Project Questions Answered by Bennett Greenspan
Q: My DNA participant has a number of "exact" matches with other members of the project. I believe that I am supposed to take the "molecular model"-appearing diagram posted on our DNA site and somehow plug in alleles (?) to see just how we match, or how we are related. I have no idea how to do this. Please explain in simple terms.
A: There is no reason to do this, unless you want to. Essentially, we feel that people with different surnames who have matching DNA are most likely related many hundreds of years back...usually prior to the adoption of surnames, and therefore they are NOT close relatives.
Q: Since the various DNA matches in my group indicate a common ancestor many generations ago, what practical advice do you have for us at this point? Is our only course of action to simply compare our research notes to see if we match up "people" or "places"? Will the diagram completion mentioned above be of help to us in pinpointing our relationships? While we understand that we are genetically related, translating this to a practical application is difficult for us (so some of us feel that we have paid for information we haven't a clue how to use).
A: We never know what the DNA will show. In your cases, you have found people that are genetically similar to you guys but those others don't share common history, so I would refocus on those with the JORDAN surname who match...the are your recent relatives...unless you are trying to show possible ancient migration patterns.
Q: We don't understand what the "DNA matches" mean -- nor what mutations mean. Could you explain this in simple terms that non-technical genealogists can understand? (like trying to write your doctoral dissertation inside a Hallmark Card, I expect).
A: Since mutations occur randomly, a match means you have a common ancestor within 300-400 years ago, but the long term stability of the Y chromosome should not be discounted...which means that a connection on a 12 marker test could be 2,000 yeras ago. In other words, you could have had the common ancestor 2,000 ago even though you have a perfect 12 marker match between you. Essentially, if you match someone and have no idea why you have the match, it's the results of one common ancestor's two sons going different directions 10's of generations ago.
Q: Can a past Jordan sample of DNA be retested to confirm a J* or J2 category or does this require a fresh sample?
A: Yes, this can be ordered on anyone's personal page by clicking the HAPLOGROUP tab. The system will direct the person to order the test that is most appropriate for them. We have the DNA on hand so no new sample required.
Q: Is FTDNA keeping track of work done at other DNA testing sites? Our DNA is being tested at the University of Arizona (I believe).
A: All of our 'wet work' is performed at the Hammer lab at the Univ of Arizona. We are building a site currently that will allow for anyone who has taken a DNA test on the Y chromosome to be uploaded and compared to others from other labs with the markers that are common between the two labs.
Q: The Jewish study was being done in Toronto along with associates in Berlin and around the world. Is this where the Cohanin markers were identified?
A: The study you are talking about was conducted between Dr. Skoertski, from Toronto, now at RAMBAM Hospital in Haifa, Israel, the U of Arizona's Dr. Hammer and UNLondon.