Before You DNA Test

Anyone who has dreamed of participating in DNA testing for a long time before they were finally able to order a kit knows how excruciating the wait for results can be.  For FTDNA Family Finder, which tests both sides of your family back to 6 generations, there are a couple of simple rules for obtaining an optimal sample:

  • Don’t brush your teeth, use mouthwash, eat or drink anything for at least an hour before swabbing the inside of your cheeks
  • Rub the swab against your cheek for about a minute.  When it comes out the soft bristles should be a little bent and worse for wear

When I did my test, I swabbed first thing in the morning.  I was so concerned about getting the best sample possible, I used one swab on both cheeks the first morning, and the second swab on both cheeks again the following morning. I was so careful to close the vial tightly I was half afraid I might accidentally snap the top off.  By the time the results were expected, every evening I was refreshing my account several times an hour.

Since then, I have tested and gotten a number of family members tested, including both of my 94 year old grandmothers.  Some people have reported denture adhesive can interfere with a quality sample, as can a tester’s advanced age, for whatever reason.  That gave me two more reasons to worry about the quality of my grandmothers’ samples and to wonder if they would be processable.

Another Good Reason to Join FTDNA Projects

Iowa DNA Project member Pete asked, “Have not yet received the kits yet.  Can I join now or wait until I get the test results?”

Yes!  Once you have your kit number, you can log into your account and join as many projects as you think might help your research, all for free.

My first grandmother’s results were a week overdue and until her results came in I was in a dread they wouldn’t pass quality control and that we would need a second sample.  Since then, I have learned project administrators have a tool that allows them to see the date the lab expects the results back, if everything goes to plan.  That is much better than the general 1-2 week countdown the independent tester receives.  If you are a member of the Iowa DNA Project and are waiting for a test result, feel free to contact me and I will check the lab’s date for you.

Once you have the date the lab predicts, even if your account is not yet showing that the test has been completed, or listed any of your matches, you may still be able to access some of your results.

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The lab predicted my grandmother’s results would be completed December 4th.  That evening, even though her account was still showing the count down of 1-2 weeks, I was able to access both her MyOrigins results and raw data.  To do so, go to MY DNA and from the drop down choose FAMILY FINDER and MyORIGINS.  If you are planning to upload your results to Gedmatch, repeat the same process for DOWNLOAD RAW DATA.

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None of her matches are yet in, but that process usually takes an additional two days for the new results to be run against the existing data base.  I can wait two more days, now that I have the peace of mind that her sample was able to be successfully processed.  Meanwhile, her raw data is being tokenized at Gedmatch and before long I will be able to explore her admixture results in depth.  That should keep me busy until the full results are populated at FTDNA!

6 thoughts on “Before You DNA Test

  1. Pingback: My FTDNA Family Finder Results are Back. Now What? | IowaDNAProject

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