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Thread: Comparing testing companies and institutions - GENERICALLY (criteria-wise)

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    Comparing testing companies and institutions - GENERICALLY (criteria-wise)

    In this thread, I'd like to discuss some of the criteria one might decide on when choosing a testing company. These kinds of things can be like technology/OS or other religious wars including true religious inter-faith discussions.

    For that reason, I'm asking for no mention of actual testing companies or institutions in this thread. I'd just like to discuss criteria one might consider.

    Ultimately, any purchasing decisions are personal and up to the person with the money. That's the way it should be and I'm all for respecting that.

    However, that is no reason not to look at criteria that should be or might be considered when evaluating decisions.

  2. #2
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    Some things that come to mind:

    - database composition
    - range of products, e.g. ability to follow up with additional tests
    - density/depth of testing, e.g. comprehensiveness
    - QC/error rates
    - turnaround times
    - ease of use and interpretation
    - "fun factor"
    - cost or value
    - is DNA banked for future tests?
    - privacy policy
    - anthropological analysis

    I am sure others will have more to add.
     

    Other ancestral Y lines:

    E1b-M81 Ukraine (Ashkenazi)
    E1b-V13 England
    I1-M253 Ireland
    I2-M423 Ukraine
    R1a-L176.1 Scotland
    R1b-L584 Syria/Turkey (Sephardi)
    R1b-L20 Ireland
    R1b-L21 (1)England; (2)Wales?>Connecticut
    R1b-L48 England
    R1b-P312 Scotland
    R1b-FGC32576 Ireland

    Other ancestral mtDNA lines:

    H1b2a Ukraine (Ashkenazi)
    H6a1a3 Ukraine
    K1a9 Belarus (Ashkenazi)
    K1c2 Ireland
    V7a Ukraine

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    Well, I would add access to your raw data file. Now all three of the companies I've dealt with do that (though I won't name them).

    Whether you're given just an estimate of how close a relative might be (2nd cousin, 4th, distant, etc.), or whether you may also be able to compare DNA segments.

    The responsiveness (or lack thereof) of the company to consumer demands.

    Availability and quality of technical support.

    Again, there likely are many additional factors worth considering.
    Besides British-German-Catalan, ancestry includes smaller amounts of French, Irish, Swiss, Choctaw & another NA tribe, possibly Catawba. Avatar picture is: my father, his father, & his father's father; baby is my eldest brother.

    GB

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    I like being able to go to a personal web page and monkey around looking at my results and comparing them to those of others. That's big for me. I don't want to just get a one-time email with a set of STRs and/or SNPs and that be it.

    I really enjoyed Ysearch when I first got started in genetic genealogy, but now "Captcha" has mucked things up, and one still cannot enter all 111 markers into the system. It's also not easy to go back and check for lower level (i.e., fewer marker) matches, since the system always barfs up a list of all one's really useless 95-marker distant neighbors first, preventing the screen from ever getting to what you really wanted to see.

    I would also like to see a REALLY BIG database that includes y-dna test results, particularly STR haplotypes, from Europe, especially the British Isles.

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    An ISOGG representative created this testing comparison.
    http://www.isogg.org/wiki/Y-DNA_SNP_testing_chart

    As far as this thread, what's pertinent are the criteria used (the rows) in the table, paraphrased/summarized.

    Ownership
    Outside Consultants used
    Lead Scientists in company
    Testing methods / technology
    Number of SNPs available
    International availability
    DNA sample storage
    Project support
    Online community/forum sponsored by
    Sponsored public database
    Additional DNA testing options

    I think the nature of data sharing/integration/project support/database support is important which is what I think Richard S was pointing to.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikewww View Post
    An ISOGG representative created this testing comparison.
    http://www.isogg.org/wiki/Y-DNA_SNP_testing_chart
    ....
    I hadn't really paid attention to this because I didn't really think this era in DNA testing was directly upon us.

    I don't know who uses what laboratories but the ISOGG comparison shows that a laboratory in China is used, at least ISOGG thinks so.

    I generally give the benefit of the doubt to institutions but with personal information I do want to validate what could go wrong and what correction actions I might have and what risks are then presented.

    If personal information is being shipped to a location where a foreign citizen would have little, if any protections or recourse, I'd be clearly concerned about that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikewww View Post
    I hadn't really paid attention to this because I didn't really think this era in DNA testing was directly upon us.

    I don't know who uses what laboratories but the ISOGG comparison shows that a laboratory in China is used, at least ISOGG thinks so.

    I generally give the benefit of the doubt to institutions but with personal information I do want to validate what could go wrong and what correction actions I might have and what risks are then presented.

