Autosomal tests have become popular in the last 5 years for identifying connections between people who have inherited the same same DNA from ancestors, also known as relatives. This autosomal testing provides them with an unprecedented means for understanding how genes are passed down. Understanding genetics can have positive effects in advancing both genealogical records and personal health-related decisions. Below are screen captures of one of the 20 or so user-friendly interfaces called Family Inheritance that members who have taken advantage of the Giants’ kits are accessing for analyzing their own chromosomes. Members can use this to determine through which parent or grandparent they are related to an individual and make genealogical breakthroughs by collaborating with thousands of other users and including hundreds of newly discovered cousins.
For several of the genome comparisons from our 23andme analyses, highlighted in red are the genes regulating immune system compatibility. Potentially, one could also use such information to identify siblings, or members of the community/world with whom one might be compatible with respect to organ/stem cell donation. Currently, with only about a 1 in 5 chance of a perfect match between siblings, it is difficult for many parents to justify the expenses of cord blood banking for each child. If one were able to identify empirically that a substantial number of immunological matches exist between members of our closely related community and also members of the Norwegian towns from which most of our genetic material originates, then a smaller pool of existing cord blood cells could be expanded and used for a larger number of individuals. Identifying whether matches existed beyond one’s siblings would significantly increase the pool of compatibility for stem cells and organs and make stem cell banking much more practical.