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Tracing your Ancestry is About the Past. ConnectMyDNA is Now.

This post brought to you by ConnectMyDNA.com. All opinions are 100% mine.I’m a big fan of the NBC TV show Who Do You Think You Are? and have been interested in tracing my family tree ever since a relative translated letters from my ancestors who came to the US from Germany in the early to mid 1800’s. When I was approached to write a sponsored post about ConnectMyDNA™, I jumped at the chance. I was 100% certain what the results would show, but was completely taken off guard when I actually received them.

Let me start out by making it clear that ConnectMyDNA does NOT trace your ancestry. There are other services out there that can do that for you. This service uses a population genetics equation known as the Hardy-Weinberg Equation to compare your DNA with a world-wide database of DNA profiles that are grouped into 60 different countries. You are provided with a list of the top 10 countries where your genetic markers are most similar the people who live there now. Here’s a more detailed explanation from an FAQ on ConnectMyDNA’s site of how the results are tabulated.

Population Genetics is a branch of genetics that focuses on how frequently genes occur in a population and once determined, how frequently combinations of genes (genotypes) should occur. For example, if a gene has two forms (alleles) in a population, they can be referred to as x and y. Allele x is found at a frequency of 10% in the population while allele y is found at a frequency of 90% (total adds up to 100%). A different population may have the same two alleles, but their frequencies may be different. Since each person contains two copies of a gene, one from each biological parent, there are three possible genotypes; x/x, x/y, and y/y. These three genotypes will occur in a frequency proportional to the individual allele frequencies and can be calculated using a standard Population Genetics equation known as the Hardy-Weinberg Equation. In this case the three genotypes are expected to occur at a frequency of: x/x is (0.1 x 0.1) = 1%; x/y is (2 x 0.1 x 0.9) = 18%; y/y = (0.9 x 0.9) = 81%.

ConnectMyDNA™ uses these principles in providing information about the population groups you share the most statistical similarity. Since the markers used to generate your unique DNA profile are weakly affiliated with ancestry, your connection will likely not match your expectations in terms of ancestry.

In addition to receiving the list of the top 10 countries where the people’s DNA is most similar to yours, ConnectMyDNA also provides you with a Gene Ring. This is a graphical representation of your DNA. Sort of like your own genetic fingerprint.

A few days after accepting the task to write about ConnectMyDNA, I received a small DNA collection kit in the mail that contained a self-addressed postage paid envelope, a barcoded sample holder envelope, instructions and two cotton swabs that were sealed in a sterile package. Collecting my DNA was a simple matter of rubbing one swab inside my Left cheek for 30 seconds to collect cells and then doing the same thing with the remaining swab on my Right cheek. The swabs were then sealed in the sample envelope, placed in the postage paid envelope and dropped it in the mail.

You’ll notice that I didn’t mention anything about filling out forms with my personal details. That’s because the information about your DNA is kept private and is only traced through a bar code on the sample envelope. You don’t have to divulge your name or address. However you will need a valid email address in order to create an account on the ConnectMyDNA website to view your results.

A few weeks after I mailed the sample, I received my results. They were definitely NOT what I had expected. I had expected Germany to be the #1 country where people have DNA similar to me.

My top country is actually Mongolia! Who knew?! Not me. Germany isn’t even on my 10 ten list! I was very surprised by this. It is important to remember that the countries listed have people with the most similarity to my DNA, which is not an indication of my heritage. The only thing that comes to mind is how sad I was when the local Mongolian BBQ place when out of business. Now I know why! ;)

In addition to the top 10 country list, you also get a Gene Ring which is a representation of your 13 DNA markers. What does this graphical ring mean? ConnectMyDNA explains it better than I can:

All of this is accomplished by converting your numeric DNA test results into graphical data and applying it to a circular pattern of 13 rings that represent the 13 CODIS loci; a standard of identifying markers defined by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Contained in each of the 13 rings are green markers which identify the 2 allelevalues you inherit from your parents (1 from your mother and 1 from your father). The color and position of each marker on a ring represents the numeric values of your DNA profile – much like how the hands on a clock point to the correct time. It is the combined sequence of your green markers that makes the Gene Ring™ a unique pattern to you.

