Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Genealogical Triangulation: using coordinated DNA and genealogical databases

Can statistical techniques be used to reconcile two sources of genealogical information: record-based genealogy and genetic genealogy? Even mentioning the possibility will send some leaders in the professional genealogical community into paroxysms of denial.
Now the authors of the non-reviewed preprint Identification of anonymous DNA using genealogical triangulation, Paul M Ellenbogen and Arvind Narayanan, propose a statistical technique that "may be useful to genetic genealogy services for detecting errors, merging family trees, and improving the accuracy of their predictions. They might also be useful to researchers for constructing pedigrees, especially of isolated populations."
Ancestry, which already has large genealogical and DNA databases, is already in a position to use such a technique. As far as I know the company current matching algorithms do not do so although I'd be surprised if it was not a company area of research.

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