Testing artifacts to obtain dna evidence for genealogical research – the genetic genealogist electricity prices by state


• December 2, 2018 Update from totheletterDNA (via their FB page) – there are 48 samples extracted and ready for genotyping. There are also 150 new samples undergoing extraction this coming week. All extracted samples will be genotyped before Christmas. Turnaround times should be improved moving forward due to having a “more streamlined process in place.”

• November 18, 2018 Update – DNA was found in every sample analyzed, with the oldest being from 1930. electricity rates el paso All samples are being run through a second extraction method at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, after which there will be quality checks of the extraction. Samples that went through two extraction methods will be genotyped twice, once for each method/sample.

For years I’ve been telling people that there is an enormous untapped market for artifact testing, and that they should hold on to their artifacts because a company will arise to offer this service. I typically follow that up by telling them NOT to literally “hold on to their artifacts” because I don’t want them to contaminate them! But seriously, there are many thousands, potentially millions, of artifacts that could possess DNA from long-dead individuals.

Much to my surprise, the DNA testing companies may be getting in on the action. At the first MyHeritage LIVE conference in Oslo on November 3, MyHeritage announced that they would be offering DNA extraction services for envelopes and stamps, and that the extracted DNA would be added to the MyHeritage database as a kit for that ancestor. For more about this announcement, see “ MyHeritage LIVE 2018 Day 1 Photos, Details and Party” and “ Artifact testing on its way.”

Earlier this year, The Family Curator Denise Levenick wrote “ How to Preserve and Test Old Letters for Grandma’s DNA” which discusses storage of items that might be suitable for artifact testing. She also discusses Living DNA and a possible artifact testing service: “I asked David Nicholson, Managing Director of Living DNA, if extracting and testing DNA samples from old letters or postage stamps would be available to the general public and he confirmed that this service would be widely available by the end of 2018 at a cost of $1,000-$2,500.” Read the post to learn more, including great tips about STORING your artifact safely!

But what about the inevitable HAIR? Unfortunately, most hair samples were cut rather than pulled out with roots, and thus are likely to only contain mtDNA. While I never say never when it comes to DNA, hair cuttings and wreaths are likely to not be useful for autosomal DNA testing. Hair that was pulled out, such as in a hairbrush, could be perfect for testing.

EDIT (20 November 2018): totheletter DNA uses Illumina’s default GSA chip, which has has 1,180 mtDNA markers and 4,964 Y-chromosome markers. So if genotyping is successful, the raw data file may contain very useful Y-DNA and mtDNA information! For specifics about the GSA chip, see: https://www.illumina.com/content/dam/illumina-marketing/documents/products/datasheets/infinium-commercial-gsa-data-sheet-370-2016-016.pdf

We’ve been a bit spoiled by the testing companies, which operate on a thin margin (sometimes losing money because DNA testing gets people in the door and they have other services to sell), and which use automation to process samples. For example, a single lab tech at AncestryDNA can load a robot with hundreds or thousands of samples with minimal effort. Every sample is processed exactly the same way because every sample is exactly the same.

Obviously, that will never be the case with artifact DNA. gas zombies Every artifact is different and must be individually analyzed and processed by a lab tech. Although the process can be scaled by adding more lab techs, it will be challenging to scale by finding ways for the same lab tech to process more samples. The process will become vastly more efficient as methodologies are solidified and practiced, but it is unlikely to significantly reduce prices in the near future.

When it comes to DNA, we learned long ago to never say never. Five, ten, or twenty years from now, artifact testing might be a breeze and very affordable. And with MyHeritage possibly getting in the artifact testing game, they may be able to subsidize pricing. But I do expect prices to be significantly higher than standard genotyping for the foreseeable future.

The envelope is postmarked the afternoon of 9 July 1970, making the DNA about 48 years old. This letter was written by my great-grandmother to her future granddaughter-in-law, my mother. It was mailed from one spot in New York to another location in New York, and was in the granddaughter-in-law’s possession for the next ~45 years until I received it. It has been stored relatively cool and dry, without any known damaging events. electricity dance moms choreography The entire section in the image was removed from the envelope and sent for testing:

The envelope is post marked 25 September 1945, making the DNA about 73 years old. This letter was written by a man from Rochester, New York while he was vacationing in Edmundston, New Brunswick. gas finder mn I don’t have specific information about the provenance or the storage conditions for the artifact for most of its life, but it is physically in good shape. The entire envelope, minus the enclosed letter, was sent for testing.

“If we extract sufficient DNA, we generate an autosomal DNA raw text file* from the item’s DNA (if not, your remaining payment minus return postage, and payment gateway fees and charges is returned to you). We return the file to you via USB using registered post. We can also send the file via Dropbox, Google Drive, etc if you wish. We can also upload the file to a genealogy database (GEDmatch GENESIS) where you can then look at matches with the DNA file. You can also do this yourself.”

Accordingly, you can receive a copy of your raw data file by hard copy or digital, and you can optionally have the raw data uploaded to GEDmatch Genesis. Genesis is a separate database at GEDmatch, kept separate because the Global Screening Array (GSA) chip from Illumina is not as compatible with other chips used by the testing companies. Accordingly, GEDmatch is working on algorithms and methodologies to make the GSA chip results compatible. For more about this chip, see Debbie Kennett’s post (“ 23andMe launch a new v5 chip and revise their health and trait offerings in the UK“).

