Jump to content
TNG Community
Newfloridian

Can DNA testing ever be worthwhile for me?

Recommended Posts

Newfloridian

I have read all the pros (and a few cons) about the vogue for genealogical DNA testing and I take a rather jaundiced view of its use in the furtherance of family history research.

However, I have just completed a case study where future family historians might wish to take a much greater interest in this issue and that is taking DNA analysis down to individual gene testing. Basically the case revolves around a lad whose birth was registered in the name of one man but who by DNA results was the son of the husband of the wife's first cousin. He joined up in WW1 under that second man's name. He died in 1918 (aged 20) when an Army board declared that his cancer of the rectum was "hereditary but aggravated by the stress of his war service". A supposed half sister - also now believed to be from the same union as him - also died of colon cancer in 1942. We have now been in touch with the family of the second man's brother (Charles) who emigrated to America. The preliminary report we got back was startling:

"I can tell you're on the right track with that cancer diagnosis, though. Charles's granddaughter (my grt.grandmother), her daughter (my grandmother), her sister (my grt.aunt), her daughters (my paternal aunts), and my sister have all developed extremely virulent cancers, usually ovarian or cervical, but some have been intestinal or stomach (and I believe one case of brain cancer in my grt.grandmother). "   
 
There is now such a huge push for DNA amongst family history devotees. I'm not aware that this investigation is being taken down to gene level but maybe, just maybe, if Ancestry (or whoever) were to report back saying that you are 98% Micklethwaite (when your name is really Appleblossom) and you are 8% Japanese - oh and by the way, you carry the PALB2 gene mutation for breast cancer; it could give the testee a little bit of useful information within their own lives on which to seek some specific medical advice - as well as a very useful pointer to the family's medical history. In the future this form of DNA / gene testing could well form the basis of a new breed of medical management and, forewarned is forearmed - and we would have our aunts, uncles, great grandparents and cousins and lost cousins to thank for that!
 
Alan   
Edited by Newfloridian
added information and comment

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Kare

This artice may be of interest...

IMG_5596.PNG

IMG_5597.PNG

IMG_5598.PNG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Chris Lloyd

I have done mine and it confirmed some "family stories", but as yet I have not successfully discovered new relatives :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
bobbyfamilytree

I'm very interested in Medical DNA, one site that has sparked my interest is this one.

Now regarding DNA for genealogy, there is a good article by Blaine Bettinger

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
theKiwi

Allan - the major DNA testing companies are only testing for relationships using a very small part of the human genome.

One company - 23AndMe does offer medical testing results that are somewhat limited - when they first started they did quite a bit of reporting on medical traits etc, but the United States Federal Drug Administration forced them to stop offering this since they were in effect offering medical advice without all the safeguards that normally come with such advice.

They are now again offering somewhat limited medical testing on their more expensive test, but are also offering a cheaper family history test as well.

https://www.23andme.com

Roger

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Newfloridian

I guess I raised this issue more as a devil's advocate than for any other reason. Let's say that you submitted your DNA text and you discovered unbeknown to you that you were related to Angelina Jolie, wouldn't you want to know whether you also were a carrier of the Aberrant breast cancer gene? As it appears here, I think we uncovered a family history on both sides of the Atlantic of what could be familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) stretching back into the mid 1880s. (Obviously the condition wasn't known then, but studies of death certificates are suspicious.

I had a chat to a physician who is also putting together a treatise on First World War Hospitals and the patients they treated. Their conclusion, putting the argument the other way around, was   " I agree that there should be scope for using family history as an effective tool to research medical probabilities! "

Cheers Alan

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
theKiwi

Yes, of course you'd want to know, but as I said, the Family History DNA companies are generally not in the medical field, and so will in all likelihood never get permission to share medical information with you from the FDA.

So if you find you're related to someone with such a gene, then go to a Medical professional for the testing.

Roger

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Newfloridian

There was a rather interesting commentary on DNA testing in a newsletter I received over the weekend. Written by Peter Calver of the LostCousins website, who has been an advocate for such testing and with whom I have had a number of discussions in the past, it is a very readable documentation and explanation of the limitations of the results participants might have come to expect.

As an example he says: " So when you see a DNA match described as "5th cousin to 8th cousin" - as over 99% of my 5300 matches are -you need to be wary about spending too much time looking into it. Not because they're not genuine matches (although some might not be), but because figuring out how you and a distant cousin are related can be very, very difficult. "

The current edition of the newsletter is below. The appropriate sections are "Why you should focus on your closest DNA matches" and "How to figure out how you and your DNA cousins are connected"

Newsletter - 17th February 2017

Alan

 

 

 

  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
bobbyfamilytree
37 minutes ago, Newfloridian said:

There was a rather interesting commentary on DNA testing in a newsletter I received over the weekend. Written by Peter Calver of the LostCousins website  

Newsletter - 17th February 2017

I get his newsletters, I enjoy them very much.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×