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New DNA tests expand genealogical research possibilities

Published: Monday, April 18 2011 5:03 p.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — GeneTree.com announced a new series of specialty DNA tests Monday that aid in identifying a broader account of an individual's family history.

The new tests provide more targeted genetic information and allow users to explore more specific answers to previously puzzling genealogical issues.

"It's really started to help a lot of people in resolving some of questions that have been sitting out there for (generations)," said GeneTree president Scott Woodward.

He said the new tests include extended the Y chromosome haplotype, which provides additional markers that can be used to clarify shared paternal ancestry … as well as the X chromosome, which traces pathways for both the maternal and paternal lines and can be very helpful in specific relationship questions.

The autosomal STR test can provide genealogical information going back five generations, and the Y chromosome SNP test provides an exact assignment to specific ethnic groups or geographical locations.

"Our new specialty services are designed to help fill in the gaps and locate the missing pieces in an individual's genealogical profile," Woodward said. "Knowing which questions need answers beforehand will help us make the most out of the genetic investigation."

Pricing for the tests ranges from $150 up to $450 depending upon how many people are tested and what type of tests need to be performed to answer specific genealogical questions, he said.

GeneTree.com is a wholly owned subsidiary of the nonprofit Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation. Over the past decade, the organization has created the world's largest repository of correlated genetic and genealogical information and compiled a database of more than 100,000 DNA samples from more than 170 countries.

"Our primary goal is to be able to help people discover how they fit into the fabric of humankind, and these new specialty tests allow us to offer even more options of discovery," Woodward said. "Being able to test for additional genetic markers lets us explore a person's history in more detail, and ultimately paint a richer, more accurate picture of an individual's personal family history."

Email: jlee@desnews.com

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