Archives

Why you might want to test for DNA health results at MyHeritage

The live streaming from the MyHeritage conference in Amsterdam this past weekend was both informative and enjoyable. I was even able to watch without getting up in the middle of the night as they stayed available afterwards. Many of the talks included information that was not new to me, although I was pleased to finally be able to watch Leah Larkin’s WATO presentation.

Yaniv Erlich

The talk that impressed me the most was the one by Yaniv Erlich in the middle of day 2 about the DNA health results that MyHeritage is now providing (on a reduced price sale just through Tuesday, Sept 10). With the acquisition of Promethease and SNPedia they have greatly expanded their access to medical genetic knowledge. SNPedia is always my go to resource for looking up specific genes, for example click here to see what it says about the BRCA genes. While Promethease is where you can upload your raw DNA from wherever you tested to get health results (sadly written in formal medical talk) based on current but not always solid research (see comments below) and is linked to SNPedia.

One of the important take aways for me was that if MyHeritage finds a bad mutation in your test, they will use a different method, Sanger sequencing, to confirm the result! This almost completely eliminates false positives. Still if you are diagnosed with a really bad variation, my opinion is that you should double check even further by getting a doctor ordered test like the one from Color Genomics.

Yaniv also emphasized that they have worked hard to present the results in an understandable format. There are some examples of this on their blog (click here).

Continue reading

MyHeritage’s Theory of Family Relativity

It seems as if every DNA and genealogy company is unveiling wonderful new features this week at RootsTech 2019 which makes me wish I was there. It will take me many posts to cover all the ones that excite me!

MyHeritage has just unveiled a cool new feature called the “Theory of Family Relativity.” The idea is to look at your tree and other trees in their database to see if the computer can figure out how you are likely to be related. When you click on the big pink View theories button at the top of your DNA matches page it will show you just the DNA matches for whom it thinks it has found the relationship.

What is exciting and different about this offering is that when you click on the “View theory” in the listing for a match it offers you several paths to view a graphical representation of the possible relationship including percentages of accuracy. It also indicates the trees or records the deduction was made from. Here is how it shows that with a known 5th cousin of mine. I had not known that she had tested nor had I been in touch, although I knew her family.

 

If you go to the match page of a match that has a theory, it will show you a compact view of the expected relationship at the top of the page without the tree names and percentages however it includes a click point to see the full theory.

Continue reading

MyHeritage DNA Matching: Excellent Enhancements

MyHeritage has kept its promises: tree matching, pedigree display, a place for notes, and best of all, a chromosome browser. Plus the cousin matching is finally quite good, at least for your closer cousins, and includes some triangulation.

A very nice new feature is the Ethnicities Map, a menu item under DNA, which gives you the common groups for any modern day country you select. Since a question I commonly receive from family members is “Why doesn’t my known German ancestry show up?”, it is great to be able to show them this map:

A picture says it better than telling them that in the DNA, northern Germans look Scandinavian, southern Germans look Italian, eastern Germans look East European, and western Germans look French. My maternal ancestors lived at the crossroads of Europe!

Uploading your results from another DNA testing company is still free at MyHeritage and you get many of the DNA features. Personally I have just a data subscription and a small tree (there is a 250 person limit for unpaid members). In a few weeks I will create an account for a cousin and see if this works as well as it is supposed to for completely free members.

After the recent change, the segment details for my matches to my close family are very similar to what I see on GEDmatch and 23andme, same chromosomes, similar sizes, slightly different boundaries. This is a wonderful improvement!

Since my ancestors are all fairly recent immigrants from Norway and Germany, I was hoping for some international matches when I uploaded my DNA results to MyHeritage last year. In practice, as usual, there were no Germans (testing is not popular there), but plenty of Norwegian cousins that I already knew about, plus a few new distant ones.

However, I did recently get a new close cousin match (1C2R-2C1R), Melissa from New Jersey. I will use her match to investigate the new improved DNA matching.
Continue reading