Alessandro Biondo is a business man and Y-DNA researcher. His interest is in the branches of Y-DNA haplogroup Q especially Q-L245 branches. His interest in genetic genealogy dates to when he first tested and discovered that he belongs to haplogroup Q.
Answer: My name is Alessandro Biondo, I am Italian. I work for an Italian bank, currently in the Organization Department. I like to spend time outdoors, especially at the sea, and I like sports.
Question: As a native Italian, what parts of Italy do you most recommend that a non-Italian visit?
Answer: Italy owns many UNESCO’s World Heritage sites: it’s not an easy task to select only a few among the many. I will try. To people that are already planning a trip to Venice I would advise also to travel in the near Padua to admire Giotto’s frescos in Scrovegni Chapel. For people already planning a travel to Florence or Roma, I would advise to spend a few days in Siena and also to go discovering the villages of Umbria, such as Assisi, Gubbio, Foligno, Spello, and many others. In the south of Italian peninsula, I recommend the Costiera Amalfitana and Capri, and the nearby archaeological sites of Pompei and Paestum. Also it is worth a visit Lecce and Salento, with its Baroque and one of the most beautiful sea in Italy. This is a very short list: there are many other places that really worth a visit to Italy.
Question: What brought you to genealogy? What is your favorite part?
Answer: I have the curiosity to know something more about my ancestors: where they lived, what job they did, and so on.
Question: How did you become involved in genetic genealogy?
Answer: It was curiosity to verify some hypothesis about my surname, that means “with blond hairs.” I thought it possibly related with the Normans in Sicily. There is no trace of Norman ancestry on my male line, indeed.
Question:The need for consumer genetic testing standards has been a topic for years now. To what extent do you think government regulation is needed? Do you feel that the responsibility for consumer education lies with the testing companies, the citizen science community, or the consumer?
Answer: Instead of government regulation, I would appreciate an agreement among all the main companies involved in this business, to define their own, shared, standards. A part of this agreement should cover how to make the standards clearly communicated to the consumer.
Question: What DNA tests have you taken?
Answer: From FTDNA: Big-Y for Y-chromosome, FullMT for MTDNA, Relative Finder, only to cite the more advanced on each section (male, female, autosomal). I have been test from National Geographic’s Genographic (geno2) and from 23andMe.
Question: Have you tested your family?
Question: Have your or your family’s test results ever been a surprise?
Answer: I was greatly surprised by my results. My paternal haplogroup is Q-L245 and the maternal haplogroup is X2m1: both are most rare for an Italian.
Question: Has genetic genealogy helped you break through any of your brick walls or solve a family mystery?
Answer: I am still trying to figure out from where the first Biondo came.
Question: Do you have advice for someone starting out in genealogy or genetic genealogy DNA?
Answer: Choose carefully the company you are testing with. Look at both the tests that are offered and at the privacy policies.
Question: What do you think the future holds for genetic genealogy?
Answer: With the availability of full genome sequencing at low prices, the borders between genetic tests for genealogy and genetic tests for medical purposes will become less evident. In a few years it’s likely a single test will serve both purposes, and genetic genealogy will exist as a part of the “whole” genetic testing, something like the current 23andme test, but with sequencing technology, instead of SNP arrays. The advantage will be that the potential audience for this whole genome tests will be wider than the genetic genealogy community is now, and we will have more results to compare with.