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Please Opt In at GEDmatch

In these modern divisive times, even the genetic genealogy community has been torn into two camps. Is it modern nature to react with emotion rather than thought? With the “are you with us or them”? Is this what overuse of social media has done to us? I can see both sides of the issue. Some of you may wonder what I am even talking about ….

Cece Moore on Dr Phil explaining how she uses DNA to find criminals (click image to go to that site for the article and video)

The problem has arisen because Law Enforcement (LE) has been using DNA and genealogy databases to help find violent criminals and to resolve many old and cold cases like the Golden State Killer (GSK) case. They are using the techniques and tools that were developed for breaking genealogical brick walls and helping adoptees find their biological families. Personally, I applaud this usage and the closure it brings to the families of the victims. A dear 4th cousin of mine lived in fear during her adolescent years in Sacramento because of the GSK.

However the issues of concern for many genealogists are privacy and consent. Frankly, I think you should not test your DNA if privacy is a worry of yours. So many people have tested now that you can be easily identified if you do it too. My son and two nephews have chosen not test for that reason.

How about consent? Consider the site GEDmatch.com, which was developed to let people compare their DNA tests with testers from other companies, as well as provide many helpful additional tools. If you uploaded your DNA there in the past, had you given your consent for this usage? After the GSK case. I marked all the kits I control as research until each person had responded with permission to open it up. Most were happy with the thought that their DNA might out a distant cousin who was a criminal. Polls show that 90% of Americans are OK with this too.

I have been asking everyone again since GEDmatch now has an specific opt in on each kit for LE usage of those test results in comparisons. There is also an opt in for whether the link to your WIKItree compact tree should show. Both are important. Until many more people have opted in, the benefit of the database for LE is very limited.

Why the opt in now? Why is the genetic genealogy community so divided? What happened?
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Time to move to GENESIS!

At my recent GEDmatch talk for i4GG, I warned the crowd that soon Genesis would be the only place at GEDmatch where you could upload new DNA kits. Well that day has actually come! Although your kits will migrate from GEDmatch, you may want to upload to Genesis if you cannot wait to see the comparisons. By the way, your GEDmatch login will work just fine at Genesis. Note that Genesis has the GEDmatch logo with an apple core next to it.

So why do you have to move to GENESIS? The problem is that some companies are using newer chips which test for different not completely overlapping markers: LivingDNA and 23andMe since August 2017. Why you may ask? Because the new chips test more SNPs and have more non-European ethnic coverage.

So how do you compare apples to oranges? Well Genesis seems to do a good job of it and the new one-to-many warns you when there are not enough SNPs in common for confidence in the results by highlighting in red. Have a look:

Notice that the last three columns are new. One shows how many SNPs overlap between the kits (in other words, how many SNPs are in common between the two sets of test results so can be compared), the next shows the date compared, and finally the company where the test was done is listed. The latter is needed because kits uploaded directly to GENESIS get assigned kit ids that start with a pair of random letters so the origin is not known from that. Note that migrated kits keep the A,T,M, and H single letters. Also many recently migrated kits will show an overlap of 0 because that has not yet been compared for them.

You may also notice that many columns are missing like haplogroups, gedcoms, and X matching; nor are the columns sortable. Hopefully these features will be added back soon. The display is more compact with the confusing clickable L replaced by clicking on a kit number to see its list of one to many matches. By the way the Tier 1 version of the one-to-many looks exactly the same as the one on GEDmatch.

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New Compact Chromosome Browser on GEDmatch’s GENESIS

Today GEDmatch launched a version of my segment mapper which is integrated with their database. It can be used as a way to easily visualize multiple matches on GENESIS. This first version shows how everyone compares to the first person on the list, like the current 2D chromosome browser but more compact. Also each color is a person.

My Munson cousins in my new compact segment mapper at Genesis

Above is the screenshot of my Munson cousins which even shows one of the boxes that appears when the cursor is placed on a segment. Click on this image to see a copy of the html version (edited for privacy) where you can put your cursor on any segment to see the details. (N.B. when you put your cursor on a segment and the information pops up via javascript that is called a mouse over in geek speak. )

One way to get a display like this at Genesis is to check the boxes (tier 1 only) next to your best matches in the one-to-many (up to 40 of them) and then click the button “Visualization” at the top of the page. Another way to get there is to use the Tier 1 tool “MultiKit Analysis” and select the kits you want to look at. Remember the first kit listed is the one that all the others will be compared to.