“When you upload Raw Data to GEDmatch, you agree that the Raw Data is one of the following…DNA obtained from an artifact (if and only if: (1) you have a reasonable belief that the Raw Data is DNA from a previous owner or user of the artifact rather than from a living individual; and (2) that previous owner or user of the artifact is known to you to be deceased).”

In correspondence with your use of the Services…[y]ou are guaranteeing that any sample you submit is your own; if you are agreeing to these Terms on behalf of a person for whom you have legal authorization, you are confirming that the sample provided will be the sample of that person…[AND] [y]ou agree to not use the Services for any law enforcement purposes, forensic examinations, criminal investigations, and/or similar purposes without the required legal documentation and written permission from FamilyTreeDNA…”

Although uploading artifact DNA is not explicitly prohibited, the restriction that a “sample” be your own or of a person for whom you have legal authorization might not include artifact DNA. A liberal interpretation of “sample” could arguably include artifact DNA (the T&C definition: “‘ DNA sample’ or ‘sample’ refers to the cheek swab or any other sample you have provided for the purposes of Genomic Sequencing.”).

Do you have “legal authorization” to upload DNA you obtain from an artifact? There may not be any explicit legal authorization, so could the fact that you aren’t prohibited from using artifact DNA by a law (if that is accurate where you reside!) mean that you have legal authorization? These types of questions will be important to consider.

Also, could uploading artifact DNA be considered a “forensic examination,” for which we cannot use the Services without written permission? I feel strongly that it would not be a forensic examination. “Forensic” is defined as “relating to or dealing with the application of scientific knowledge to legal problems,” and most artifact DNA used for genealogical issues are not being used to examine legal questions.

When you upload genetic data to Living DNA, “[y]ou undertake, promise, warrant and agree as follows…[t]hat you are an individual aged over 18, and that the genetic data that you upload to our Site will be: i) your genetic data; [OR] ii) the genetic data of a child where the requirements of paragraph 8.3 below are met; [OR] iii) the genetic data taken from a deceased person where the requirements of paragraph [MISSING CONTENT HERE].

8.4 You may submit a mouth swab (or with our consent, other biological sample), from a deceased person, or upload the genetic data of a deceased person to our site, only if you are legally entitled to have that mouth swab/biological sample /genetic data (as applicable) and to submit it to us for testing/upload it to our site (as applicable).

Living DNA’s privacy policy faces a similar problem because it does not explicitly allow nor prohibit uploading of artifact DNA. The only logical interpretation of the terms & conditions is that you CAN upload DNA from a deceased individual, but only if you are legally entitled to have that genetic data. Unfortunately, the question of who is “legally entitled” to possess or use artifact DNA is unclear, although I’m not aware of any laws or regulations in the United States that prevent me from being legally entitled to possess or use artifact DNA.

“In addition, you represent that any DNA sample you provide and any information that you transfer or upload that associates an individual with his/her DNA Results are either your DNA or the DNA of a person for whom you are a legal guardian or have obtained legal authorization to provide their DNA to us. p gaskell Notwithstanding the foregoing, using the DNA Services for law enforcement purposes, forensic examinations, criminal investigations and/or similar purposes, without a court order and without prior explicit written permission from MyHeritage, is strictly prohibited.”

Once again, the Terms & Conditions do not explicitly prohibit artifact DNA uploading, but might be the most restrictive in the current embodiment given this sentence: “Results are either your DNA or the DNA of a person for whom you are a legal guardian or have obtained legal authorization to provide their DNA to us.” If I obtain DNA from an envelope, I potentially haven’t obtained legal authorization to provide the deceased person’s DNA. Here, it’s harder to argue that a lack of legal prohibition to obtain & use artifact DNA is equivalent to “obtain[ing] legal authorization to provide their DNA to” MyHeritage.

One of the biggest concerns people cite when discussing the use of artifact DNA is the inevitable situation that will arise; namely, that the obtained DNA will not be from the suspected individual. For example, perhaps an adult asked a child to lick an envelope or stamp, or let the postmaster do the licking when the envelope was mailed (or potentially the envelope was moistened with a sponge, which is always a possibility). There is no question that this will happen. Indeed, people are likely to sequence many postmasters over the coming years!

However, obtaining unexpected DNA results is not a significant or insurmountable problem, especially when it should be an expected possibility. In most cases, it will be immediately obvious that someone other than the expected individual was sequenced. f gas regulations r22 For example, if the DNA profile from my great-grandmother comes back and it doesn’t share DNA with me, then it isn’t from my great-grandmother and I can try to figure out who it is from. Or if it comes back and it shares 1,700 cM with me, my great-grandmother likely asked her granddaughter (that lived next door) to lick the envelope for her.

The most challenging situation might be where there is no hypothesis prior to testing about who provided the DNA found in the artifact, and no expectation that the artifact owner will be related to the DNA. However, identifying the likely source of DNA from a mystery provider will be straightforward, as it is the same method used to work with DNA results from adoptees.

I firmly believe that restricting artifact testing to descendants or relatives lacks a logical reason for the limitation. In the U.S. at least, the deceased don’t have rights (other than some celebrity rights in some limited jurisdictions that survive the death of the celebrity), so this won’t be about the deceased. Rather, this might be about the deceased’s family, such as children or grandchildren. This appears concerning at first, as a random person could sequence your parent’s DNA, for example. However, no testing company, for example, requires that you ask your family before submitting a sample. Accordingly, I can send in my children’s DNA without obtaining permission from their maternal grandparents, even though the test will sequence 50% of their DNA.