So, now that we know how much Neanderthal genetics I’ve inherited, what does it mean? Here’s a good article from the BBC that helps fill in the gaps.
My 23andMe report says I have 291 Neanderthal “variants”, which is more than 72% of other 23andMe customers. The highest number they’ve seen up till now in any one person is 387 variants. However, apparently I can’t blame my straight hair on the cavemen. I don’t have the variant for that identified as being Neanderthal. In fact, of the 5 variants mentioned in the report that are known to contribute to specific traits, I had none of them. So I don’t know exactly what having 291 variants from this source actually means. Maybe they’ll publish some more definitive interpretations as time goes on. I hope so. Meanwhile, I’ve been Web surfing to see what I can find out elsewhere.
However, while it says nothing about Neanderthal heritage, I’ve already found confirmation that my cousin and I had correctly identified the family of our GGG-grandfather. My DNA matched some descendants of his parents’ other children. Alisanne and I had decided that Sylvester Hutchinson‘s parents were probably Benjamin and Laura (Ticknor) Hutchinson, but we really weren’t positive, since there was no direct documentation. It is rather thrilling to see we were correct! Thank you, 23andMe, WikiTree and GEDmatch.
I haven’t mentioned GEDmatch before, because I just found out about it, when I tried to upload my genome to WikiTree. Rather than uploading a file with the whole 610545 markers, they prefer for people to use GEDmatch, which links directly to 23andMe to get a “clean” list of markers that filters out those that are not useful for genealogy, and may have sensitive medical implications. GEDmatch also has the ability to take genomes from different labs, and share them with various websites like WikiTree and MyHeritage, etc., so it is a very good idea to use them as the go-between.
So, this whole DNA testing thing is definitely worthwhile for me. If you’ve been wavering over getting tested, my opinion is to go for it. At the moment I’m even thinking of asking my dad to be retested at 23andMe, to get the auDNA markers that he didn’t get from his test 10 years ago. And I’d like to have my mother’s brother tested, and other cousins who share my mtDNA, and so on. This could get expensive….