My DNA results have arrived!

I have previously written about beginning my DNA adventures with a test with 23andMe, a company that focuses more on the health aspects of genetics than the genealogical aspects. They had an offer I couldn’t refuse, and I didn’t!

When I got up this morning there was an email to say that my genetic profile was ready. I had to go out and so couldn’t give this interesting news the attention that it deserved, until now. I’d like to write down my impressions as I go through the results.

The menu is split into three headings:

  • My Health
  • My Ancestry
  • Sharing and Community

The first thing I did before I left the house this morning was look for my mtDNA haplotype under My Ancestry. This is the one that sorts  you into migration groups from 10-50,000 years ago. Mine is X2b:

According to 23andMe haplogroup X2 is mostly found in southern Europe, Central Asia, and North America, with a few scattered populations in places like the Orkney Islands in Scotland. It is relatively rare in most of the populations in which it is found.

It’s nice to think that my haplogroup is relatively rare. We all like to think of ourselves as a bit special! I can trace my direct female line back five generations to Agnes Allan, who married William Stewart in Paisley, Scotland, in 1827, and died before William remarried and took his family to Auckland, New Zealand in 1842. So perhaps she was descended from the people who ended up in Orkney.

Other headings under My Ancestry are:

  • Relative Finder, which won’t have results for another week or so. Disappointing!
  • Paternal Line which is no good to me since I am not male and the paternal line can only be traced by the Y chromosome, which women do not have.
  • Ancestry Painting, which makes no sense to me at the moment. It has a diagram of some chromosomes and a key that shows different colours meaning different things if the chromosomes show those colours. My chromosomes show no colours, only grey bits, and apparently “Gray segments indicate regions where 23andMe’s genotyping chip has no markers.”
  • Global Similarity shows your similarity to groups of people from around the world. Check it out:

Global similarity map

Global similarity graphI am slightly more similar to the people of Oceania than to any of the Europeans. Apparently Oceania includes the people of Australia (ie, Aboriginals), New Guinea and the Pacific Islands, including New Zealand, but the sample only includes those from New Guinea. The sample dates from January 2008, which is a bit disappointing.

There is the opportunity to see the graph for others who have shared their profile with you, and those I can see have predominantly Northern Europeans and very little Oceania. That makes sense. Most of us in Australia, aside from the Aboriginal people, come from Europe.

My father, however, is a part-European Fijian. The Fijians are Melanesian, with some Polynesian where they associated with people from Tonga and other islands. So this result makes some sense.

When I have some time I will delve into these results in more detail to work out how they arrive at the conclusions they have.

Under the heading Sharing and Community are the tools for comparing your genes with those of relatives. So far I have shared my profile with two people, and I have no similarities with either of them. I will look at this category in more detail when it has something to show me.

The first heading, which I have left until last, is My Health. First up is Disease Risk.

The results for Parkinson’s Disease are locked, so that they can explain what the results mean, and don’t mean, before you see them. I think that’s a good idea. I have a scientific background and know that the percentages they are talking about are very small, but others may be unnecessarily concerned.

The other results are displayed in a long list, with the increased risk first, followed by decreased risk and then typical risk. The ones on the top of my list are no more than double the very low average incidence, which is heartening. I can then click on each one to find out more. Here are some of my ‘typical risks’:

Health typical risk

Where the results show a red and green arrow there are multiple markers associated with the condition, and I may have one or more of them.

It would be easy, I imagine, to use these results as an excuse to do nothing. If I see a graph that shows my risk of heart attack is greater than average I might resign myself to the fact and keep living on fatty foods and no exercise (which I don’t – it’s hypothetical). Or I could make some changes to counteract the predisposition in my genes.

Each item on the list also gives a ‘confidence rating’, the stars, based on the number of studies that have been done and the number of participants in the studies.

I have a slightly higher risk of developing asthma, based on one of three markers for which studies have been done. The studies are listed and described, with the type of population and numbers of subjects described. I actually do suffer from asthma.

