Archiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2006-04 > 1144533666

From: (John Chandler)
Subject: Re: [DNA] novice SMGF question
Date: Sat, 8 Apr 2006 18:01:06 -0400 (EDT)
References: <>
In-Reply-To: <>(

Diana wrote:
> Man, you give me credit for a lot of power. I can't personally force them to
> give me the time of day. But it hadn't occurred to me before... Maybe if the
> SMGF database is shut down entirely, everyone in it will donate their data to
> other, more accessible online databases. Teach the bumbling bureaucrats a
> lesson.

Unfortunately, the power to do great evil is vested in everyone. All
it takes is a fanatical devotion to some ideal and a disregard for the
feelings and concerns of others, plus a certain amount of ingenuity
and persistence. Generally, it also requires a willingness to suffer
for "the cause" -- or at least a disbelief that bad consequences to
oneself could follow.

I can't say for sure that the oversight board would or could be
convinced that the on-line presence of the SMGF database is a violation
of the research protocols, but I certainly wouldn't want to find out if
it's true. I have personally uncovered 24 new "members" of my surname
projects in the SMGF database, as well as 8 contributions from members
that I already had via commercial testing. The "lesson" that you are
proposing to teach is actually a slap in the face to all surname projects
and, incidentally, also to the mtDNA projects that are eagerly awaiting
whatever the SMGF makes public from their mtDNA testing.

Let me share a success story that illustrates what I'm talking about.
When the SMGF Y database was first made public, the only search
facility was by haplotype. That is, one had to know or guess the
haplotype in advance to find out whether anyone had contributed a
sample of interest. Ok, so I entered a 21-marker search haplotype for
the first family group within one of my projects (of course, the SMGF
site lumps together the multi-copy markers, so they called it a
19-marker string). This is haplogroup I1a, rather than R1b, so I was
duly elated when I saw there was an exact 19/19 match. When I saw
that the surname wasn't the same as the family I wanted (and was a
very common name to boot), I was duly taken aback, but then I
reflected that a male member of the family, born in 1667, had been
adopted by an aunt of this other surname. Could the testee in
question be a "long-lost" cousin hidden by a name change? His
pedigree in the database pointed in the right direction. I succeeded
in tracking down the testee because he had submitted a data file to
the LDS (and the contact address was still current!). I spoke to him
on the phone and exchanged emails, and we confirmed that he is indeed
related and does indeed spring from that adopted-out line. It doesn't
get much better than that. Needless to say, I used a "spiral" search
to find the alleles of the markers in the database beyond the 19 I
had entered to find the perfect match in the first place. Given a
choice between the momentary inconvenience of that search and the
complete prevention from making the discovery in the first place,
my choice is clear: I'll take what I can get.

John Chandler

This thread: