Gene Expression

Error in the age of personal genomics


Over at Genetic Future Dr. Daniel MacArthur points out some errors in deCODE’s interpretation services. Dr. MacArthur presumably knows his maternity, though if the X chromosome results were correct one would guess that Dr. MacArthur is actually adopted and that his mother might be a Lumbee Indian.

But it makes me wonder how confused people are going to be due to problems with false results. In particular, as these technologies become very cheap many families with make recourse to them. Sometimes this will highlight “extrapair paternity events,” but sometimes there will be errors and siblings may face a period of uncertainty in relation to possibly discordant results. The likelihood of a false result creating an unexpected situation is conditional on various probabilities, the error rate of the results, and the likelihood of an extrapair paternity event (which varies from demographic to demographic and family to family). I guess we’ll have more data in the near future….


  1. #1 pconroy
    December 23, 2009


    Well DecodeMe seems to have been working with an older 23AndMe data set, so that’s how they account for the error – which is now fixed.

    In either case, I too uploaded my 23AndMe results to DecodeMe, and find that both my Autosomal and X Chromosome have:
    1% African
    5% East Asian

    This is a welcome finding for me – as 23AndMe told me I was 100% European – when I have pigmentation results that suggest Uralic admixture, have ABO blood type B – common in Central Asia – and a family history going back to Lancashire, England to the exact area where the Romans settled 5,500 Alano-Sarmatians – who hailed from the Ukrainian/Hungarian plains, but originated further East.

    I also welcome the 1% African, and have a very good idea where those genes express 😉

  2. #2 pconroy
    December 23, 2009

    BTW, I have a section of “High Sharing”, in the exact same spot on the X chromosome, with both Craig Venter and Kari Stefansson – though no high sharing with James Watson, the 3rd of the celebrity individuals listed by DecodeMe.

  3. #3 razib
    December 23, 2009

    paul, too much information…. 🙂

  4. #4 bioIgnoramus
    December 23, 2009

    “Alano-Sarmatians”: have you heard the theory that the Dragon Banner of Wales originates with these coves?

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