I should first note that this concept is exploratory. I can't pinpoint a specific way in which genetic genealogy raw data from 23andMe, Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) or Ancestry.com (and others) can directly contribute to Alzheimer's research, but maybe we can identify some over time as researcher databases grow and multiply and we learn how to get our family genetics into at least some of those databases.
J11 you honor me voting me thread leader for a genetic genealogy and Alzheimer's research thread. I could try to follow and contribute to such a thread, now here, but I am so so so so so behind in my life, and it's such a big topic, that I'm unlikely to focus on it soon. I recently went on a genetic genealogy unsubscribe binge so I could focus better on all my unfinished projects. A thread like that would require focus on all those things I just unsubscribed from just to get caught up, which I expect will take at least a year thinking positively. But I can at least post some thoughts and we'll see if this thread gets out of the barn. I almost added it to the exome scan thread, but that is very complex and maybe this approach will feel more accessible to people?
I love your enthusiasm for taking a citizen science approach to Alzheimer's genetics. I think though that it's possible that the tools available to genetic genealogists don't hold a candle to what researchers have available to them, and that reasonable inferences concerning genes and health require enormous population level datasets. I'm not sure it will work to start at the family level? But, I think we can make our raw data available to those researchers.
For background, 23andM3
has been primarily in the health DNA business with ancestry on the side, until the FDA made them stop offering the health reports pending regulatory action. Family Tree DNA
has always deliberately focused only on ancestry genetics, in part it's thought so as not to get snared in the regulatory issues over health DNA. Ancestry.com
started out with genealogy database expertise and later, when they saw what was going on through FTDNA (and 23andMe? - not sure their timing) got into genetic genealogy first with the Y chromosome DNA and later autosomal DNA. Then Ancestry canned their Y DNA testing which really wasn't a good product next to what FTDNA offered.
So now you have the "big three" (among others like the Genographic Project and ...) and each has its advantages and disadvantages for genetic genealogy purposes. All of them let you download your raw data. (Only FTDNA allows someone to import their data from Ancestry or 23andMe into the FTDNA database for comparisons there, free for minimal, fee for all tools.) But autosomal DNA from any of the big three can also be imported into the third party website GedMatch.com to allow cross-company comparison between users to find more genetic matches.
I think the key is for anyone who's had their genetics run at 23andMe, Family Tree DNA, or ancestry, to be sure to upload their raw data to the research outfits if they're satisfied on privacy fronts. This page lists a number of databases out there and notes which ones genetic genealogists can upload their results to http://www.isogg.org/wiki/DNA_databases
. Maybe someone will extract those for the different types of DNA (Y chromosome, mtDNA and autosomal DNA) into a handy little list with links.
Ancestry.com recently unrolled a Health DNA arm. See https://health.ancestry.com
and the press release http://corporate.ancestry.com/press/pre ... tryhealth/
and this coverage http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/0 ... 08446.html
Ancestry's effort looks nice in theory, although the ever-present privacy concerns apply. What I think is very problematic in their vision is that a huge percentage of family trees at Ancestry.com have scads of errors. People linked to the wrong family and all kinds of things. Then users process Ancestry's hints like they're eating candy, without critically evaluating them, and misattributions spread like wildfire through the trees. Also people will no doubt enter health information that is not correct, thinking an ancestor had a particular problem when it was something else. If they rely on actual death certificates, those aren't always correct either, and require accurate interpretation of old medical terms. But if Ancestry can leverage their DNA databases around privacy concerns and get them in the hands of Alzheimer's genetics researchers, drug development companies etc., and skip the family tree histories people enter which could be fraught with bad information, then that may be the best to come of it.
J11 keep sleuthing this topic and share here, and of course anyone else. I'll add too if I have new thoughts.
ApoE 3/4 > Thanks in advance for any responses made to my posts.