Genetics for Genealogy

This page provides a platform to organize and distribute workshop and course materials on the genetics of genealogical relationships. Here you will find slide presentations from past events along with links to web pages containing detailed explanations of certain topics.

Source: Bryant McAllister, PhD

Overview:  With a single mouse-click sophisticated genetic tests for human ancestry analysis are available directly to consumers at a relatively low cost. Advances in human genetics over the past 30 years have enabled the emergence and growth of this “recreational genetics” marketplace. My goal is to introduce the science underlying these tests, compare the products delivered by the companies that dominate the US marketplace (e.g., 23andMe, AncestryDNA, Family Tree DNA, MyHeritageDNA, and The Genographic Project), and demonstrate their utility. Personal genetic analysis provides a window into the past at different time scales, including genetic inferences of pre-genealogical ancestry along with the discovery of genetic relationships between cousins as a genealogical research tool. They also provide the means to glean information from your own DNA recipe.


List of Resources

Guide to SNP Matching

Comparison of DTC Testing Companies

August 2019 meeting of the DNA Interest Group - Iowa City

Integrating Deep & Shallow Genealogical DNA Tests

The most commonly used DNA tests for genealogical purposes (AncestryDNA, 23andMe, MyHeritage, etc.) work most effectively matching 3rdcousin and closer relatives. This program will focus on a strategy that integrates between these shallow tests within a genealogy and tests of deep genealogical relationships using mtDNA or Y chromosome. Genealogical questions that stimulate a need for these specialized DNA tests will be presented along with an approach that leverages connections with DNA matches to identify appropriate individuals for further testing.

August 27, 6-7pm, Room A, Iowa City Public Library


Complete this interest form if you would like to be notified by email of future classes and events.

Past Events & Materials

DNA Segments - triangulate or exasperate - July 2019

Clustering DNA Relatives into Family Lines - June 2019

Case Study: Using atDNA to Find a German Hometown - May 2019

DNA Databases and Crime Scene Investigation - April 2019

Ethical implications of recent genetic advancements - March 2019

An introduction to epigenetics - February 2019

Thank You for Coming (Film Screening) - November 2018

Tips on getting more from an AncestryDNA test - October 2018

Predicting your traits - September 2018 (slides, application)

Inclusion improves medial genetics - August 2018

Who we are and how we got here - a book discussion (Table of Contents and links to reviews and materials) - July 2018

DNA: your partner in crime? - June 2018

Pharmacogenomics: How Genes Inform Drug Therapy - May 2018

The Human Genome - April 2018

Why the Y? (and not the mtDNA) - March 2018

What Are You? Race, Ethnicity and Genetic Testing - February 2018

Changes in the DNA Marketplace - January 2018

Doggy DNA - November 2017

Identifying and Predicting Relationships - October 2017

Reference Pedigree and Shared cM Summary

Family History Revealed: Part 2 - Finding - September 2017

Family History Revealed: Part 1 - Searching - August 2017

Saigon to Sioux City

Archaic Ancestry - July 2017

Genetic CommunitiesTM at AncestryDNA - June 2017

DNA Mythbusters - May 23, 2017

DNA Day 2017 - Personalizing Genetics Education - April 25, 2017

Student Genetic Ancestry Testing - Dr. Charles Aquadro, Cornell University

Interpreting SNP Data - March 28, 2017

Ancestry Prediction - February 24, 2017

Exploring the DNA Marketplace - January 24, 2017


Genetics for Genealogy: navigating the DNA marketplace

Genealogical Society of Linn County Iowa, Cedar Rapids, IA - January 26, 2018

Slides, Summary, Guide to SNP Matching

DNA Connections and Digging for the Root of "Our" - M19 - McAllister Family Tree

Clan Mcallister of America Gathering, Memphis, TN - August 11, 2018


The Personal Genome: Navigating the DNA Marketplace

Triangle Club, Iowa City, IA - February 18, 2018

Full pdf Slides ppt

Using DNA in Genealogy: Navigating the DNA Marketplace

Franklin Avenue Library, Des Moines, IA - February 21, 2017

Slides Handout

The Personal Genome: The Past Revealed through Genetic Tests

UIAA Lifelong Learning - November 9, 2016, 6:30 pm


Genetics for Genealogy: Hands-On Computer Workshops

Kirkwood Regional Center at The University of Iowa, Room 60

Getting to Know Your DNA Relatives - October 5 & 6, 2016

Guide - SNP Matching

Slides - Oct. 5

Slides - Oct. 6

Shared Matches Worksheets

Building DNA Families - October 12 & 13, 2016

Guide - SNP matching

DNA Family Worksheet

DNA Summary Spreadsheet

Slides - Oct. 12

Slides - Oct. 13

Genetics for Genealogy: Hands-On Computer Workshops

John and Mary Pappajohn Education Center, Des Moines, IA

Getting to Know Your DNA Relatives - August 8 & 9, 2016

Guide - SNP Matching

Concept map

Slides - Aug. 8

Slides - Aug. 9

Building DNA Families - August 10 & 11, 2016

Guide - SNP matching

DNA Family Worksheet

DNA Summary Spreadsheet

Slides - Aug. 10

Slides - Aug. 11

DNA: Unlocking the Code (Syllabus)

April 9, 2016 - Des Moines, IA

Session 1 - Navigating the DNA Marketplace (slides)

Session 2 - Connecting Cousins for Genetic Genealogy (slides)

Session 3

  • Option A - Getting More from Your SNP Data (Advanced - slides)
  • Option B - Small-Group Tutorials (Beginner)

Session 4 - Ancestry Analysis from DNA (slides)

Genetics for Ancestry, Genealogy and more

Week 1, Feb. 4 - DNA and the Human Genome

DNA & Your Personal Genome

Potential Consequences of DNA Testing (written for a seminar course)

Comparison of DNA Testing Options

Week 2, Feb. 11 - Ancestry Analysis from DNA

Genealogy to Trees: Inheritance and Tracing Ancestry Near and Far

Mitochondrial Eve & Y-Chromosome Adam

Week 3, Feb. 18 - Connecting Cousins for Genetic Genealogy

Autosomal Inheritance

Genome Comparisons

Week 4, Feb. 25 - Recreational Genetics