Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation

Salt Lake City, UT, United States

Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation

Salt Lake City, UT, United States
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Achilli A.,University of Perugia | Perego U.A.,University of Pavia | Perego U.A.,Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation | Lancioni H.,University of Perugia | And 14 more authors.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America | Year: 2013

In this studywe evaluated migration models to the Americas by using the information contained in native mitochondrial genomes (mitogenomes) from North America. Molecular and phylogeographic analyses of B2a mitogenomes, which are absent in Eskimo-Aleut and northern Na-Dene speakers, revealed that this haplogroup arose in North America ~11-13 ka from one of the founder Paleo-Indian B2 mitogenomes. In contrast, haplogroup A2a, which is typical of Eskimo-Aleuts and Na-Dene, but also present in the easternmost Siberian groups, originated only 4-7 ka in Alaska, led to the first Paleo-Eskimo settlement of northern Canada and Greenland, and contributed to the formation of the Na-Dene gene pool. However, mitogenomes also show that Amerindians from northern North America, without any distinction between Na-Dene and non-Na-Dene, were heavily affected by an additional and distinctive Beringian genetic input. In conclusion, most mtDNA variation (along the double-continent) stems from the first wave from Beringia, which followed the Pacific coastal route. This was accompanied or followed by a second inland migratory event, marked by haplogroups X2a and C4c, which affected all Amerindian groups of Northern North America. Much later, the ancestral A2a carriers spread from Alaska, undertaking both a westward migration to Asia and an eastward expansion into the circumpolar regions of Canada. Thus, the first American founders left the greatest genetic mark but the original maternal makeup of North American Natives was subsequently reshaped by additional streams of gene flow and local population dynamics, making a three-wave view too simplistic.


Huff C.D.,University of Utah | Witherspoon D.J.,University of Utah | Simonson T.S.,University of Utah | Xing J.,University of Utah | And 8 more authors.
Genome Research | Year: 2011

Accurate estimation of recent shared ancestry is important for genetics, evolution, medicine, conservation biology, and forensics. Established methods estimate kinship accurately for first-degree through third-degree relatives. We demonstrate that chromosomal segments shared by two individuals due to identity by descent (IBD) provide much additional information about shared ancestry. We developed a maximum-likelihood method for the estimation of recent shared ancestry (ERSA) from the number and lengths of IBD segments derived from high-density SNP or whole-genome sequence data. We used ERSA to estimate relationships from SNP genotypes in 169 individuals from three large, well-defined human pedigrees. ERSA is accurate to within one degree of relationship for 97% of first-degree through fifth-degree relatives and 80% of sixth-degree and seventh-degree relatives. We demonstrate that ERSA's statistical power approaches the maximum theoretical limit imposed by the fact that distant relatives frequently share no DNA through a common ancestor. ERSA greatly expands the range of relationships that can be estimated from genetic data and is implemented in a freely available software package. © 2011 by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.


Bodner M.,Innsbruck Medical University | Perego U.A.,Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation | Perego U.A.,University of Pavia | Huber G.,Innsbruck Medical University | And 15 more authors.
Genome Research | Year: 2012

It is now widely agreed that the Native American founders originated from a Beringian source population ∼15-18 thousand years ago (kya) and rapidly populated all of the New World, probably mainly following the Pacific coastal route. However, details about the migration into the Americas and the routes pursued on the continent still remain unresolved, despite numerous genetic, archaeological, and linguistic investigations. To examine the pioneering peopling phase of the South American continent, we screened literature and mtDNA databases and identified two novel mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) clades, here named D1g and D1j, within the pan-American haplogroup D1. They both show overall rare occurrences but local high frequencies, and are essentially restricted to populations from the Southern Cone of South America (Chile and Argentina). We selected and completely sequenced 43 D1g and D1j mtDNA genomes applying highest quality standards. Molecular and phylogeographic analyses revealed extensive variation within each of the two clades and possibly distinct dispersal patterns. Their age estimates agree with the dating of the earliest archaeological sites in South America and indicate that the Paleo-Indian spread along the entire longitude of the American double continent might have taken even <2000 yr. This study confirms that major sampling and sequencing efforts are mandatory for uncovering all of the most basal variation in the Native American mtDNA haplogroups and for clarification of Paleo-Indian migrations, by targeting, if possible, both the general mixed population of national states and autochthonous Native American groups, especially in South America. © 2012, Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.


