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Other Tests


* * * This test is no longer offered. * * *

The non-profit Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation (SMGF) is attempting to build the world's largest database of correlated genetic and genealogical data. This database, which is designed to be a publicly accessible genealogical tool, will create a genetic record of Y-chromosome, X-chromosome, mtDNA and autosomal genetic markers correlated with established genealogies. They have already collected DNA samples with associated four-generation pedigree charts from over 60,000 volunteers.

Participation is free. People who participate donate a small DNA sample taken by GenetiRinse (mouthwash) and an associated pedigree of at least four generations extending back at least to an ancestor born in the 1800s.

Their database is released in stages. When each portion is ready for public release, free access will be available through the SMGF Website.


The main drawback is that they do not return information to you about the results of your own genetic test. However, as each portion of the database is released you can search the entire database with your commercial lab markers and when your results have been included you can (presumably and hopefully) identify (and thus obtain) your results by the pedigree you submitted.

Participation is open to both males and females. The Y-Chromosome Database is on-line and contains more than 17,000 Y-DNA samples and genealogies comprising 10,670 unique surnames available for public search. The Mitochondrial Database is on-line and contains more than 19,000 mtDNA samples and genealogies which include 17,513 unique surnames available for public search.

Since participation is pretty painless and the possibility for increased knowledge is pretty good, I would recommend participation to all of you.

A recent exchange on the Rootsweb GENEALOGY-DNA list is, I believe, very informative. It follows with slight modification:

1) This quote is from SMGF web site: "Due to our status as a research institution, we unfortunately cannot give you information back about the results of your own genetic test, due to privacy issues." Does it really mean that the participant will not get a result back similar to FTDNA and other providers?
No, they will not send you a report. But, as stated by another, you CAN find your DNA if you know what you are looking for. You can also search by surname, but that is a bit more challenging. As stated, this is a research project. They are not a commercial provider where you get results because you paid to get them.
2) Can a participant see more information than I now see on their web site?
Not as far as I know. What you see is what you get. Participants do not get any special keys to see anything special.
3) How long does it take to get the kit and how long to receive the results? And what are the results?
The kit comes in days. You never receive the results. They believe results, for the future, will appear about 6 months after receipt of the sample. BUT, they only update once every quarter, so this is likely to be more like 9 months. We have samples from our project that have not yet appeared after 4 years, but they only made the database available last year. You will have to have patience.
4) Is it true that the database is not frequently updated? How often?
Quarterly at best.
5) What would be the value for one who has test results from another source such as FTDNA to participate in SMGF?
You will have your DNA on file in yet another database. It will likely become the most extensive because they are testing everyone at 46 markers. DYS464 is not available yet, but I understand it will be. Secondly, you are contributing to a research project whose goal is to find better ways to link people through DNA. My opinion is even if you never get the results that is worth the contribution. Finally, because they link the participant's genealogy to the sample others may be able to find ancestors more effectively than in other databases. Of course, some participants were wrong about their genealogy so there are the usual errors.
6) What does SMGF intend to do with the DNA?
They are preserving it currently as long as the research project is in progress. I do not know for certain, but once the project is declared to be over they probably would destroy the samples. The samples are coded and stored in a way that they are secure from anyone trying to do anything beyond the genealogical testing and associating the DNA with a participant. The database is anonymous so you can not find out who contributed a sample without a LOT of work.
7) Please add anything that I have not thought to ask.
They want samples from all over the world from both men and women. They need related samples as well so they can continue their research on using autosomal DNA to match the women and others who have fallen out of the Surname of interest.

If you are reading this you have an interest in using DNA for genealogy. You have no excuse for not participating and encouraging everyone you know who has intense interest in genealogy to participate. All persons may participate. Those under 18 years of age must have parental consent. The only requirement is that you must be able to provide a complete 4 generation genealogy. That is you, your 2 parents, your 4 grand parents and your 8 great grandparents. We all need to help this project.

Tens of thousands lined up to pay almost $100 to have 12 markers tested in the National Geographic project. This is free for Pete's sake and you get 46 markers. In the end we should all benefit from the research.

Take a look at SMGF, read their information and decide for yourself.                                                                                                                                                         - jim berry




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Last Revised August 19, 2011

Direct Project questions to Cookie Paulson or Jim Berry.
This website was created and is maintained by Jim Berry.
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