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DNA sample work booming

Published: Monday, Oct. 8 2007 12:32 a.m. MDT

The Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation has reported unprecedented growth in its DNA sample collection and analysis activities.

The nonprofit scientific organization is creating a gigantic database of correlated genetic and family history information.

The foundation is on course this year to collect more than 30,000 DNA samples, expected to push it over the top of 100,000 samples and corresponding genealogical records by the end of the year.

Growth has been particularly pronounced in mitochondrial DNA, passed from mothers to their children. But it's also experiencing strong growth in the number of Y-chromosome DNA samples passed from father to son and samples containing information inherited by both genders from all their ancestors.

The foundation's growth is being driven by increased international activity, including comprehensive new DNA collection efforts in Panama, Mongolia, Thailand and a variety of African nations and ongoing collections in nations from across the globe. The database contains information about more than 6 million ancestors through linked DNA samples and pedigree charts from 172 countries. The expansion comes with increased funding from foundation founder, billionaire inventor and philanthropist James L. Sorenson.

Information about the foundation's DNA collection projects worldwide is available online at www.smgf.org.

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