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DNA: Autosomal DNA - Testing For Everyone
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PLEASE NOTE: There is a lot of interest in DNA and Forensic topics. Please read carefully before registering to take one of these courses. The DNA and Forensic courses offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies provide instruction on DNA methods as used in genealogical research. We recommend that students without the basic knowledge of genealogy methods and genealogical research should register in the Methodology - Part 1: Getting Started and Methodology Part 2 - Organizing and Skill-Building courses prior to registering for this course.

Genetic genealogy is quickly becoming a handy tool in the savvy genealogist’s tool box. As a savvy genealogist you need to be aware of many things before you can wield it properly. There are ethical concerns at the foremost besides the scientific understanding. What test should you use when and why is the largest consideration. Not everything can be treated as a nail so understanding the field of genetic genealogy is the key to successfully choosing which tool is best.

There are three tests you can take for genetic genealogy. The most common is autosomal, that now includes X-Chromosome analysis. Next comes the test for paternal lineage (yDNA) and the test for maternal lineage (mtDNA). It is important to make sure you know which test you want to take and what that test can tell you before you proceed in testing.

Autosomal or Admixture DNA (atDNA) is the most frequently taken genetic genealogy test on the market. With one test you can learn about your paternal and maternal families as well as your combined ethnic origins. While amazing, there are a few caveats to this.

Mainly, it only tells you about the DNA that was passed down to you, which, with the way inheritance works in genetics, is less and less material each generation. This also applies to your ethnic background. You may know, on paper, your 2nd great-grandmother was German. Genetically however, you may be hard pressed to any trace of her large enough to show up through testing.

Through this course we are going to examine what atDNA is, how it is passed down to you, and what a genetic genealogy test will tell you. You will discover that atDNA is a wonderful tool for unlocking your hidden past when combined with traditional paper genealogy.

Course Content

Module 1
Introduction to DNA Testing
What is atDNA?
• Who can test?
• Why should you test?
• What to do while waiting for your test to come back
• Taking the Test
A Basic Genealogical Research Plan
• Suggested Steps in Research Planning

Module 2
Basic Genetics
Why you are you
Who do you take after?
It’s all a numbers game

Module 3
Dealing with People
Ethics and genetic genealogy
Investment = Success
Ways to communicate with your potential relatives
•Information to include in correspondence

Module 4
Understanding the Raw Data  
What is a Match?  
Quantifying relatedness  
Organizing Your Data
• Creating a Spreadsheet
• Testing Information
• Managing Your Matches
• Keeping Track of Your Segments
Testing Companies
• DNA Matches
• DNA Circles
• New Ancestor Discoveries
• Genetic Communities
• Family and Friends: DNA Relatives
• DNA Relatives
• Ancestry Tools: Family Inheritance Advanced
• Matches
• Chromosome Browser
• Matrix
MyHeritage DNA
Living DNA

Module 5
Analysis Tools
Third Party Tools for Analysis
• GEDMatch
• Phasing
• Triangulation

Module 6
X-Chromosome Analysis
X Inheritance
Ethnicity and atDNA
• Importance of Reference Populations
• Genetic vs. Genealogical Trees
• How companies compare
• Ethnicity calculations and GEDMatch

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