Monday, November 7, 2011

DNA Tests on Sale for Holidays

This past weekend I attended FTDNA's 7th International Conference for Group Administrators in Houston. This was the first time I have been able to participate in this conference. It brought together 180 volunteer coordinators of various DNA projects. Most of these projects are surname projects. However, some of them are based on haplogroups or on geographic region of origin. It was a very exciting and stimulating two days.

Speakers included geneticists including Spencer Wells who gave an update on the Genographic Project, Michael Hammer who updated the status of efforts to study ancient (including Neanderthal) DNA and Thomas Krahn who gave a status report on his Walk Through the Y Project. Project coordinators, a legal expert and others at the forefront of the application of this dynamic science to the advancement of family history research also made reports. 

As many of you know, genetics is a young and volatile branch of the life sciences. Alice Fairhurst, coordinator of the Y-DNA Haplogroup Tree Project of the International Society of Genetic Genealogists, reported that the number of new subbranches of the Y-chromosome tree that have been recognized in 2011 are already four times the number identified in 2006 and may approach or surpass the number of such new discoveries of five years ago by a factor of five by the time the year is over. It is increasingly difficult for any one individual to begin to keep up with all the new discoveries coming out of labs around the world.

At the end of the conference Bennett Greenspan, founder of FTDNA, disclosed that FTDNA would be announcing a new sale on DNA tests later this week. That sale should extend until the holidays. Depending on how this sale structured This would be a great opportunity to extend one's tests to reach a greater precision or to involve additional family members in DNA testing. What would be a better gift for the family member who has everything? Your whole family could benefit from the results. Stay tuned for more details on this sale and for other information coming out of this conference.

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