DNA Overview: how Next Generation Sequencing is revolutionising Kennedy DNA testing!


My Y chromosome position 14,902,414 showing the G->A transition that marks M222!

31.5.16 Males of either Irish or Scottish origin bearing the surname Kennedy can help the study of the Kennedy surname by submitting, usually free of charge, a cheek swab from which their DNA can be extracted. This is needed to explore where the paper trail cannot take us, for example the relation between the highland and lowland Kennedys in Scotland or the gap between the Munster and Ulster branches in Ireland. I lead the way having tested with five different DNA testing organisations. Formerly using short tandem repeat tests from the Sorenson lab, more advanced ('SNP') testing is now being done either at YSEQ or FullGenomes, Inc., recent/emerging companies I am supporting. These tests leverage next-generation sequencing. Funding is usually available if a paper trail to Britain or Ireland exists. If you are considering testing with any organisation please contact me to discuss and get the latest industry advice - I've tested with them all, including FullGenomes (analysis completed November 21st 2013) and the chip upgrade called 'Chromo 2' at BritainsDNA! (latter results were reported November 11th 2013). The result of these last two tests can be seen in a vendor-neutral M222 group diagram. (updates are announced here). I have also produced some notes on how to analyse a raw Chromo2 results file and detect if you are M222+ as it is not immediately obvious. For those interested in further news of the December 2013 re-analysis of my data by YFull.com resulting in 9 further SNPs and a technical overview of my data from FullGenomes including all my new private Y chromosome variants read these notes. There is now a brief history of M222 to read too. Note that as of May 2016 the YSEQ M222 panel (updated in Feb 2016) is more advanced than the equivalent tests on Chromo2 although the latter is a good starting point for someone who has never tested before.

31 May 2016 We now have an M222 group at YFull where data can be shared if you have had a sequencing test (FGC or BY). YFull maintain a tree built from sequencing data. I have also updated my sequencing report from last year with the latest research from the FGC4077 branch.

STOP PRESS!! 27th July 2014 Full Genomes Inc. who carried out my Y chromosome sequencing, have now introduced a more competitive version of their test which is a mere USD599 if you order before August 31st 2014. It is designed to have about 90% of the coverage of their standard test which has been rebranded 'Y Elite' and is known as 'Y Prime'.

* The project does not use the new autosomal 'Ancestry DNA' test heavily promoted by Ancestry.com or similar 'cousin-finding' tests sold by other companies. Any STR testing will be done at YSEQ who also do the bulk of the SNP testing for the project. However since it is on sale in the UK and Ireland from January 2015 I have now taken the AncestryDNA test and uploaded results to GEDMatch.com (#A828783) and I'm happy to discuss any matches with others (edited 2 June 2015).

Kennedy DNA results

July 2014 Excitement is at fever pitch as the first detailed SNP comparison between Kennedys using next generation sequencing is now complete at Thomas Krahn's YSEQ lab! The results can be seen in the aforementioned M222 results chart.

A total of 110 DNA kits have now been returned. So far, several different groups have emerged although all are in an old large grouping associated with the Atlantic facade of Europe. This proves that both Irish and Scottish Kennedys are indigenous (at least in the era of surnames) to their traditional homelands. The Irish Kennedys match well with other names from the O'Brien group of families as would be expected and thus confirm the Kennedy history from the Irish genealogies and annals that places them in the family of Brian Boru. The Scottish Kennedys are demonstrably separate from the Irish, thus disproving certain old histories claiming that they came from Ireland. The big remaining puzzle is the relation between the lowland and highland Scottish Kennedys. Here the evidence is hard to interpret because of the mix of lines in the highlands, one major line of which is border-line related to the main lowland branch. It is to be hoped that with a few more highland and Aberdeenshire/Caithness Kennedy men doing the test, this picture should be clarified. Another group I am keen to explore further are Kennedys from the Irish 'midlands', by which I mean the areas between the separate genetic groups in Munster and Ulster. Anyone between Galway in the west and Leinster (excluding Dublin) in the east is of interest. Dublin Kennedys would need to provide proof of their rural origins elsewhere in the country. A number of new technologies and research initiatives have emerged onto the scene which will further aid us in ironing out the fine details - if you are interested in hearing the latest drop me a line.

For further information please contact the project.