to FFDNA are genealogists, and many have very in-depth family trees.  If you identify a paternal 2nd cousin, this means that individual's father or mother was your biological father's first cousin.  It's likely that that person may have information or even an name of a person that fits the criteria of your biological father (i.e. a medical student at X University from this time to this time).

There are also other tests out there that provide similar information, such as 23andMe - which also provides medical information as well.  I've blogged extensively about the different tests and resources out are just a handful:
Best donor/sibling searching tools
Whatcha gonna do with all that junk, all that junk in your...DNA??
PAGE: All About DNA

I hope to save some money and in the near future submit my own DNA for the FamilyFinder Test, which of course I will chronicle here.

Please email me if you have any questions about these tests as I can direct you to people who have gone through with one of these tests and can give you greater insight.

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