DNA

Research Opportunity for DNA Testers

If you have not yet tested, but are getting ready to, the UBC Genetic Connections Study would like you to participate in their study. They will follow your experience before and after your results come back. Website: https://delongis.psych.ubc.ca/ubc-genetic-connections-study/

Umbilical Cord Blood Donation and Ancestry Testing

Umbilical cord blood donation allows a type of stem cell transplant. This is my third post specifically about stem cell transplants and ancestry testing and it’s the first that focuses specifically on umbilical cord blood. You can read the first two about a case of bone marrow transplantation affecting an ancestry test result and how to try to go about DNA testing if you have already received a stem cell donation:

How to tell if an online DNA test is legitimate 

How to tell if an online DNA test is legitimate 

There are many varieties of DNA testing, some that are extensive scans of your DNA and some that provide focused or partial information. You can test for information about ethnicity, you can search for genetic relatives by matching their DNA, or you can search for information with medical significance. Some of the options you can only have through a medical provider, and others you can order for yourself directly over the Internet.

It’s hard to know who to trust, especially if you find them on the Internet and order the test for yourself. As a person who has taken many of these tests and a licensed and certified genetic counselor who works with people who test, I’ll explore the benefits and limitations of these testing options next.  

The DNA Guide for Adoptees: new book offers information and guidance for adoptive parents as well

The DNA Guide for Adoptees: new book offers information and guidance for adoptive parents as well

The book "The DNA Guide for Adoptees" currently available on Amazon for Kindle preorders is nearing publication! On May 30th, readers can find it on Kindle and in print in a paperback version. My co-author Shannon and I are busily preparing to be ready for reader questions and comments and are planning genealogy and genetics conference booth appearances in the summer and fall.

Announcing the upcoming release of the book "The DNA Guide for Adoptees"

Screen Shot 2019-05-02 at 8.54.36 AM.png

I’m excited to announce the book I have written with my friend Shannon Combs-Bennett is available for preorder on Kindle! The DNA Guide for Adoptees will be available as a Kindle e-book and in print starting May 30th, 2019 on Amazon.com.

Shannon and I met in 2016 while attending a week-long workshop, the Advanced Genetic Genealogy course run by the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh.

We have both worked with family, friends, and clients using DNA testing in family searches. The melding of our minds as a genetic counselor and a genealogist has led to a book that covers a wide range of DNA topics for the audience of people using DNA for family searches and medical reasons.

Listen to Thomas MacEntee mention it during his discussion of consumer tests on the podcast Not Old, Better (it comes up around minute 16:00). Thomas has helped us prepare and launch our book to the benefit of readers, and we are grateful to him for it!

I will be blogging more about the book in the upcoming weeks to address questions about the sub-topics we cover and how it will benefit readers. I also talk about the book on an upcoming podcast on June 7th with Kira Dineen of DNA Today. Watch for it!

Are you a library, book store, adoption, genetics professional, or genealogy group interested in a visit and book signing with the authors? Reach out to express interest in getting on the schedule for an in-person or virtual book tour visit for your group.

A bit about sibling DNA sharing, in honor of National Sibling Day

A bit about sibling DNA sharing, in honor of National Sibling Day

Did you know that by textbook definition, full siblings (brothers and sisters who share a common mother AND father) are supposed to have about 50% of their DNA in common? From projects like the crowd-sourced data collection project by DNA Central founder Blaine Bettinger — The Shared cM Project explained well in this post by Leah Larkin — we have learned that human biology doesn’t always follow the rules!

DNA Quest program increases available free DNA tests by 5,000

Nearly a year ago, the genealogy/DNA testing company MyHeritage announced the roll-out of a program they call DNA Quest. They asked me to be part of the volunteer advisory board for this project, a program aimed to take down the barrier of DNA test cost to searching adoptees and the birth family members searching for them. Last week at a genealogy conference called RootsTech, MyHeritage announced an extension of DNA Quest to provide free testing to an additional 5,000 participants. Share the news with family and friends who you think may be interested!

Sesquizygotic twins...who knew that could happen?

Sesquizygotic twins...who knew that could happen?

The New England Journal of Medicine recently released a paper on an extremely rare set of boy/girl sesquizygotic twins. Early in the pregnancy, it was noted on ultrasound that the twins shared a placenta, indicating they were likely identical twins. Sesquizygotic twins have been reported in the literature before, but this is reportedly the first case of it being detected during a pregnancy.

Rare Disease Day 2019 - raising awareness and aiding connections

Rare Disease Day 2019 - raising awareness and aiding connections

Sometimes I fear the media attention of direct-to-consumer test in recent years comes at the expense of the most vulnerable in society: children and adults living with rare disease.

These individuals and their families must continually fight for recognition of their needs, for their rights to access and secure financial coverage. Few people other than those who have been through a challenge navigating the medical system with a special needs family member recognize the journey can be tough and long.

For these people, DNA testing isn’t just for curiosity’s sake. It’s not done because it’s fun or interesting to them. It can be a quality of life or a life or death matter.

(Don't) Be Still, My Beating Heart - Part 2

(Don't) Be Still, My Beating Heart - Part 2

Heart Disease and why DNA matters

Genes involved in the function of our cardiovascular system differ, ranging from those involved in the structure of the heart, the shape and density of the muscle cells and connective tissues, and even the function of the cells involved in electrical signals that tell the heart to pump. Genes can even influence how much cholesterol our bodies create. (You read that right! Not all cholesterol comes from our food!).

(Don’t) Be Still, My Beating Heart

(Don’t) Be Still, My Beating Heart

Valentine’s Day has come and gone, but it doesn’t mean we stop talking about hearts! February is Heart Month, which makes it a perfect time to discuss heart health and how genetic counseling and DNA testing might help you understand your chance of heart disease.

Helping everyone get connected to reliable information to understand DNA testing - whether for ancestry purposes or medical - is a central goal of my blog, so I’m taking a detour from my recent posts on family matching surprises to visit this DNA health topic. This posts kicks off a three-part series on DNA and heart health. Part one will cover the basics before we dive further into genetic counseling and at-home tests and third party reports that give information related to cardiovascular issues.

Our genetics can contribute to a chance for heart issues, but it’s not the only factor. Read on to learn more!