22/09/2017
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DNA Leap Forward - GEDmatch Leads the Way

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GEDmatch has announced that the most important advance in years for genealogical DNA is currently in beta test - a programme named “Genesis”.

The number one reason for getting a DNA test is to find relatives. The more people your DNA matches, the greater the possibility exists to make significant gains in constructing your family tree.

Until recently testing for this purpose was done by a few traditional testing companies such as Ancestry.com, Family Tree DNA, and 23andMe.  Other companies such as LivingDNA and MyHeritage have now joined in genealogical testing. 

But there are drawbacks. Most testing companies can only compare DNA to users who have purchased their tests.  Furthermore DNA data collected is not standardized so DNA matching between different company’s data is not always possible. Since 2010 GEDmatch has filled this gap by acting as a single database where persons who have been tested by the various companies can place their DNA results and find matches with persons tested elsewhere. 

About GEDmatch

GEDmatch is a free site that has been run by volunteers. They do not test DNA but serve as an extension for companies that do testing. GEDmatch has an extensive database of DNA kits submitted by individuals tested elsewhere and averages well over 1,000 new kits added every day. In addition GEDmatch users can compare family trees with their DNA matches and utilize a variety of tools to analyze autosomal DNA matches.

Now Genesis is being introduced by GEDmatch to fill an important need. There are many well established DNA companies around the world that test for medical, forensic, paternity, scientific or other reasons. Many people tested by these companies have wanted to put their data on GEDmatch and many of the executives of these companies see the genealogy field as a logical expansion of their businesses.  

Until now it has not been possible to make genealogical comparisons with DNA from these companies because they focused on different sites on the human genome.  Genesis is an innovative new approach that surmounts many of these difficulties.

The potential of Genesis

As this article is being written Genesis is still being evaluated to learn more about its potential. It may be possible, for example, to use Genesis to find DNA matches with common ancestors that are older than the current 5 to 7 generations limitation of traditional testing. 

Genesis software tools previously developed for data from traditional testing companies are being rewritten to take advantage of newly developed techniques.

The beta version of Genesis is free and available on the GEDmatch website.

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