Common DNA Misconception When It Comes to Multiple Testing with FamilyTree DNA (FTDNA)

One of the most common misconceptions when it comes to multiple testing of a DNA sample for an individual with FamilyTree DNA (FTDNA) involves not needing to provide another DNA sample. In many cases, one DNA sample is enough to achieve what you want. Each test they run uses a portion of the DNA from the swab you sent in. Some tests, full mtDNA or Big-Y for example, use a lot more of your DNA sample than others. I bring this up because some bloggers say “You won’t need to submit another sample to FTDNA” which is misleading. You may not need to send another  sample, but then again you may. Not a big deal if the person is still alive, and willing, to provide another sample. In several cases I read about on Facebook people haven’t been willing to provide additional DNA samples. In at least one case, the person told the family member that they would provide one DNA sample and that’s it.

Each test uses a portion of the DNA sample you provided, and this is true of all DNA testing companies, not just FTDNA. Most other DNA companies don’t offer multiple DNA testing options. One company that gets around needing multiple DNA samples is Helix. They process your DNA once and store the raw data in a file on their system; they only release the DNA information for the test(s) you order. The raw data file from Helix will cost you $499.00 to order if you want to see the raw data, but it allows them to run the test once from the DNA provided – it’s not a full DNA test, but it looks at a lot more DNA markers than many DNA companies that don’t offer full DNA testing. They offer a number of DNA tests, mostly through third party vendors, and if you order a new test, they simply release the portion of the raw data needed to generate the results. It’s a good way to get around needing additional DNA samples for more tests. It’s actually a smart move on their part as they are continually adding new testing options. I don’t know if they are the only DNA company that takes this route. In my case, when I ordered the Geno 2.0 Next test from Helix (similar, but slightly different than Geno 2.0 which was done by FTDNA), they simply provided Nat Geo a file that contained the raw data needed by Nat Geo to generate my results. You can see the differences in my post Geno 2.0 Next vs. Geno 2.0 Ethnicity Comparison.

Using myself for an example, I had two DNA samples at FTDNA: 1) the one I submitted when I ordered several tests (full mtDNA, Y-67, and FamilyFinderautosomal DNA) directly from FTDNA back in 2013; and 2) National Geographic’s (Nat Geo) Geno 2.0 test back in 2013 when FTDNA was doing the U. S. kits for Nat Geo. I later ordered some individual SNP and STR tests from FTDNA as well as the Big-Y. Problems with processing the Big-Y test led them to using all of one DNA sample, but they used (probably a significant portion) the second DNA sample to complete the Big-Y test. Should I do additional DNA testing at FTDNA I will probably need to provide a third DNA sample at some point.



About Wichita Genealogist

Originally from Gulfport, Mississippi. Live in Wichita, Kansas now. I suffer Bipolar I, ultra-ultra rapid cycling, mixed episodes. Blog on a variety of topics - genealogy, DNA, mental health, among others. Let's
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