Branching Out: Why DNA?
8/1/2004
What's new in discovering, preserving and celebrating your family history.
The Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation (SMGF), which is continuing the Molecular Genealogy Research Project begun at Brigham Young University (BYU) <www.byu.edu> in 2000, has debuted a genealogy Y-DNA database at <www.smgf.org>. The site catalogs Y-DNA test data from men who've contributed their DNA to the project.

The SMGF database contains 5,500 individuals so far, with more to be added regularly, says project director Scott Woodward. Although SMGF has analyzed DNA samples from 40,000 individuals, the database will include only the 18,000 to 20,000 samples from men. That's because it tracks results from tests on the Y chromosome, which is inherited only by men.

SMGF researchers aim to collect 100,000 samples from around the world, which would give the database wider-ranging genealogical benefits, Woodward says. In addition, SMGF plans to become the only genealogy DNA database to profile test results for chromosomes called autosomes, which store more genetic information than Y-chromosomes — and which both women and men inherit.