Scientific Reference Sample Started for 11 Virginia Tribes

Scientific Reference Sample Started to Preserve Historical Biological Snapshot and Ancestral Matching for 11 Virginia Tribes

Virginia Indian woman at a powwow

Virginia Indian woman at a powwow. Credit Tony Alter from Newport News, USA, CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.


An administrator has been appointed by DNA Consultants to coordinate DNA testing of members of 11 state or federally recognized tribes in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The tribes are Chickahominy, Cheroenhaka Nottoway, Eastern Chickahominy, Mattaponi, Monacan, Nansemond, Nottoway, Pamunkey, Patawomeck, Rappahannock and Upper Mattaponi.

James Welch, an associate member of one of the tribes, volunteered to facilitate the independent scientific initiative, which DNA Consultants has made possible with its unique test, the Basic American Indian DNA Fingerprint Test. The project follows similar STR studies for the Cherokee, Shawnee and Abenaki and is expected to extend over about two years.

STR stands for Short Tandem Repeats, values spread across standard locations in the chromosomes used to identify people. Different ethnic populations have different STR frequencies on an aggregate basis. A strong random probability match to a population in the reference database can point to common ancestry—though no percentage of admixture can be calculated, since all populations are mixed and none is “pure” or 100%.

The initiative’s official name is “Virginia Recognized Tribes Reference Population STR Profile DNA Project.” It follows the same method and procedures used in J. Ng et al, “Native American Population Data Based on the Globalfiler Autosomal STR Loci,” Forensic Science International: Genetics 24 (Sept. 2016) e12-e13, DOI:, a much-lauded research study of American Indian biological profiles, where U.S. Cherokee Enrolled (n=33) data were one of 31 tribes sampled.

“We’ve found that it is a good time—perhaps the last great chance—for surveying the forensic profiles and frequencies of populations in a day and age of frequent mixing, easy air travel, increasing secular culture and changing group identities,” said Donald N. Yates, Ph.D., founder and chief scientific director at DNA Consultants.

Golden Moment for Genetic Genealogy?

Yates cited also the formation of the European Union, more fluid borders between countries and aging of our society as demographic factors in a “golden moment” for the biological history of modern populations. His company is the only DNA service that can specify all countries of Europe, including Ukraine and several regions of Scotland, Spain and Italy, as well as up to 65 Indian tribes or groups in North, Central and South America.

Individuals interested in contributing anonymously to the project and furthering the scientific aims of the initiative are encouraged to contact the administrator at Please state your tribe, roll number and reason for volunteering in your email. Tests are available at a deep discount for tribal members. Tribal members with restricted income or means may, at the sole discretion of the administrator, test on a cost-free basis.

The administrator will reply with a download link for the consent form, which must be mailed to him signed in hard copy.

Disclaimer: No candidate receives any compensation for his or her participation in this research project. Inclusion is randomly representative and anonymous and entails no benefit beyond helping establish a scientific sample for future study. The administrator serves on a professional uncompensated basis and has no affiliation with DNA Consultants or any other commercial company or federal or state agency. No applicant is guaranteed admission to the project but is accepted or rejected upon the exclusive decision of the administrator, without appeal. Numbers may be capped at a sample size of his own determination. The project may be discontinued at any time, for any reason, without any notification of parties.

Disclaimer for all Tests: This DNA Test is a probabilistic prediction of ancestry for personal knowledge only. It is a non-chain of custody form of testing and is not intended for legal or official purposes. Its results may or may not confirm expected ethnic composition, family history or genealogical determinations. Alone, it may not be used to prove identity, biological relationships, nationality, citizenship, immigration or tribal enrollment.


Related links

Basic American Indian Test (reg. $179, special price for tribal members $89.50)

Shawnee Reference Populations Introduced (news, Aug. 6, 2022)

Indian Tribes Recognized by Virginia (government info)

Populations in DNA Consultants Database (list with links)

DNA Consultants Company Video (1:49)