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Sorenson Molecular hits genealogy milestone with 100,000 DNA samples

Published April 28, 2010 10:21 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2010, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation (SMGF) today said its genetic genealogy database has surpassed 100,000 DNA samples, linked with corresponding multigenerational family pedigrees.

Billed as the world's largest and most comprehensive collection of genetic and family history information, the database links the genetic samples of its participants to more than 8.6 million ancestors and living relatives.

The update was announced in conjunction with the opening of the 2010 National Genealogical Society Family History Conference at the Salt Palace Convention Center.

The project got its inspiration from late founder James LeVoy Sorenson, who invested tens of millions of dollars to make it a reality. Working with geneticist Dr. Scott Woodward, Sorenson envisioned the creation of a genetic map of the world's people that would illustrate the relationships shared by the entire human family.

"The 100,000-sample threshold is a true sampling of the world, and a profound testament to Mr. Sorenson's legacy of demonstrating that in a very real and literal sense, we are all members of a single human family," said Woodward, executive director for the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation. "This deep and diverse sample collection provides us with a critical mass of genetic information that will enable us to bring almost any two people in the world together, and show them their relatedness and common ancestors."

The database is one of the world's most diverse collections of genetic information, with samples from more than 170 nations. Over the course of the past decade, the foundation has been engaged in collecting DNA samples from a broad range of cultures from all but a handful of nations. The collections include remote villages in South and Central America, where the descendants of the Incan, Mayan, Aztec and Toltec empires live; Mennonite populations in the U.S. and Mexico; rich sample sets from China, Singapore, Micronesia, Nepal, Kyrgystan and the Mongolian steppes; and samples from every African and European nation.

The database is also a resource for helping novice and avid genealogists discover ancestors and living relatives. For more information about the foundation's free, publicly available database, visit http://www.smgf.org" Target="_BLANK">http://www.smgf.org.

In 2007, the foundation also launched, GeneTree, a wholly owned subsidiary that offers services is designed to help users discover near-term family connections in the last six to 10 generations. For information, go to http://www.genetree.com" Target="_BLANK">http://www.genetree.com.