From the Editor: Inaugural Issue of Explorers Club Newsletter

Donald Yates, Principal Investigator.

Welcome to the inaugural issue of Explorers Club! In it, you will find the latest about our genetic genealogy services as well as the interests of our customers, researchers and scientists. From the secret origins of the Cherokees and Creeks to case studies on the Melungeons and the true story of the Lost Colony at Roanoke, we literally marry history and science to create an experience and a brand of content found nowhere else on the Web.

This issue trains a spotlight on the Odin Gene, one of six new ancient DNA markers in our Rare Genes from History. Like most of our tests, Rare Genes from History is based on your personal short-tandem-repeat profile, the forensic standard for human identification adopted by the FBI in 1995. We have been leaders in STR-based ancestry testing since 2006, when we introduced our flagship product, the DNA Fingerprint Plus.

What got you interested in using DNA with your ancestry research? We find out what motivated Dorene Soiret of Malibu, Calif. in a fascinating interview written by Jakay Jarvis of Ormond Beach, Fla. Jakay and I went to college together and both studied English. She embarked on a career in journalism that disappeared with the decline of newspapers in the 1990s. But today her writing skills are as good as new, perhaps better for being a novel assignment. Maybe with the sea-change to our society necessitated by the lockdowns and social distancing, things like journalism and letter writing are going to have a comeback. We hope so. At any rate, we are asking Jakay to stay on this beat and give us a new human interest story each issue.


In the Lab Where It Happened

Move over Aaron Burr, Mary Trump and John Bolton. Donald and Teresa Yates are about to release the explosive second volume of their book on the company’s Cherokee DNA project. It’s a tell-all critique of DNA testing, and many of the exposés of scientific and Federal Indian policy in its pages are not pretty. Teresa and I published the first volume, Cherokee DNA Studies: Real People Who Proved the Geneticists Wrong, in 2013. The follow-up is titled Cherokee DNA Studies II: More Real People Who Proved the Geneticists Wrong.

We tell customers when they first receive their results that their education about DNA is just beginning. “Learning Curve” is our name for a part of the newsletter that gives customers practice in understanding forensic ancestry matching, its power and its limitations. The learning module for this issue is Donald Yates’ own results for various tests. How Indian is he? How is it Indian for sure? Find out by reading “Cosmos Mariner.”

Aside from some marketing and personnel news, we are also including for your reading pleasure news tidbits about our customers, friends and favorite bloggers, as well as comments and letters to the editor. We encourage you to write to us at and give us your feedback.

Enjoy and stay well!