Cerezo M.,University of Santiago de Compostela | Achilli A.,University of Perugia | Olivieri A.,University of Pavia | Perego U.A.,University of Pavia | And 11 more authors.
Genome Research | Year: 2012

Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) lineages of macro-haplogroup L (excluding the derived L3 branches M and N) represent the majority of the typical sub-Saharan mtDNA variability. In Europe, these mtDNAs account for <1% of the total but, when analyzed at the level of control region, they show no signals of having evolved within the European continent, an observation that is compatible with a recent arrival from the African continent. To further evaluate this issue, we analyzed 69 mitochondrial genomes belonging to various L sublineages from a wide range of European populations. Phylogeographic analyses showed that ∼65% of the European L lineages most likely arrived in rather recent historical times, including the Romanization period, the Arab conquest of the Iberian Peninsula and Sicily, and during the period of the Atlantic slave trade. However, the remaining 35% of L mtDNAs form European-specific subclades, revealing that there was gene flow from sub-Saharan Africa toward Europe as early as 11,000 yr ago. © 2012, Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.


Trademark
Ancestry, Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation and GENETREE Inc. | Date: 2012-08-14

Electronic databases in the field of genetics, genealogy, family relationships, and family history; computer software for use in conducting research in the fields of genealogy, family history, family relationships and genetics. Computer services, namely, providing on-line facilities for interaction among computer users in the fields of genealogy, family history, family relationships and genetics, including providing chat rooms and electronic bulletin boards for transmission of messages among users. Providing on-line, nondownloadable software for conducting research in the fields of genealogy, family relationships, family history and genetics; providing informational services in the field of genealogy, family history, family relationships and genetics; providing a database in the field of genealogy, family history, family relationships and genetics which allows inputting and collection of data and information, all for research purposes.


News Article | March 28, 2016
Site: www.biosciencetechnology.com

Investigators are broadening their DNA searches beyond government databases and demanding genetic information from companies that do ancestry research for their customers. Two major companies that research family lineage for fees around $200 say that over the last two years, they have received law enforcement demands for genetic information stored in their DNA databases. Ancestry.com and competitor 23andme report a total of five requests from law agencies for the genetic material of six individuals in their growing databases of hundreds of thousands. Ancestry.com turned over one person's data for an investigation into the murder and rape of an 18-year-old woman in Idaho Falls, Idaho. 23andme has received four other court orders but persuaded investigators to withdraw the requests. The companies say law enforcement demands for genetic information are rare. But privacy advocates and experts are concerned that genetic information turned over for medical, family history research or other highly personal reasons could be misused by investigators- and that the few known cases could be the start of a trend. "There will be more requests as time goes on and the technology evolves," said New York University law professor Erin Murphy, author of "Inside The Cell: The Dark Side of Forensic DNA." Law enforcement agencies across the country have access to growing state and national databases with millions of genetic samples of convicted offenders and arrestees. Investigators compare DNA found at crime scenes against the genetic samples in the government databases. They look at 13 distinct locations in a DNA sample, seeking exact matches at each location to pair a suspect with genetic material at the crime scene. Ancestry.com and 23andme officials say their databases won't be useful to most criminal investigations because they analyze regions of DNA different from the locations forensic experts explore. Still, that hasn't stopped investigators stumped on cold cases from contacting the companies for help. In the summer of 2014, court documents show, the Idaho Falls Police Department obtained a warrant to seize genetic information from Ancestry.com in connection with the 1996 rape and murder of Angie Dodge. In 1998, Christopher Tapp was sentenced to life in prison for Dodge's murder and rape, but he's appealing his conviction saying his confession was coerced. Police are still working the case at the insistence of Dodge's mother and others because the only DNA found on her body was not Tapp's and investigators believe another suspect also was involved. Idaho Falls police sent the DNA sample to Ancestry.com in 2014 to process. Ancestry emailed the results to the police without naming anyone in the company's database, which was only partially accessible to the public. The results, however, established a close, though not exact, match. Believing the killer could be a relative of the DNA donor, police obtained a warrant to compel the company to turn over the donor's name. "The hurdles for this should be extremely high, like getting a warrant for a wiretap, because it is an invasion of privacy," said Greg Hampikian, a Boise State University biology professor and forensic DNA expert assisting with efforts to exonerate Tapp. Hampikian said there has to be "a compelling public safety issue" and judge's approval before calling on companies to turn over genetic information. "In this case, there is a killer-rapist still out there and a man in prison for murder claiming innocence," Hampikian said. The donor was Michael Usry Sr., a contractor living near Jackson, Mississippi. Ten years earlier, thinking he was helping further the Mormon Church's deep interest in genetic research, Usry donated his DNA to a nonprofit scientific organization conducting a hereditary study. The Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation was launched by billionaire Utah businessman James LeVoy Sorenson with the backing of the church. The foundation's goal was finding a "genetic blueprint" for humans, and it amassed more than 100,000 samples when Ancestry acquired the database in 2007. Usry was not the right age for the 20-something suspect investigators were seeking. But his son was the approximate age and had connections to the Idaho Falls area. Police showed up at Michael Usry Jr.'s doorstep in New Orleans in December 2014, armed with a warrant for his DNA. The younger Usry, a filmmaker, was interrogated for six hours and finally gave blood for a DNA sample. For the next month, he remained under suspicion until his DNA was determined not to match the samples taken from the crime scene. Now Usry Jr. says he is making a documentary about his experience. "It was disconcerting," he said. "It was a very weird situation." Idaho Falls Police Department spokeswoman Joelyn Hansen said the investigator who obtained the warrant has retired and no one else in the department "felt comfortable" discussing the warrant. After media reports about the Usrys' experience, Ancestry and 23andme each said they turn over customer genetic data only under court order. Both companies announced publication of "transparency" reports that disclose the number of warrants and subpoenas from law agencies. "Privacy is our primary concern," said 23andme privacy officer Kate Black, who said the company has never turned over genetic information despite receiving four court orders. But Black said 23andme has so far convinced investigators that the company's data won't help with their cases - and the agencies have withdrawn their demands. Ancestry says the only request it received was for Usry's information. The company has since removed the Sorenson database from public view. "It does bother me that Sorenson sold that information after they told me it wouldn't be shared," the elder Usry said. "It does bother me that my DNA was used in this."


