Saturday, March 3, 2012

Relative Finder to Family Finder

My wife Denise has had her autosomal DNA tested at both 23andMe and Family Tree DNA (FTDNA). Her father, Bill, was tested at FTDNA only. My sister-in-law, Michele has only been tested at 23andMe. Although sisters would be expected to share about 50% of their DNA, Denise and Michele only share a little less than 45%. Denise is shown by Relative Finder to have 798 potential cousins. Michele has 13.5% more matches there. 

Autosomal Matches
23andMe Relative Finder
FTDNA Family Finder
Bill (father) deceased
not tested
Denise (daughter)
Michele (daughter)
* Tested only at 23and me but results transferred to FTDNA

Recently when Family Tree DNA began offering those with Relative Finder results an opportunity to upload them into its Family Finder database, Michele's results were moved there. Neither sister was shown to have nearly as many potential cousins as had been the case with Relative Finder. However, again Michele was shown to have considerably more potential cousins in the database than her sister Denise. Their father had almost as many as Michele but not quite. 

From this I conclude that the conversion of Michele's results from one lab to the other worked efficiently and an expected number of cousins were identified in the second database. Only 10 matches were shared by all three family members--not counting their matches with each other. Denise and Bill, separately and together, accounted for a total of 146 unique matches. The transfer of Michele's results added an additional 46 unique matches.

As would be expected the amount of DNA shared by Bill with each daughter was roughly the same--3,381.34 cM for Denise and 3,370.78 for Michele. The daughters shared 2,251.64 cM with each other. This is slightly less than expected. 

Obviously from the results above, Relative Finder provides more potential matches than Family Finder. However, unlike with Family Finder, Relative Finder matches must be contacted in a "blind" process that places priority on protecting the privacy of customers. Many of these individuals are reluctant to engage in contact because their focus is only on the health results. Therefore, they are more difficult to contact to explore possible cousin-hood.

Overall I was pleased with the ease and apparent accuracy with which Michele's data migrated from Relative Finder to Family Finder. Transferring her results added 46 addition unique distant cousins to the Family Finder matches we can investigate to expand the family tree. Apparently FTDNA plans to expand this option as other companies (e.g. Ancestry) enter the field. 
"This option is available for men or women who have Relative Finder results from a third party company that used the Illumina OmniExpress Plus Genotyping BeadChip (this includes tests performed by 23andMe)." However, the placement of this offering in a section of its website entitled "Transfer Relative Finder" indicates this is the only third party results currently being accepted. At this time Ancestry is not offering that service to the public but is inviting potential customers to sign up to be notified when it becomes available. The competition is about to heat up.

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