    If personal information is being shipped to a location where a foreign citizen would have little, if any protections or recourse, I'd be clearly concerned about that.
    Mike,

    Full Genomes had originally intended to use Complete Genomics based out of Mountain View California, but then this happened:
    http://www.completegenomics.com/news...198854331.html

    Obviously the cost benefits of running mass genomic sequencing in a burgeoning economy with a cheap, educated, and enthusiastic workforce was appealing. It dropped the price of admission dramatically, and even one of their spokesmen boldly predicted a $100 genome by 2017.

    http://www.technologyreview.com/feat...enome-factory/
    http://www.businessweek.com/articles...map-any-genome

    Can a lab based in the USA hope to compete domestically? That remains to be seen.

    Could they have nefarious intent? Anything is possible, I guess. Speaking personally, I would actually be more suspect of the US Government using my data nefariously more so than the Chinese.
    Last edited by VinceT; 10-29-2013 at 06:23 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by VinceT View Post
    Mike,

    Full Genomes had originally intended to use Complete Genomics based out of Mountain View California, but then this happened:
    http://www.completegenomics.com/news...198854331.html

    Obviously the cost benefits of running mass genomic sequencing in a burgeoning economy with a cheap, educated, and enthusiastic workforce was appealing. It dropped the price of admission dramatically, and even one of their spokesmen boldly predicted a $100 genome by 2017.

    http://www.technologyreview.com/feat...enome-factory/
    http://www.businessweek.com/articles...map-any-genome

    Can a lab based in the USA hope to compete domestically? That remains to be seen.

    Could they have nefarious intent? Anything is possible, I guess. Speaking personally, I would actually be more suspect of the US Government using my data nefariously more so than the Chinese.
    Okay. Are you an official spokesperson for the testing company you mentioned? Since you brought it up, are you asking me to trust BGI-Shenzhen (Complete Genomics acquisition) or whoever they are? I don't know much how about who runs them, how they are funded and what international law they do or don't follow.

    I've been trying to stay away from company names as that leads away from logical discussion of the facts in some cases if people have vested interests, one way or another. We all do, probably.
    Last edited by TigerMW; 10-29-2013 at 02:51 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by VinceT View Post
    ...
    http://www.technologyreview.com/feat...enome-factory/
    http://www.businessweek.com/articles...map-any-genome

    Can a lab based in the USA hope to compete domestically? That remains to be seen.

    Could they have nefarious intent? Anything is possible, I guess. Speaking personally, I would actually be more suspect of the US Government using my data nefariously more so than the Chinese.
    I'm not insisting on made in the USA. I don't have any problems with my account information running out of a data center in Mexico or India. I think there is security, controls, regulations, backups, international legal cooperation/enforcement in place. In some regards, I actually do trust our systems.

    I have suspicions about federal governments too, but there is a court system and constitution available for legal recourse.... .
    but that is not even a point anyway. I would never send my full genome information to my own government. No way, no way in ____. Could they take it from me? Sure, but there are political prices to pay in an democracy. I'm sure not going to give up such things willingly. If I wouldn't send something to my government why would I send it to the Chinese? and probably pay for the shipping to boot!

    This is what I like about working with western public business institutions. They are forced to release certain kinds of information about themselves and they fall under the threat of consumers leaving them and therefore defunding them. They also have government controls within their geography. These are checks and balances.

    I don't trust the checks and balances in China. Do you? In the short term, it probably doesn't matter. In the long run, we are all dead, but this is different. My descendants, hopefully, will continue on and I hate to think of all things they will face. Hopefully, we will fight for their protections and freedoms. It is a slippery slope we traverse.
    Last edited by TigerMW; 10-29-2013 at 01:36 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikewww View Post
    I hadn't really paid attention to this because I didn't really think this era in DNA testing was directly upon us.

    I don't know who uses what laboratories but the ISOGG comparison shows that a laboratory in China is used, at least ISOGG thinks so.

    I generally give the benefit of the doubt to institutions but with personal information I do want to validate what could go wrong and what correction actions I might have and what risks are then presented.

    If personal information is being shipped to a location where a foreign citizen would have little, if any protections or recourse, I'd be clearly concerned about that.
    Perhaps, a constructive approach is talk to about chain of custody and consumer recourse.

    If a testing company is outsourcing the laboratory work elsewhere, there is nothing inherently wrong with that. I have misgivings about lack of international law, institutional independence and individual rights and protections in some foreign countries but that is another issue. Let us focus on the process and assurances the general contractor (genetic genealogy marketing and database company) has in place.

    Can they and do they assure the laboratories destroy and do not permanently store human genome information?

    Can they and do they assure double-blind transfer (non-linkable) of the genetic materials with the identity of the real person?

    What recourse does a consumer have in all of this?

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