Friday, June 7, 2013

Denise's DNA Day at SCGS Jamboree

Editor's note: This post was written by Denise Hibsch Richmond. 


Source: nlm.nih.gov
Dateline:  Burbank, California, 80 deg.
Today was DNA Thursday, a pre-Jamboree day-long event.  Its official title was "FAMILY HISTORY AND DNA: GENETIC GENEALOGY IN 2013".  The Southern California Genealogical Society (SCGS) and the International Society for Genetic Genealogy (ISOGG) jointly sponsored this conference dedicated to exploring the use of DNA as a tool in tracing our families.

My husband Scott and I attended this conference because I was ready to dip my toes into the DNA waters.  (As many of you know, Scott is a good sport, attending many conferences with me as my aide de camp.)  As it turned out, the waters were deep. 

Watch Your Phraseology Girlie Girl
I thought of this line said by the Mayor of River City as he admonished his daughter in The Music Man.  Not that DNA terms are 'fresh', just that terminology is key to understanding DNA, from what test to select to understanding your results.  Autosomal, mitochondria, centimorgan, haplotype, subclade, phasing, switching errors, bootstrapping, and the list goes on.  Then there's the alphabet soup of DNA.  Just as well, these are 'sciencey', sometimes multisyllabic words that call out for an acronym, such as SNP, STR, IBD, IBS and more.  The syllabus included a lengthy vocabulary list, definitely driving home the importance of knowing what the DNA experts are talking about.

These were the classes we attended today. 

Chromosome Mapping for Genealogical Purposes by Tim Janzen MD. This presentation described techniques of doing chromosome mapping and triangulation using autosomal DNA results from 23andMe's test and Family Tree DNA's Family Finder.

DNA and Family History: Getting the Most out of 23andMe’s Genealogical Features by Joanna Mountain PhD.  23andMe is one of three genetic testing services.  The others are FamilyTree DNA and AncestryDNA.  This class provided step-by-step examples that revealed how DNA can be used to solve family mysteries.

Genetic Genealogy: Beginner Basics by Emily Aulicino.  Ah, this was for me - basic, terminology.

An Inside Look at AncestryDNA by Ken Chahine PhD, JD.  New capabilities of DNA coupled with Ancestry.com may lead to new discoveries about your family story.  I learned that I am too new DNA to be trying to understand emerging technology.

So, what DNA service will I select?  Don't know...yet.

Guess I'll sleep on it. 

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