Join the DNA Recombination Project

Posted by Andy Lee

Family History Fanatics is starting the DNA Recombination Project. You can be a part of it. All we need is some basic information.

  1. Gedmatch kit number of grandchild
  2. Gender of grandchild
  3. Gedmatch kit number of grandparent
  4. Whether grandparent is paternal or maternal

We have set up a simple form that you can fill out at You can submit information for as many grandchild/grandparent pairs as you like, the more information we have the better our analysis can be.   Recombination is one of the methods that ensures genetic diversity throughout a population. Your parents have one set of chromosomes from each of their parents. Before one set of chromosomes is passed on to you, the chromosomes shuffle pieces so that the set that is passed on to you is a mixture of both of their parents (your grandparents). This is called recombination or crossover. You can see in the image below which parts of my three brothers and I, came from our paternal grandparents. The colored sections are from our grandfather and the greyed out sections are from our grandmother.

DNA Recombination in Action

Personal genetic testing has been a boon for the genealogical world. Whereas before, we had to rely on records which may or may not have been accurate with regards to the relationships they attested, with DNA we could be certain for close relatives. And people found out that those paper documents weren’t always accurate. Some fathers couldn’t have been the fathers. People who were adopted now had an avenue to find their family without having to go to court and open up sealed records. A record now existed that spanned the bridge of name changes to link long lost cousins together. One of the other great benefits of personal testing is the creation of millions of real-life data points. While we know that we inherit 50% of our DNA from each of our parents and that on average this gets halved with each generation, how close to the “average” are each of us individually couldn’t be answered until now. Blaine Bettinger has a great project called the Shared cM Project which has revealed what range of shared cM we can expect from certain relationships. This has been helpful to a number of people who were trying to figure out how they were related. Kitty Cooper has a project related to half-siblings, aunt, uncles, and grandparents (the 25% group).

Both of these projects are crowdsourced where the data is voluntarily submitted.  Ours follows the same pattern.  If you have tested at any of the major companies, you can upload your data to Gedmatch. Whenever you have a grandparent-grandchild relationship you can add the kit numbers to the form. We’ll do the rest. For instance, I have 3 brothers who have all tested, plus me, and one set of grandparents, so I can add 4 entries to the form. I tested my five children and added five more entries with my parents’ data. We’ll be posting updates on our Youtube channel as we go along. So complete the form if you have tests that DNA kits that fit the criteria. If not, please help us spread the word.

How does DNA recombine? Andy Lee of Family History Fanatics has a project to analyze this affect and use this information to continue teaching others about what to expect in genetic inheritance. Interested in participating? Read to learn more. #dna #geneticgenealogy #genetics

Devon Noel Lee is passionate about capturing and preserving family stories so no one alive today has to be researched, or forgotten, tomorrow. She has authored 6 how-to books, a memoir, two published family history biographies, and over 60 family scrapbooks. She's an enthusiastic speaker who energizes, encourages, and educates at the same time.

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