DNA Tests and Ordering

Scottish Heather in the Highlands

Scottish Heather in the Highlands

Oh the Summer time is coming
And the trees are sweetly blooming
And the wild mountain thyme
All around the blooming heather
Will ye go lassie go……..
And we’ll all go together
To pull wild mountain thyme
From around the blooming heather
Will ye go lassie go

Wild Mountain Thyme, by: William McPeake

The Donnachaidh DNA Project is based with the leading company that pioneered the use of genetics for genealogical purposes: Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) of Houston Texas.  Family Tree DNA is partnered with the lab of one of the leading research scientists in the genetic field, Dr. Hammer, at the University of Arizona in Tucson.

The goal of The Donnachaidh DNA Project is to be the site for all participants testing with any DNA testing companies.  Not all testing companies test the same parts of the DNA and not all the same markers.

The first tests offered by FTDNA were their 12 marker Y-DNA test and their HVR-1 mtDNA (mitochondrial) test.

Today there are a variety of DNA tests that are offered by FTDNA.  Academia and our genetic genealogy interests have generated a high volume of research that is providing many new test options and most importantly advancing our understanding of this field of science and how it is helping us in our family history research.  The main DNA tests offered by Family Tree DNA are not paternity or forensic tests.  These are specialty tests and not used in genetic genealogy.

For most male participants the 37 marker Y-DNA test has become the basic test but most participants will benefit from testing the full level of 67/111 markers STR test, their specific haplogroup test, and considering some of the advance level tests.

Please understand that this is a collaborative research project.

We require the active participation of each member to further this genealogical and genetic study of our surnames and their place in history.

Please understand that There is not one single DNA test to take but a series of DNA tests to continually dig deeper into our histories.

Y-DNA:

The basic Y-DNA test has moved from the 12 marker panel to the 37 marker test.  Additional 67, and 111 marker panels are also available which gives much better resolution.  The Donnachaidh DNA Project prefers that participants start with the 37 marker Y-DNA test because of the better resolution that it gives.  You can order any test, and upgrade later if funds are limited when you begin. Your DNA sample is stored by FTDNA so later test upgrades can be processed from your original test sample.

The basic tests are STR (standard tandem repeats) tests which look at a DNA marker and determines the number of repeating patterns of base pairs for the DNA marker.  These STR tests are used to determine our recent genetic matches i.e., genetic genealogy.

This is an educational video from Family Tree DNA about their DNA sample collection kit and how to collect a good DNA sample: https://www.familytreedna.com/learn/dna-test-kit-instructions/

MtDNA:

Family Tree DNA also offers an array of mtDNA tests starting with the HVR-1, HVR-2 and the full mtDNA sequence (FMS).  To get sufficient information on the mitochondria Haplogroup, you will need to test at least the HVR-2.  You can upgrade to the full mtDNA sequence at any time if you desire.

Remember that both males and females can test for their mtDNA since it is passed from a mother to all of her offspring.

Process to order DNA test:

You can order your DNA test from Family Tree DNA or by phone at; 713-868-1438 or from their website.

LOGO_ftdna

To join from the Family Tree DNA website go to the Project tab on FTDNA’s home page.  Click on the “D” projects’ list from within the “Surname Project” list and then select the Donnachaidh Project or use the search function for Donnachaidh. Fill out the required information and select the Y-DNA and/or mtDNA test you want to buy.  For men we recommend the 37 marker Y-DNA test because it provides increased resolution.  You can start with the 12 marker test if funding is limited and upgrade at a later date.  These special prices are good only through the Donnachaidh DNA Project. There are additional tests that can be ordered at a later time (from the same test sample) to further your research.

When your test is ordered you will be given a kit number and password.  Because this kit number is your identifier, it is very important to keep it for tracking your kit.  Once your test kit is received back at FTDNA in Houston, Texas you will be notified via email.  Keep your kit number and password in a safe place so you can find it when needed.

Family Tree DNA also provides you with a personal page (myFTDNA) on their website.  Logging in using your kit number and password will give you access to your myFTDNA page.  Your myFTDNA page is where you can track your test progress, view all of your test results and matches, update your contact information, list your oldest know ancestor, attach a GEDCOM, and order additional test upgrades.

Its worth repeating again….You need to spend a lot of time on your personal page!  Family Tree DNA offers each participant a wealth of information, data comparison, detail results analysis, and much more.  There are a lot of information and tools here so play with these features and learn more about your test results and matches!

Importance of Collecting a quality DNA sample:

The DNA sample is collected by using a cotton swab and not a blood or saliva sample.  The cotton swab is used to collect DNA from the inside of your cheeks.  The most important thing to remember is to collect a good sample.  You need to have a clean mouth and rub the cotton swab on the inside of your cheeks for about one minute.  You do not need to make your mouth sore or draw blood, but you need to be firm so a good DNA sample is collected.

The poor collection of DNA samples is a leading cause of  test processing delays with the subsequent need to re-run samples in the lab.  Sometimes this problem may require a new test kit to be mailed so a better test sample can be obtained.  This problem will further delay your test results from being made available.  Usually once the lab starts processing your test kit, you should begin receiving results in about 4 to 6 weeks.

Importance of Contact Information:

When you purchase your DNA test you will be asked to provide contact information.  Please insure that this contact information is kept up to date, especially your email address. We are having problems losing contact with project participants who have changed their email addresses but have not updated this information on their FTDNA personal page.

Importance of Release Form:

The test kit includes a set of instructions and a release form.  You will be asked to sign this FTDNA release form which in turn will allow FTDNA to notify you of your DNA matches and their email address.  Once your results are in, you can start contacting your matches via their email address to compare genealogy data for connections.

After your results are posted, you have the options of placing your results into additional projects at FTDNA that may be of benefit to your specific research needs.

The Donnachaidh DNA Project requirements for participants:

  1. Provide a quality DNA sample
  2. Provide a pedigree of your direct male and female lines. Delineate information that is primary sourced, anecdotal, and /or family information.  (I never throw away any tid-bit of information, but I do keep family stories and documented information separate.  Many tid-bits of family stories and information have given me many great leads.)
  3. Provide as much family ancestral information, such as old world location, that is known or discovered
  4. Be willing to contact and share genealogical information with your matches
  5. Be willing to upgrade your tests as more tests come on line that can help your research and the goals of the project
  6. Stay on top of your housekeeping task so you and the project get the most out of our DNA testing (see the Housekeeping page).