lion Venter DNA Project

More about DNA testing.

Genetic Genealogy

The study of family history through DNA analysis is a new and rapidly growing field of research that is yielding very exciting results.

Today there are two types of DNA that are used for genealogical purposes. The first is mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), which is passed on from mother to child and can be used to determine maternal ancestry. The second is Y-chromosome DNA (Y-DNA), which is passed from father to son and can be used to trace paternal, and therefore, surname ancestry.

Y-DNA Analysis

It is the Y-DNA testing that is of interest here. Y-DNA testing takes a sample of male DNA (specifically, the Y-chromosome) and analyzes various locations on it known as "markers". (For more detailed information see A Short Course in Genetic Genealogy)   Tests of 12, 25, 37, and now even 67 markers can be done. Each marker is chosen specifically for its volatility or stability along with consideration of other anthropological information which the marker can provide. Comparing the analysis of twelve markers is sufficient to determine in a general sense whether or not two people are genetically related. Two individuals are considered related if they match in all 12 of the markers, or at least in 11 of the 12 markers, and share the same surname. The 25, 37, and 67 marker tests become important when two individuals are shown to be related based on the 12-marker test. The objective of tests with a greater number of markers is to further refine the time frame as to how long ago an ancestor common to both individuals existed. This ancester is known as "the most recent common ancestor" or MRCA. The number of markers two individuals have in common is inversely proportional to the number of generations they must go back to find their common ancestor. The more markers they have in common, the less number of generations. This is the part that is most helpful to genealogists, because it gives them an idea if the Most Recent Common Ancestor existed recently enough to be determined through research of existing records, that is to say within the last 500 years or so. The more markers analyzed, the more accurately the time to the MRCA can be determined.

The Details

For those interested in a more details, please read my Short Course in Genetic Genealogy. Additionally, any of the following excellent sites are also recommended:

Some Major Projects

It can be very interesting to look at some of the projects that have been around for a while and have quite a number of participants. A few that are recommended can be found at the following locations:

Participating in the Venter Surname DNA Project

Participants must be direct male descendents, since the Y-chromosome is passed from father to son. Therefore, any male with the Venter surname is eligible and a prime candidate to become a participant in our project. Males with spelling variations of the Venter surname are encouraged to participate as well. These include, but are not limited to such variations as: Ventor, Fenter, Fender, Fenters, van Deventer, any many others.

Females can investigate their paternal line by having a related male take the test. This can be a brother, father, father's brother, cousin on the father's side, etc. (In other words, any male family member with the appropriate surname)

The actual test is safe, very easy and confidential. All that is involved is taking a swab from the inside of the cheek, placing it in the container provided and mailing it to the lab.

Family Tree DNA

The Venter Surname DNA Project operates in association with Family Tree DNA. Since its inception, in April of 2000, Family Tree DNA has been associated with the Arizona Research Labs, led by Dr. Michael Hammer, one of the world's leading authorities in the field of Genetics. The Arizona Research Labs are part of the University of Arizona, one of the five leading Y-chromosome universities in the world.

We are inviting all males with the Venter or varient surname to become a part of this new and exciting field of genealogy. The more participants involved, the better an understanding we will have of the collective Venter Family Tree. Don't pass up this opportunity to determine your place in the genetic structure of that tree. Joining is easy at our Project Page at Family Tree DNA.

Return to the Venter Surname DNA Project page.

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