About the NGS Genographic Project
(as it pertains to the Pike DNA Project)
In April 2005, the National Geographic Society launched the
This is a 5-year project that aims to use genetic testing to track human
migration on an anthropological timescale.
To view a media interview with Spencer Wells about the Genographic Project
click on the "Launch" button.
An 8-minute video about the project can also be
The DNA testing for public participants of the Genographic Project is being
FamilyTreeDNA, which is the company
that the Pike DNA Project is recommending for its members. Because of the
affiliation between the Genographic Project and FamilyTreeDNA, there are
mechanisms for people who do their first DNA test with one of them to
later transfer their test results into the other's database (without the
need to provide another DNA sample).
This ability to transfer information presents newcomers to the Pike DNA Project
with a choice as to whether to start their genetic testing as a member of
the Genographic Project or as a member of the Pike Surname DNA Project. Each
choice has its benefits and drawbacks.
It warrants mention that nobody is required to join the Genographic Project.
But given that its existence does present a choice, and also knowing that some people
will want to join it as well as the Pike DNA Project, I thought that it would be best to
describe the pros and cons of the two ways to get started, so that people can make
up their own minds about how to proceed.
First, let's describe what would happen if you choose to start out with the Genographic Project:
- You would go to
this webpage at NGS,
click on either the "United Kingdom" link, the "United States & Canada" link or the "International" link,
and then pay the standard $99.95 US fee to join the Genographic Project.
- Along with the DNA test kit, you would then be mailed a DVD from the
National Geographic Society and a brochure about the Genographic Project.
- The test that would be performed on your Y-chromosome (this applies only to males)
is a 12-marker test.
- If your 12-marker test comes back with values that do not allow your Y-chromosome haplogroup
to be accurately predicted, then a haplogroup test will be automatically performed.
This would be at no additional cost to you, but might result in a substantial delay
before you could view your test results on your personal webpage on the Genographic Project's website.
- Once your DNA results are available at the Genographic Project website, you should be able
locate a FamilyTreeDNA link near the bottom of your personal webpage on the Genographic Project website. By following the upload instructions,
your data would be transferred into the FamilyTreeDNA database, at which time you should be
presented with an option to join the Pike Surname DNA Project (this upload is cost-free).
Unless you have previously contacted me, it's at this point that I would first learn about you and
your test results, and so would get in touch with you about providing pedigree information, etc.,
for display on the website for the Pike DNA Project.
- Having now joined the Pike project, you have the option to refine your 12-marker test results
to 25, 37, or 67 markers. FamilyTreeDNA's upgrade prices for members of surname projects
are $49, $99, and $189, respectively
[Here I'm quoting the standard costs for upgrades. Discounted prices might be offered to you for a few days immediately following the transfer of
your data into the FamilyTreeDNA system]. FamilyTreeDNA would then begin
the process to analyse your DNA sample a second time ... it will probably take about 6 more weeks for
them to finish and report the values for markers 13-25, 26-37, and also 38-67 if you upgraded to 67 markers.
Now, suppose that you decide not to start out with the Genographic Project, but instead
get tested right away as part of the Pike DNA Surname Project:
- When you sign up
at this webpage at FamilyTreeDNA
for the Pike Surname DNA Project, you can choose right away to be tested for 12, 25, 37, or 67 markers.
These tests cost $99, $124, $149, and $239, respectively. As soon as you sign up, I am notified that the
project has a new member, and will shortly thereafter contact you to request pedigree information, etc.
- FamilyTreeDNA will mail you a DNA test kit. When they get it back, your DNA sample will be analysed
for all of the markers you requested. Although they will be testing for markers 1-12, 13-25, 26-37, and 38-67 separately,
the tests will be conducted simultaneously, and so the results for each panel of markers should come out
at about the same time, which is when I would update the Pike DNA website with your results.
- Once your results for the first 12 markers are available, FamilyTreeDNA will estimate your haplogroup.
As with the Genographic Project, if there is some uncertainty about the haplogroup prediction,
a haplogroup test will be automatically performed at no cost to you.
However, unlike with the Genographic Project, you will be able to
view the test results for your markers while the haplogroup confirmation is under way.
- With or without a haplogroup test, you will by now
see a link on your personal webpage at FamilyTreeDNA, with instructions, etc., for uploading your
12-marker results into the Genographic Project, if you so choose. If you choose to do so, you will have to pay a $15 fee
to join the Genographic Project and upload your 12-marker data into their database.
However, not everybody will be able to join the Genographic Project with the ease of just a few clicks and a $15 fee.
Those of us whose haplogroup prediction is a bit uncertain will first have to wait for the haplogroup confirmation
to be completed
(because the Genographic Project requires confidence in the haplogroup assignments of its participants).
If you do join the Genographic Project, then you will be provided with a personal webpage within their project,
just like the rest of their participants. However, you will not be sent the DVD and brochure that
is sent to people who initiated their DNA testing via the Genographic Project.
Here's a summary of some of the pros and cons:
- Genographic Project
- You get a DVD about the Genographic Project and its anthropological goals.
- You can transfer your data over to FamilyTreeDNA for free.
- You might have to wait for a haplogroup test before seeing your 12-marker results.
- You won't be able to request DNA tests for more than 12 markers until after your
12-marker results are ready and you have transferred your data to FamilyTreeDNA.
- You are immediately able to order tests for 25, 37, or 67 markers. The results for markers
13-25, 26-37, and 38-67 would be reported at roughly the same time as those for markers 1-12.
- If you desire to join the Genographic Project, it will cost you $15.
- You will not receive the DVD and brochure about the Genographic Project.
Concerning costs, to end up with results for 37 markers, you can either pay $149 by signing up
directly with the Pike DNA Project, or if you go through the Genographic Project first then you
would pay $99.95 plus an upgrade fee of $99 for a total of $198.95. So if your only interest is
genealogy, then ignoring the Genographic Project is the more economical option.
At this point it warrants re-iterating that joining the Genographic Project is not a requirement,
but those intent on joining it anyway will probably want to start out with it first in order to
get a copy of the brochure and DVD, even though this
may slow down getting a full set of test results (i.e. more than just 12 markers).
This might be a lot to absorb, especially for newcomers to the realm of genetic genealogy.
By all means, if you have any questions, email David and/or Stuart at
A few words should probably also be said about haplogroups.
In this regard, please review the questions and answers on the
page for the Pike DNA Project.
Last Modified: Thursday, 23 August 2012, 12:50:58 NDT