GENEALOGY-DNA-L ArchivesArchiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2003-11 > 1069576159
From: OrinWells <>
Subject: RE: [DNA] Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation
Date: Sun, 23 Nov 2003 00:29:19 -0800
At 09:51 PM 11/22/2003, wrote:
>I wasn't aware that Sorenson owned Relative Genetics. Is he full owner
>or a minority percentage owner.
I think he is full owner.
>All of a sudden it's becoming a little clearer I think. Relative
>Genetics at some point in the not too distant future will suddenly have
>a huge data base, larger likely than any of their competitors, gleaned
>in part from the 100,000 people who thought they were participating in a
>research project and never understood it would be used in a commercial
>venture (i.e. Relative Genetics). Of course, this may not be the case,
>but it surely looks like the situation has a lot of potential to evolve
I think you are reading too much into this. Relative Genetics won't
actually have the database themselves. Relative Genetics came into being
at least two years after the project started. They have been in business
maybe two years. I forget exactly. In all that time the Molecular
Genealogy Database has NOT been under their wing.
For the Molecular Genealogy Database to be of any use to genealogists, it
has to become available for matching. That can't happen unless individuals
have their DNA tested and have the results run against the database. BYU
will never be in a position to do either. The only lab that makes sense to
try to match samples from is Relative Genetics because they are using that
same markers utilized by the Molecular Genealogy Project.
There was never any intention to make the database a commercial
venture. They certainly could not do so given the nature of how the
samples were collected and the promises made to the participants. I
believe that Relative Genetics will not make any money from the matching
done on the database. But they will make money on the analysis of the DNA
which they should if they plan to remain in business. I can not say if the
project will be making the database searchable on-line without using
Relative Genetics to do the searching. That is something we will have to
wait and see when it becomes available. I have wanted to have it available
for the past year when they started stating on their website that they
would have access to the largest database in the world, but have had to sit
back and wait like everyone else.
>My problem is a lack of disclosure to the participants that this link was
>there and might or would be connected.
I don't think there is any conflict here.
>I don't see this on their web page. I don't think it's fair to the other
>companies either that a religious organization be used to obtain a data
>base of information for a commercial firm.
I think you are missing the boat again. The Molecular Genealogy Project
was NEVER under the LDS church. Simply because BYU belongs to the LDS
church does not mean that it has any influence over research projects run
at the university. They did not in this case. Secondly, the project is
currently being conducted by the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation
which is a non-profit organization founded and funded by Mr. Sorenson. The
fact that Relative Genetics is involved, and will have access to the data
does not mean there is a conflict of interest here.
>I have a problem with, it's the back door connection between the church,
>the methodology of collecting the samples/data, and
>the commercial venture, Relative Genetics. But then of course, I may be wrong
I believe you are.
Orin R. Wells
Wells Family Research Association
P. O. Box 5427
Kent, Washington 98064-5427
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