Carrier status to certain conditions has a similar layout. I’ll have a good look at that later.

Drug response will also take some time to digest. I am likely to be a fast metaboliser of caffeine, which I gave up some years ago, and I have typical results for most other items on the list.

Traits looks interesting. I don’t have the muscle performance of a world-class sprinter, nor am I resistant to malaria or HIV/AIDS. I am likely to have brown eyes (correct) and to have straighter hair (correct, despite my father having frizzy black hair).

That’s enough for now. It will take some time to go into this more thoroughly. My initial reaction is positive, and I’m glad I spent the $99.

Image courtesy of Chris Harvey at Dreamstime.

Follow an archive day on Twitter

Today is Follow An Archive day on Twitter. Twitter users around the world are tweeting about their favourite archives, and archives around the world are tweeting about themselves, using the hashtag #followanarchive.

I’ve learned about a lot of archives I didn’t know about, and a lot that I did know about but didn’t know they used Twitter. Here are a couple of examples:

@BaselineLPMA  NSW Land and Property Management Authority Heritage Information

website at, which pulls together the information of most interest to historians and genealogists.

@naagovau National Archives of Australia

website at The National Archives started only their Twitter account today and had 100 followers by the end of the day!

@followanarchive Follow An Archive

website at which lists all the archives taking part.

I’ve been following this on and off all day, and it has been so much fun learning about new archives (new to me, anyway) and seeing what they are all up to. It’s after 11pm here in Sydney now, so no more Twittering for me. The Americans are just waking up so it will keep getting better!

Have a look:!/search?q=%23followanarchive

Another genealogy community website – Sirius Genealogy 2.0

Yesterday I received an email about a new website called Sirius Genealogy 2.0. The email said, in part:

Sirius Genealogy 2.0 (SG2) is pleased to announce that we have completed our transformation from a simple blog, into a complete online community for Amateur & Professional Genealogists. The old blog has been shut down and a new membership site has been launched and is publicly available. Membership is FREE! In addition to the general community atmosphere, SG2 has developed numerous Google Gadgets, Web Tools and other services to assist genealogists in their mission. Many more eliciting tools are on their way!

New or Improved Features:

  • Live Support via Chat (just look for the icon in the upper right corner of the site)
  • Articles, Article and more Articles (Member contributions encouraged).
  • Headline News: Links to related news stories from around the world.
  • Message Forums: Read what members are saying.
  • Speaker Bureau: A place to find speakers for your next genealogy or history related event.
  • Events Calendar: A place to find conferences and educational opportunities.
  • File Library: Forms, genealogies and more.
  • Word Of The Day: A new genealogy related word to challenge you each day!
  • Abbreviation Of The Day: A new abbreviation to challenge you each day!
  • Web Tools: Cousin calculators, age calculators, Soundex calculators and more.
  • Google Gadgets for iGoogle and your web pages.
  • Social Activity Monitors: See what genealogists are posting on twitter.
  • Marketplace: Look for a growing number of products for this area.

Member Only Features

  • Contributions: Get your articles, stories, events and speaker profiles posted.
  • Comment and Rate: Comment and Rate just about any page in the site.
  • Shoutouts: Post your quick genealogical thoughts to the entire community!
  • My Account: A place to manage your membership.
  • Message Forums: Meet, greet, share ideas and success stories in the forums!

So, we hope to see you in our new community. Please sure to stop in at the forums to tell us what you would like to see in the future.

I went in to have a look, and there’s a lot to see. Some of the options I clicked on needed me to sign in, so I signed in using my Facebook account and created a profile.

My “Home State or Provence” [sic] is ‘Non-US’, which tells me what I most need to know about the site. It is USA-centric. At least Non-US is at the top of the drop-down list, rather than at the bottom as it usually is.

I can see that this kind of thing might be useful. It seems to me that I have too many sites to keep track of as it is without adding another one that is unlikely to contain anything of immediate interest to an Australian.

I wish them all the best, whoever ‘they’ are.