No two Gene Rings™ are alike, but some are more connected than others and discovering those connections is what ConnectMyDNA™ is all about!

Getting this info was fun and interesting and has made me want to go further and have another DNA test. This time to trace my ancestry. I’d also like to have my sister do the ConnectMyDNA test to see if she gets the same results as I did. I’m thinking it should be the same since we have the same mother and father.

If you’re interested in seeing how your DNA connects you to people around the world, ConnectMyDNA is offering a discount code that will bring the cost of the test down from the normal $89 to only $29.

Discount code: IZEA290512

Visit Sponsor's Site

{ 21 comments… add one }

  • KPDriscoll May 26, 2012, 10:58 am

    Neat, but just a bit creepy. Seems risky to share. I’d be curious how close your sister’s results are in terms of validating their output.

  • Julie May 26, 2012, 4:50 pm

    @KPDriscoll What makes you say that it’s risky to share the results? I agree. I’d like to find out if my sister and I share the same results. I’m assuming we should…

  • Nate Simmons May 28, 2012, 12:49 am

    I know of a set of twins that got different results and my father and I got different results don’t waste your money these guys are either a scam of stupid enough to use too small of a sample which will eventually sink them no matter how “honest” they are

  • Julie May 28, 2012, 10:29 am

    @Nate You used this same company?

  • Marguerite Weems May 28, 2012, 3:33 pm

    I read your experience with Connect My DNA. It intrigued me because I do trace my roots on ancestry.com and a few other sources. Before going through the process with Connect My DNA, I read a few reviews on the web. There are some individuals who feel the company is fraudulent, pointing out their reasons. Check out – insurance.justaaa.com/9206-Connect_My_DNA_reviews – I’m disappointed the reviews are so negative as it is a really neat idea.

  • Julie May 28, 2012, 3:42 pm

    @Marguerite That is very disappointing news.

  • Karen May 31, 2012, 6:19 pm

    It’s great to know that my all-time favorite gadget guru is also a genealogy buff! My roots go back to 1630 in this country and my heritage is a crazy quilt of ethnicity. I’ve been on the lookout for a reliable genetic DNA test to use. So I have seen the unfavorable reviews about Connect My DNA.

    But thanks, Julie for sharing your experience in detail – nothing wrong with testing this out and giving feedback to the rest of us. I’m waiting, somewhat impatiently for the $97 test that’s soon to be released through Ancestry.com. Keep an eye out for that.

  • Julie May 31, 2012, 6:55 pm

    @Karen I’m also waiting for the Ancestry.com test to become available. I received an email a day or two ago that said it was getting closer. I must have signed up to be notified or something… although I don’t recall doing so. I wonder if the Ancestry.com test will trace both sides (Mother and Father) or if you have to do it twice and specify which side…

    I just checked your website. Great stuff! :)

  • Karen June 3, 2012, 9:47 pm

    Julie – I got one of those notices too. I think it’s because I’m an Ancestry subscriber. From the little info I’ve seen, the Ancestry test is supposed to capture info from both maternal and paternal sides in one fell swoop. Revolutionary!! Thanks for stopping by my website. I’m adding new family stories:)

  • NevadaNana June 7, 2012, 12:47 pm

    This is such a fraud!! Bought 2 kits from LivingSocial.com for $29/ea. My son and I each “swabbed” and sent them in and the results were a joke. Of the top 10 country connections we only matched on one….Croatian. My top 2 were Macedonian and Chinese and my sons Syrian and Saudi Arabian. Our families are W.A.S.P.’s, from Britain and Scandanavia. Can’t even get a credit now, let alone a refund….Don’t waste your money!

