DNA Fingerprint Comparison

DNA Companies with STR Population Matching Tests for World Ancestry Tracing
Note that only DNA Consultants offers the DNA Fingerprint Plus 18 Marker Ethnic Panel

CompanyProduct (year introduced)Number of MarkersWorld DatabaseLabCost
DNA Fingerprint PlusDNA Fingerprint (2006)15 (incl. Core CODIS Markers)atDNA 10.4DNA Diagnostics Center$279
DNA TribesGenetic Ancestry Test (2006)26ProprietaryDNA Diagnostics CenterFrom $119.99
Family Tree DNAAutosomal Markers Panel 1 (2007)9NoneNot knownDiscontinued
DNA WorldwideWorld DNA Match (2007)9OmniPop 250 (?)Not knownDiscontinued

From the Wikipedia article Genealogical DNA Test

Biogeographical ancestry

Autosomal DNA testing purports to determine the “genetic percentage” of certain ethnicities in a person. These tests examineSNPs, which are locations on the DNA where one nucleotide has “mutated” or “switched” to a different nucleotide. These tests are designed to tell what percentage Native American, European, East Asian, and African a person is. These tests are controversial –their validity has not been independently confirmed — and the results are often disputed.

One company (AncestryByDNA) describes these four ethnic groups as follows:

  • Native American: Populations that migrated from Asia to inhabit North, South and Central America.
  • European: European, Middle Eastern and South Asian populations from the Indian subcontinent, including India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
  • East Asian: Japanese, Chinese, Mongolian, Korean, Southeast Asian and Pacific Islander populations, including populations native to the Philippines.
  • African: Populations from Sub-Saharan Africa such as Nigeria and Congo region.

Based on customer feedback, the company in June 2007 introduced a new version of its EURO DNA test with a more limited range of countries that promises to have more meaningful clues to one’s European ancestry. Both tests — the four-part ethnicity estimate and EURO DNA test — use a high number of so-called Ancestry Informative Markers whose genetic distance between populations reflects the populations’ geographic distance from each other. The location and variation of these AIMs are proprietary to the company, which is publicly held, and have never been published.

NOTE: The maker of the “admixture percentage” test AncestryByDNA (DNAPrint) ceased operations in February of 2009.

In 2006, another company (DNA Consultants¬†) developed an autosomal DNA ancestry-tracing product that combined the traditional CODIS markers used by law enforcement officers and the judicial system with OmniPop, a population database developed by San Diego detective Brian Burritt. Customers received matches to their profile’s frequency of occurrence in world populations as well as a breakout for European ancestry based on the European Network of Forensic Science Institutes, or ENFSI[3]. As a public service, the company has supported the expansion of OmniPop, which currently encompasses over 300 populations, double that of its first release. The ENFSI calculator uses data from 24 European populations (5700 profiles). The two databases must be searched separately, however, because they are based on two different sets of markers. The company sells its product as the DNA Fingerprint Test. The 16 markers incorporated in its results are: D8S1179, D21S11, D7S820, CSFIPO, D3S1358, THO1, D13S317, D16S539, D2S1338, D19S433, VWA, TPOX, D18S51, D5S818, and FGA.

The theory behind using a forensic profile for ancestry tracing is that the alleles’ respective frequency of occurrence develops over generations with equal input of the two parents since for each location we take one value from our mother and one from our father. It thus serves as a window into a person’s total ancestral composition. The configuration of scores reflects inherited changes from all previous generations, all ancestral lines, and can predict an individual’s unique probable ethnic matches based on the profile’s commonness or rarity in different populations (Balding, D.J. et al., eds. [2001]. Handbook of Statistical Genetics. New York: Wiley). The only validation study so far is one by Donald N. Yates and Elizabeth C. Hirschman.

To give an idea of the inclusiveness of the latest version of OmniPop, the following are the last populations that have been added.

Greek, Sikkim (India), Bhutia (India), Italian, Argentinian (Misiones), Hungarian(E. Romani), Hungarian(Ashkenazim), Romanian (Szekler), Romanian (Csango), Tibet (Luoba).

As marker sets from more and more populations are included, it is expected that the accuracy of results should improve, leading to a more informative picture of one’s ancestry.

Along the same lines, yet another company (DNA Tribes) identifies the indigenous and diaspora populations in which an individual’s autosomal STR profile is most common. This test examines autosomal STRs, which are locations on a chromosome where a pattern of two or more nucleotides is repeated and the repetitions are directly adjacent to each other. The populations in which the individual’s profile is most common are identified and assigned a likelihood score. The individual’s profile is assigned a likelihood of membership in each of twenty three world regions:

  • Alaskan: Inuit peoples of Alaska.
  • Athabaskan: Athabaskan speaking peoples of Western North America.
  • Northeast Amerindian: Native peoples of Northeastern North America.
  • Salishan: Salish speaking peoples of the American Pacific Northwest.
  • South Amerindian: Native peoples of South America.
  • Mestizo (mixed): Native Americans blended with Europeans and Africans.
  • Arabian: The Arabian Peninsula.
  • Asia Minor: The East Mediterranean and Anatolia to the Tarim Basin.
  • North African: North Africa.
  • North Indian: Northern India.
  • South Indian: Southern India.
  • Sub-Saharan African: Africa south of the Sahara Desert.
  • Eastern European: The Slavic speaking region of Eastern Europe.
  • Basque: The Basque speaking peoples of Western Europe.
  • Finno-Ugrian: The Uralic speaking region of Northeastern Europe.
  • Mediterranean: The Romance speaking region of Southern Europe.
  • Northwest European: The Celtic and Germanic speaking region of Northwestern Europe.
  • Australian: Aboriginal peoples of Australia.
  • Chinese: The Chinese region of East Asia.
  • Japanese: The Japanese Archipelago.
  • Polynesian: The Polynesian Islands.
  • Southeast Asian: Southeast Asia and the Malay Archipelago.
  • Tibetan: The Himalayas and Tibetan Plateau.

This STR analysis measures the frequency of a person’s DNA profile within major world regions. Unlike SNP admixture tests, this analysis is based on objectively identified world regions and does not depend on any system of presumed biogeographic classifications. However, as most STR analysis examines markers chosen for their high intra-group variation, the utility of these particular STR markers to access inter-group relationships may be greatly diminished.