Sometimes, I read something, and it is so very wrong, I feel morally responsible for the person who wrote it not knowing better. Not that I have caused it mind you, but that I am falling short as a genealogy and genetic genealogy educator. This was the case when I read some text on one of the testing companies websites a few weeks ago.
It is day six, and we are back to genealogy. The only thing that is going to change PCA ethnic origins into a meaningful product for genealogists and even for personal ancestry enthusiasts is to use markers that date to the genealogical and historic time frames.
Finding the boundaries is itself kind of a frontiering science, so I would say that makes it kind of a science and an art. That quote came out of a recent news article about DNA testing. Surely it was taken out of context. So often quotes in the news are.
This post continues my series on PCA based ethnic origins, what they are meant for, how they work, and what can make them better. This time I will go over what is wrong with all of the visual presentations, the maps, that the companies use.
As I described in Part 2, Principal Component Analysis is a method that can show how alike or different populations of people are. Here, I will show how this method is reversed to attempt to find someone’s ethnic origins.
Principal Component Analysis (PCA) is a population clustering method. It was designed to show the computed similarities and differences between data sets. The data sets could come from anything such as shopping patterns, books read, or favorite TV shows. The key is that some groups will be more alike and others less alike.
The following was written by Martin Hendrix one of the administrators of the Hendricks DNA Project. He asks what the difference is between the FBI or other Law Enforcement agencies asking for the right to be paying customers in a commercial genetic matching database and the other non-genealogy uses of commercial databases.
The following email was sent out by FTDNA this afternoon, 3 Feb 2018. In it, I find something deeply good, that is a true commitment to work toward improving communication with customers. In my long and passionate adventure in genetic genealogy, lack of customer communication has been the nagging aching stumbling point. Thus, I must say this sparks joy in my heart.
John Carpenter wrote this email to the ISOGG Yahoo group this weekend, and I am re-posting it with his kind permission. I have heard much from many people about Genetic Genealogy, Law Enforcement Co-operation, and changing the rules in the past few months.
Much of it though has come from relative newcomers to the industry.
A few days ago, I posted that 23andMe has once again posted an update to their ethnic percentages. It has also been on the news lately that even identical twins can get different results both between companies and at the same company. Thus, I am going to take a look at how my results compare right now at each of the four major companies and at DNA Land.