GENEALOGY-DNA-L ArchivesArchiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2002-09 > 1031258633
From: "Orin R. Wells" <>
Subject: Re: [DNA] Best DNA Test Labs
Date: Thu, 05 Sep 2002 13:50:23 -0800
At 08:50 PM 9/4/02 -0400, wrote:
>I am new to the list and may have missed the answer to this.
>I would like to get opinions of the best DNA test labs in terms of price,
>efficiency, quality of reports and other relevant factors. I am researching
>a DNA testing project for the Pace surname. How many DNA test labs are there?
>Gordon W. Pace
Since no one else is going to step up and provide anything positive for
Relative Genetics, I will.
We are using Relative Genetics for our surname study. The reason was
partly because we had our first phase through Brigham Young University as a
special Case under their Molecular Genealogy project and I wanted to be
sure we ended up with the same markers in both phases. Some day I hope to
finally get the BYU final data.
I have found Relative Genetics to be more responsive to me on inquiries
than I found Family Tree DNA. To be fair this was partly because I was
asked to provide a document outlining our plan and I received no reply
after I submitted it. That forced me over to Relative Genetics. But
Bennett thought some optional requirements were absolute requirements they
were not willing to meet so simply didn't respond. I am not really
faulting Family Tree DNA on this because they mistakenly assumed the
Relative Genetics was a done deal for us anyhow.
When I have a question on the project it is answered promptly and completely.
I never expected Relative Genetics to run our project for me, so all they
are really doing for us is testing the samples and providing the results
although they will do more for more focused groups including providing
Turn-around is typically three weeks on the samples. If you find what I
have found it takes far longer than this to get the volunteers to provide
my required information for participation including the genealogy and
coming up with the fees.
Relative Genetics has their own professional laboratory with the latest
equipment and trained people operating it. Family Tree DNA uses the
University Of Arizona for their processing. Not that this is in anyway
bad. I am sure the University is well equipped and professionally operated
as well. I prefer a one-stop shop. Bennett Greenspan did tell me that if
we went with them we would be provided access to the technicians in the lab
in the event we needed any questions answered. I personally see no
significant difference between the two labs and would not hesitate to use
Family Tree DNA if I were not using Relative Genetics. I am not at all
displeased with Relative Genetics.
Cost wise I see only one advantage at Family Tree DNA. That is they offer
the $99 blue plate special for 12 markers which can be upgraded at extra
cost to the 25 markers. My project has shown me that this would not work
well for us. But I have seen data from other projects where it clearly
seems adequate for some purposes. In fact I am having enough problems with
the current 23 markers. We are discovering far more unmatched participants
than I ever dreamed we would. Otherwise the cost of a group study appears
to be pretty much the same from both labs. Competition will do that for
you. Relative Genetics has a couple of plans to select from depending on
the expected size of the group project. You need to talk to them to work
out which is best for you.
Relative Genetics is good and they are getting better. We have seen no
hint that there are any problems with the sample analysis numbers. Granted
they still have not come forth with the certified STR numbers for the
YCA-II a/b markers, but that should be momentary. It poses no big obstacle
other than trying to compare this with unrelated samples in a database or
other study web sites. I don't think that is a very valid comparison in
most cases anyway. After all, if you are doing a surname study, why would
you care what another surname comes up with unless you have someone who
does not match and you are looking for that non-paternal clue. Odds are
there are not enough results in the world yet for you to find that needle
in the DNA haystack anyway.
I don't think you can lose with either lab. They both appear to be
excellent and professional.
We currently have 223 participants and growing. 80 are phase two
participants and the remainder are phase one participants. So far we have
only preliminary data from phase one and 14 results from phase two. We
have found matches - the whole goal of the project, and we have found
samples that don't match any known baseline family or any other
participant. But we have a long way to go. It isn't an easy thing to
make sense out of always.
Orin R. Wells
Wells Family Research Association
P. O. Box 5427
Kent, Washington 98064-5427
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