  • Concerned Consumer August 27, 2012, 10:22 am
  • Monica September 9, 2012, 1:09 am

    Fraud?! Scam?! Sounds like you were expecting it to trace your ancestry when they explicitly say is NOT an ancestry test. @NevadaNana was clearly trying to make that connection by noting only one country matched her expectations.

    If you read through the site, the results they give MAY relate to your ancestry in some cases, but not all. Where it does not correlate, your results represent the countries who’s DNA is most similar to yours.

    For example, I am 50% Brazilian and 50% Chinese and my results show Portugal, Russia, Argentina, Spain, Malaysia, Rwanda, China, Tunisia, Brazil.

    That actually makes a ton of sense to me. Rwanda and Tunisia did seem out there, so I looked into it more and even asked the company for help understanding my results. They explained that while I may not hail from Rwanda, that does not preclude my DNA profile from having similarities with those from Rwanda.

  • Alex September 10, 2012, 8:15 pm

    This is a scam. They do not deliver what they claim. Then they email/post the same standard report saying that they don’t trace ancestry. It’s true that they don’t trace ancestry, but their service, if it’s even real, doesn’t tell where most people with genetic makeup similar to your reside. Either those results, their methodology, or both are bunk. To say that somebody of German descent has most genetic commonalities with populations in Somalia is obviously false! Google them, and you’ll see tons such complains. Don’t waste your money and report them to BBB and whomever you can.

  • Liz October 22, 2012, 12:32 pm

    I knew not to expect any kind of ancestry test, but my results came as a surprise to me! I think what Connect MyDNA is doing is interesting to say the least. You might not expect someone who is Caucasian like me, to have African matches.

    Population genetics is not a subject I am well versed in, but I know that genes can change over time due to mutations and other external factors. With that in mind, it’s not so shocking to see matches from completely different places. I think it’s kind of cool to see how strangely related to others we may be, and not even know it.

  • Paige P. October 24, 2012, 12:50 pm

    It’s kind of like a a social experiment, people get to compare their own gene “markers” with a database of population information from around the world. Its definitely not any kind of heritage test, I hear those are a bit more laborious and expensive, this is merely for the fun value.

  • Matthew B January 7, 2013, 5:32 pm

    @Alex if you ever see this….something you ought to know.

    You say report them to BBB because they are a scam.

    Did you know BBB is a scam? It’s extortion actually.

  • Anthony January 21, 2013, 10:44 pm

    Anyone who is upset at Connectmydna when they CLEARLY said their test is NOT an ancestry test should try DNA Consultants’ “Premium DNA Fingerprint Plus Megapopulations Bottom Line Report Rare Genes From History Neanderthal Index” sometime!

  • vibrant April 20, 2013, 10:55 pm

    My son and I took the tests. We are of multiracial backgrounds. I am guyanese mixed heritage, he is half guyanese half puerto rican. My dna matches tanzania, iraq, pakistan, venezuela(near guyana), italy. His matches mozambique(near tanzania), iran(near iraq), pakistan, puerto rico, spain. I would say pretty spot on. My known heritage is from parts of india, africa, europe migrated to guyana.
    Just because your dna results are a complete contrast does not make connectmydna a fraud. There are lots of arabs living in europe. If they took dna tests of comparison, the dna would most likely be from middle east or asia, not european countries although the second or third generation arab only knows his life to be that of a european. In a dna sampling test of irish and frenchmen, 90% were found to match dna of king tut(ancient north african). Dna doesn’t lie. Your ancestors could migrate, but it doesn’t change their dna makeup!!

  • z. fan June 28, 2013, 7:20 pm

    It’s a total scam, believe or not

  • Steve June 14, 2014, 2:38 am

    It is a scam and a complete waste of money.

  • Anthony June 14, 2014, 10:02 am

    Anyone who is upset at Connectmydna when they CLEARLY said their test is NOT an ancestry test should try DNA Consultants’ “Premium DNA Fingerprint Plus Megapopulations Bottom Line Report Rare Genes From History Neanderthal Index” sometime!

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