Archiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2005-05 > 1115235485

Subject: Re: [DNA] New company? "DNA Consulting"
Date: Wed, 4 May 2005 15:38:05 EDT

In a message dated 05/03/05 6:28:26 PM Pacific Daylight Time,

> His company is called DNA Consulting,  Has
> its existence already been discussed on the list?
> They are using Sorenson Genomics to do the lab work

I have no qualms about the quality of the raw data, since Sorenson Genomics
has a fine reputation. I also have no beef with charging extra for consultation
and interpretation of results, a very labor-intensive job when any degree of
customization is involved.

However, it appears that Donald Yates has some gaps in his knowledge base. Of
course that's a truism -- one could say that about anyone -- but I will give
a for-instance from this page:

===== begin quote

The United States FBI in 1997 recommended a 13-marker series of short tandem
repeats (STRs) on the Y chromosome for DNA profiling to link crime scene to
crime scene, and crime scene to supect. Thus was born an international standard
for the "DNA fingerprint."

===== end quote

That is not correct. The FBI uses the CODIS set of 13 *autosomal* markers for
the DNA fingerprint, which come in enough combinations to generate a unique
profile for every person (except identical siblings, of course). None of the
markers are on the Y chromosome.

Yates goes on to say "In 2004, DNA Consulting adopted the World-Match (TM)
configuration of markers for its basic testing of male lines, so that
genealogical determinations would have the same accuracy and breadth as forensic

My comment: the World-Match (TM) 13 Marker Test is not a bad panel of markers
(the "classic" 12-markers available from all the testing labs, plus DYS438, a
recent addition to the YHRD forensic database panel). But it is in no way
equivalent to the CODIS set of markers -- it's like comparing 13 apples and 13
oranges, with the only commonality being the number 13.

Yates has a special interest in Melungeon, Jewish, and Native American
ancestry, and his reports reflect this. Again, I have no quarrel with specialization
in certain areas, but I feel this sample report minimizes any alternative

One "side-effect" of DNA testing is opening new horizons about our ancestry,
which we might not even have considered otherwise. But if the sample report is
typical, the horizon seems very limited in scope, just a few of the compass
points compared to a 360 degree view.

Even if I have reservations about the above reports, they could fall in the
territory of "recreational genomics," testing that doesn't have any
life-or-death implications. What concerns me more is the Linkage Disequilibrium report.
It is venturing into medical territory, and it has little or nothing to do with
the concept of linkage disequilibrium, as geneticists use the term.

True, he issues a standard boilerplate "Disclaimer: No part of this Ancestry
Report is intended to diagnose or treat a medical condition or disease." But I
have to say I feel queasy when I imagine someone seeing the words
"Alzheimer's disease" in his sample report:

I could take issue with several of his interpretations (e.g. about haplogroup
assignments), but I'll just spell out one. The first reference is to an
article about Alzheimer's, which mentions the polymorphism 73G.  Now that is an
extremely common "mutation," and it's found in most haplogroups except H and V
(so it's probably HV that actually had the mutation compared to mitochondrial
Eve). In point of fact, the article says the polymorphism was found in both
Alzheimer's and control samples (with a non-significant difference), but the
Linkage Disequilibrium report leaves the reader with the impression that his mtDNA
shows that he is at risk for Alzheimer's.

I do see some testimonials on his site from satisfied customers -- as with
any service, even well-established ones, we are bound to see a range of

Ann Turner - GENEALOGY-DNA List Administrator
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