How to test your DNA (even if you've had a stem cell transplant)

How to test your DNA (even if you've had a stem cell transplant)

Those who have had stem cell transplants in which they’ve received a stem cell donation from another person run into challenges when they go to have a DNA test. After the transplant, their blood now contains the DNA sample of their donor because the blood-producing cells of the bone marrow have been replaced by the donor (with the donor’s DNA inside them).

People who are discovering NPE are meeting up in-person for support and community

People who are discovering NPE are meeting up in-person for support and community

Guest Post by Rebekah Drumsta

Something magical is happening.  All across the world people are becoming friends, both online and at pre-arranged Meet and Greets.  They are making connections with others who’ve had an NPE (Not Parent Expected) event, just like them.

Starting a blog helped Stacey cope with her DNA Surprise

Starting a blog helped Stacey cope with her DNA Surprise

Blogging to Cope with My DNA Surprise: Stacey’s Story

A couple of weeks after my 41st birthday, my world as I knew it changed forever.  It’s a story we’ve now all heard: a DNA sample submitted to an ancestry website revealed unexpected biological data.  After asking my parents about it, they finally revealed that the man who raised me was not my biological father. I had so many questions - who was my biological father? Why did they lie? How could they keep it from me for so long?  Who knew?

GEDmatch & the Are Your Parents Related tool: What it means if you see a lot of blue

GEDmatch is a free website with tools that enable genealogists to use DNA and family trees to search for relatives. It has been in the news lately because it has recently been used to to identify criminal suspects. Tracing individuals based on their relatives DNA and family trees are only part of what GEDmatch allows DNA researchers to do. Other tools are available on GEDmatch, including one called "Are Your Parents Related?" (AYPR, for short). 

What DNA Testing Can't Tell You: a guest post on Family Tree's website

I recently wrote a post for Family Tree Magazine’s website called “What DNA Testing Can’t Tell You” in which I focus on things the test itself can’t tell you, like how you’ll react to your results or how to reach out to a surprise relative if you find one.

Making Your Existence Known to Bio Family - Should You or Shouldn't You?

Making Your Existence Known to Bio Family - Should You or Shouldn't You?

I had someone reach out to me a few months ago who was adopted and had reunited with his birth mom before she died after she sought him out. He never had interest in seeking out and reuniting with his birth father but accidentally matched to his (now deceased) bio father's family (an entire set of half-siblings) when doing an ancestry DNA test.

"What is NPE?" - A guest post by Steven King provides information and support for the surprise discovery in your family

WHAT IS NPE? BY STEVEN KING

A Non- Paternity Event (“NPE”) was originally the term used to explain the break in the paternal line for a male. In genetics and genealogy, the term signified that a person’s attributed father was not their biological father and that the family surname did not match the bloodline. Someone was presumed to be an individual’s father by the individual, the parents, their family or the healthcare practitioner involved. Today, the term is used more broadly to describe a break in the family line; for males or females with a misattributed father or mother. The acronym “NPE” is also used to describe individuals who learned they were conceived as a result of the event. Some also use the acronym to mean “Not Parent Expected.” 

DNA Surprise: Two sisters bond as they keep the secret of their shared DNA father

DNA Surprise: Two sisters bond as they keep the secret of their shared DNA father

I came to know Michelle and Eden when they joined the first secret support group I set up for people receiving DNA surprises for themselves or for someone’s DNA account they manage.

I asked the two of them to respond separately to some questions I had. The responses shed light to us as readers on how the same “DNA Surprise” event can be experienced differently.

You can read their detailed responses in the post here.

National Society of Genetic Counselors posts leaders' experience with ancestry testing for Hispanic Heritage Month

Two lovely genetic counselors and leaders within the National Society of Genetic Counselors paired up to experience and write about having ancestry testing to learn more about their Hispanic roots. As NSGC’s Ancestry Expert, I was invited along to provide commentary. The post went up recently, just in time to recognize Hispanic Heritage month. Check it out!

DNA Testing: Ten Tips for Adoptive Parents

DNA Testing: Ten Tips for Adoptive Parents

I’ve spoken with a few parents of children who were adopted, and DNA testing is clearly on the radar for many of these families. News reports and TV shows that highlight adoption reunions facilitated by DNA and health discoveries from genetic research have piqued the interest of many.

I’ve compiled ten tips for adoptive parents based on common questions and issues. The focus is on parents of children under the age of 18, but these points can apply to other families as well, such as those who included egg, sperm, or embryo donation in building their family.

Bringing you the latest Base Pair, Marc and Janet

Bringing you the latest Base Pair, Marc and Janet

The Base Pair posts are a series I started to highlight professionals in medical genetics who are a stellar team or have a special history that bonds them, like genetic base pairs A, T, G, and C in a DNA double helix. This Base Pair post is about Janet and Marc Williams, a beloved pair in the world of medical genetics and genetic counseling.

Digging Deeper into a Promethease Finding Before Accepting It as Truth

Digging Deeper into a Promethease Finding Before Accepting It as Truth

I recently worked with a client who was adopted and had used a raw data file and the Promethease tool as an avenue to obtain some health/medical information for herself.

This case gets a little complicated but please stick with it; it demonstrates a lot of the areas where there is weakness in our understanding and communication of medical genetics data.

The case also highlights the importance of doing deeper investigation of findings that show up on a Promethease report, before accepting the report’s summary at face value. I write about 23andMe and Promethease in the summary, but my conclusion is true for any tool (Genetic Genie, Sequencing.com reports, etc.) run on any raw data file (AncestryDNA, MyHeritage, etc).