I've become a DNA junky. In the last 5 years I've had my entire genome sequenced as part of Harvard University's Personal
Genome project, Family Tree DNA, 23andMe, ancestry.com. I've also convinced over 20 relatives and a few friends to take the
I think I'm mainly a Nihilist but aspire to be a Sage in the cartoon below. With the DNA testing I've done and the number
of databases I'm in, privacy is a lost cause. Fortunately I don't think I have anything that interesting for people to find
and I have a hope that I'm helping other people.
I've tested the greatest number of people on ftdna.com. Partly this is because they have the best tools for DNA analysis,
partly because it is where I started, and partly because it is the easiest test to do. Many of the companies require spitting
into a tube. ftdna has cheek swabs which are quick and easy to use.
All of the companies have an autosomal DNA test. ftdna also does Y str and mtDNA testing. See the links at the right for
some background about what this means. The mtDNA is passed down from the mother to both of her children. Hence one can trace
back from your mother to her mother, etc, back to DNA Eve. However it has the least information and the surname changes each
generation so is hard to track.
Y str or SNP testing is more useful and very helpful when you are a male and tracing your surname. The Y is passed unchanged
from father to son. ftdna supports a large number of projects to group people together around DNA tests and something they have
in common. The most interesting to me is the Smith surname project. My paper genealogy dead ends at Clark SMith b 1780 a 3rd
great grandfather. I haven't found a living Smith descendant of him except my brother and I. There are over 2000 Smiths in the
Smith DNA project and I'm not closely related to them.
Ian McDonald manages a project of people that have a Y chromosome most closely related to mine. I'm in what he calls the Graham clan
of the King's cluster DF98. Even in this small sub group I'm in my own single group. The next chart has a lot of information
in it. You can find me on the tree by finding the Graham clan, going down and to the right at the first branch. With all of
the people that have been DNA tested, there isn't yet anyone that has a common ancestor with me for 2000 years or so. King's cluster
Several years ago I joined the Personal Genome Project. The PGP was founded by George Church from Harvard
university. They have a goal of sequencing tens of thousands of genomes, then making them public, along with
their phenotpes; height, weight, MRIs, health surveys, ...
My genome was sequenced and made public over a year ago. I found out that I have one copy of the APOE4 allele which
makes me at least twice as likely as the average European to develop Alzheimer's disease by the time I'm 75.