News Article | March 27, 2016
Site: phys.org

Two major companies that research family lineage for fees around $200 say that over the last two years, they have received law enforcement demands for genetic information stored in their DNA databases. Ancestry.com and competitor 23andme report a total of five requests from law agencies for the genetic material of six individuals in their growing databases of hundreds of thousands. Ancestry.com turned over one person's data for an investigation into the murder and rape of an 18-year-old woman in Idaho Falls, Idaho. 23andme has received four other court orders but persuaded investigators to withdraw the requests. The companies say law enforcement demands for genetic information are rare. But privacy advocates and experts are concerned that genetic information turned over for medical, family history research or other highly personal reasons could be misused by investigators— and that the few known cases could be the start of a trend. "There will be more requests as time goes on and the technology evolves," said New York University law professor Erin Murphy, author of "Inside The Cell: The Dark Side of Forensic DNA." Law enforcement agencies across the country have access to growing state and national databases with millions of genetic samples of convicted offenders and arrestees. Investigators compare DNA found at crime scenes against the genetic samples in the government databases. They look at 13 distinct locations in a DNA sample, seeking exact matches at each location to pair a suspect with genetic material at the crime scene. Ancestry.com and 23andme officials say their databases won't be useful to most criminal investigations because they analyze regions of DNA different from the locations forensic experts explore. Still, that hasn't stopped investigators stumped on cold cases from contacting the companies for help. In the summer of 2014, court documents show, the Idaho Falls Police Department obtained a warrant to seize genetic information from Ancestry.com in connection with the 1996 rape and murder of Angie Dodge. In 1998, Christopher Tapp was sentenced to life in prison for Dodge's murder and rape, but he's appealing his conviction saying his confession was coerced. Police are still working the case at the insistence of Dodge's mother and others because the only DNA found on her body was not Tapp's and investigators believe another suspect also was involved. Idaho Falls police sent the DNA sample to Ancestry.com in 2014 to process. Ancestry emailed the results to the police without naming anyone in the company's database, which was only partially accessible to the public. The results, however, established a close, though not exact, match. Believing the killer could be a relative of the DNA donor, police obtained a warrant to compel the company to turn over the donor's name. "The hurdles for this should be extremely high, like getting a warrant for a wiretap, because it is an invasion of privacy," said Greg Hampikian, a Boise State University biology professor and forensic DNA expert assisting with efforts to exonerate Tapp. Hampikian said there has to be "a compelling public safety issue" and judge's approval before calling on companies to turn over genetic information. "In this case, there is a killer-rapist still out there and a man in prison for murder claiming innocence," Hampikian said. The donor was Michael Usry Sr., a contractor living near Jackson, Mississippi. Ten years earlier, thinking he was helping further the Mormon Church's deep interest in genetic research, Usry donated his DNA to a nonprofit scientific organization conducting a hereditary study. The Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation was launched by billionaire Utah businessman James LeVoy Sorenson with the backing of the church. The foundation's goal was finding a "genetic blueprint" for humans, and it amassed more than 100,000 samples when Ancestry acquired the database in 2007. Usry was not the right age for the 20-something suspect investigators were seeking. But his son was the approximate age and had connections to the Idaho Falls area. Police showed up at Michael Usry Jr.'s doorstep in New Orleans in December 2014, armed with a warrant for his DNA. The younger Usry, a filmmaker, was interrogated for six hours and finally gave blood for a DNA sample. For the next month, he remained under suspicion until his DNA was determined not to match the samples taken from the crime scene. Now Usry Jr. says he is making a documentary about his experience. "It was disconcerting," he said. "It was a very weird situation." Idaho Falls Police Department spokeswoman Joelyn Hansen said the investigator who obtained the warrant has retired and no one else in the department "felt comfortable" discussing the warrant. After media reports about the Usrys' experience, Ancestry and 23andme each said they turn over customer genetic data only under court order. Both companies announced publication of "transparency" reports that disclose the number of warrants and subpoenas from law agencies. "Privacy is our primary concern," said 23andme privacy officer Kate Black, who said the company has never turned over genetic information despite receiving four court orders. But Black said 23andme has so far convinced investigators that the company's data won't help with their cases—and the agencies have withdrawn their demands. Ancestry says the only request it received was for Usry's information. The company has since removed the Sorenson database from public view. "It does bother me that Sorenson sold that information after they told me it wouldn't be shared," the elder Usry said. "It does bother me that my DNA was used in this." Explore further: Fast forensic test can match suspects' DNA with crime samples in 4 hours


