Faces of America concluded last night with a good portion of the show discussing DNA. The guests participated in several DNA tests. However, one particular test had the genealogy community buzzing last night in the Geneabloggers chat room, the genome test.
Harvard Scholar Henry Louis Gates turned to the company Knome/ Know Thyself to have his entire genome sequence analyzed. Most of us were in awe of this test and knew from our limited knowledge of DNA this had to be a very expensive procedure.
What is a Genome?A genome is the entire DNA that is inside a cell. This includes the DNA in the mitochondria and the chromosomes inside the nucleus of the cell. The DNA transmits instructions to build and maintain the cells that comprise each person. The complete set of instructions is called the genome.
The company Knome is the first personal genomics company to offer commercially a complete genome and comprehensive gene sequencing and analysis service to private individuals.
What does that mean?
After taking a sample of your blood, you are assigned a complete team of leading geneticists and clinicians to determine the sequencing information of your DNA and produce a complete analysis of traits and disease associations. In addition, you would be one of the first individuals in history to be sequenced; I believe they mentioned last night that there have been 50 to date. Once your DNA has been sequenced, you will be able to stay current on future genetic discoveries as they become available.
What is the Price?
KnomeCOMPLETE is priced at $68,500
KnomeSELECT is priced at $24,500 for individuals or $19,500 per person for couples and families
(The latter, tests only 20,000 genes working out to a very budget friendly cost of less than $1.00 per gene, a sort of Dollar Store for the rich and famous)
Ok I can here you rolling on the floor laughing as you read this. This certainly would explain why there are only 50 people in the world who have jumped at this prestigious test.
However, for the price, you received a GenomeKey, a fully encrypted portable storage device of your genetic information. Still not enough to make you pull out your chequebook?
Nowhere on their website or in the Faces of America program last night did I see how all of this was going to help my genealogy research? I get that it will tell me if I am predisposed to certain diseases and it certainly is fascinating and interesting science. And it was amazing that they could realize Henry Louis Gates mother's DNA even though she is deceased. But the average person will not be turning to this test for genealogy purposes. Even Faces of America only completed the test on Henry Louis Gates and his father for the purposes of the show. The other guests were limited to more practical tests.
Clearly, this is not a DNA test that is even remotely affordable to the average person. Instead, if you are really interested in learning more about your DNA or having a DNA test done for genealogy purposes, I would suggest a more practical and economical approach such as Family Tree DNA.
What I took from last nights chatroom after the show was that there was a mixed bag of views when it comes to Genealogy DNA testing. Some have participated and it was clear have received some interesting information, others didn't feel they benefited, and there were still many of us like myself who are still sitting on the fence as to the value for the money, and some are still waiting for the prices to come down. Where do you stand on DNA testing for genealogy research?
Check in tomorrow for Part 2- We will take a closer look at Family Tree DNA and more specifically their newest test Family Finder.