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Getting Started with GEDmatch

If you and a relative have tested your DNA at different companies, you can compare your results at a free third party site – GEDmatch.com – which also has many additional, useful tools for analyzing your DNA and looking at match lists. Learning to use those tools may take some time as they are not intuitive, so I am writing this post to help a friend, Barbara, start to use them.

The GEDmatch site can be intimidating for the less computer savvy. Like most any place on the web, you have to register by creating a username (your email) and password . Click here for more details on registering in my GEDmatch Basics presentation starting on slide 2. Please do not be put off by the extensive new Terms of Service you have to agree to. GEDmatch has to meet the current EU requirements plus they need to warn you that your DNA could be used to identify a victim or catch a criminal among your relatives.

Once you have a username and password and log in, you are presented with a home page which, again, is not very user friendly. The first task, which we already did Barbara, is to upload your DNA test data. Start with this slide https://slides.com/kittycooper/gedmatch-10-13#/9 for the details of how to upload and manage your DNA results, known as kits, to GEDmatch.

The image to the left shows the big blue box, called “Analyze Your Data,” which you can find on the right side of your GEDmatch home page. I have put a red box line around the functions that I find the most useful. One of the first things I do for a newly uploaded kit is check if the parents are related (yours were not Barbara, nor Martin’s).

Once your kit is uploaded, it still has to be “tokenized” which you can think of as being put into chunks for the template they use for comparisons; this can take 24 hours or so. While you wait to be able to use your kit to look for matches, you can play with the ethnicity tools. Please remember that figuring out the groups you descend from is a science still in its infancy and far from accurate yet, other than in the broad strokes.

Start with Admixture (heritage). For most Europeans, the Eurogenes calculator is best and the default K13 is fine, but for those of us with mainly Northern European ancestors, K12 is better. I have a whole presentation on just these calculators at https://slides.com/kittycooper/gedmatch#/

Although its creator has disavowed the Eurogenes Jtest calculator for listing your Jewish percentage (click here for his article), I find that if you add up all the obvious ethnicities: Ashkenazi, Western_Med, Eastern_Med, West_Asian, and Middle_Eastern, it is not that far off. The Jtest image above is from Martin, the only person I have ever seen AncestryDNA call 100% European Jewish; most of my jewish friends come out between 87% and 98% there.

Click here for the creator, Davidski’s Eurogenes blog posts on Gedmatch. Two important take-aways for me are that his ancestral clusters are much further back than the main companies and any ethnicity of 1% or smaller is likely noise.

Once your kit has tokenized, you can start using the most important tool, the One-to-many compare function which will compare your kit to all the kits in the database and then list your closest DNA relatives.

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GENESIS from GEDmatch: the new chip

Technology never stands still. The latest change affecting all of us who love using DNA for genealogy is a new chip from Illumina. The past six or so years of autosomal DNA testing have shown that the current chip is great for testers with European ancestry, but does not have enough SNP coverage to figure out the details of the ethnic make up for people from other parts of the world. Many more and different SNPs are tested in this new GSA chip.

All the 23andMe tests done since this past July use that chip, as does Living DNA (highly recommended if you have British ancestry since it does local regional breakdowns). I imagine eventually the others will follow along. The bad news is that there is not that much overlap between this chip and the previous ones, which affects cousin matching.

Debbie Kennet wrote a blog post describing the new chip at https://cruwys.blogspot.com/2017/08/23andme-launch-new-v5-chip-and-revise.html

Because the SNPs are so different the DNA results from these kits cannot be uploaded to GEDmatch, however our friends there have built another site to handle these new kits called GENESIS. They have come up with a whole new algorithm for relative matching that works with lower SNP counts.

At the recent i4GG.org conference (videos coming in February), I gave a presentation on what’s new at GEDmatch, the second part of it went into much detail about GENESIS, starting with this slide:
http://slides.com/kittycooper/gedmatch-10-13-23#/38

The functions available at GEDmatch are being gradually implemented at GENESIS. Most of the key ones are there now. Plus there is some new functionality. One major addition is the showing of the number of SNPs actually overlapping between kits. Very important to know since the overlaps can be as small as 108,000 SNPs or as large as 580.000.
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