Scozzari R.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Massaia A.,University of Rome La Sapienza | D'Atanasio E.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Myres N.M.,Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation | And 4 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2012

One hundred and forty-six previously detected mutations were more precisely positioned in the human Y chromosome phylogeny by the analysis of 51 representative Y chromosome haplogroups and the use of 59 mutations from literature. Twenty-two new mutations were also described and incorporated in the revised phylogeny. This analysis made it possible to identify new haplogroups and to resolve a deep trifurcation within haplogroup B2. Our data provide a highly resolved branching in the African-specific portion of the Y tree and support the hypothesis of an origin in the north-western quadrant of the African continent for the human MSY diversity. © 2012 Scozzari et al.


Scozzari R.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Massaia A.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Trombetta B.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Bellusci G.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | And 4 more authors.
Genome Research | Year: 2014

Sequence diversity and the ages of the deepest nodes of the MSY phylogeny remain largely unexplored due to the severely biased collection of SNPs available for study. We characterized 68 worldwide Y chromosomes by high-coverage nextgeneration sequencing, including 18 deep-rooting ones, and identified 2386 SNPs, 80% of which were novel. Many aspects of this pool of variants resembled the pattern observed among genome-wide de novo events, suggesting that in the MSY, a large proportion of newly arisen alleles has survived in the phylogeny. Some degree of purifying selection emerged in the form of an excess of private missense variants. Our tree recapitulated the previously known topology, but the relative lengths of major branches were drastically modified and the associated node ages were remarkably older. We found significantly different branch lengths when comparing the rare deep-rootedA1b African lineage with the rest of the tree. Our dating results and phylogeography led to the following main conclusions: (1) Patrilineal lineages with ages approaching those of early AMH fossils survive today only in central-western Africa; (2) only a few evolutionarily successful MSY lineages survived between 160 and 115 kya; and (3) an early exit out of Africa (before 70 kya), which fits recent western Asian archaeological evidence, should be considered. Our experimental design produced an unbiased resource of new MSY markers informative for the initial formation of the anatomically modern human gene pool, i.e., a period of our evolution that had been previously considered to be poorly accessible with paternally inherited markers. © 2014 Scozzari et al.


Patent
Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation | Date: 2011-04-20

A genealogical research and record keeping system and method for identifying commonalities in haplotypes and other genetic characteristics of a biological sample of two or more individual members. Chromosomal fragments identical by descent identify family ties between siblings, parents and children and ancestors and progeny across many generations. It is particularly useful in corroborating and improving the accuracy of genealogical data and identifying previously unknown genetic relationships.

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