DNA Consultants

DNA Consultants

DNA Consultants is a DNA profiling company in Phoenix, Arizona, founded by Donald Panther-Yates in 2003.[1] It began as a consulting service offered by Dr. Yates to research project participants when he was a professor at Georgia Southern University. The company provided independent evaluations of genetic genealogy results, especially to subjects in academic studies involving American Indian and Melungeon ancestry. Early investigations, many with Elizabeth Caldwell Hirschman, resulted in a number of studies published in the field of genetic genealogy and ethnic identity.[2]

Yates and Hirschman brought out one of the first papers on direct-to-the-consumer genealogical DNA tests [3] in an academic venue at the International Conference on Diversity in Organisations, Communities and Nations held in Los Angeles in 2004.[4]"Peering Inward for Ethnic Identity," another general article on the intersection between DNA testing and identity, was published in 2008.[5] About the same time appeared “Suddenly Melungeon! Reconstructing Consumer Identity across the Color Line,",[6] and “Romancing the Gene, Making Myth From 'Hard Science’.”[7]

In June 2011, co-author Hirschman presented "Altruistic Economics and Consumer Cooperatives in the DNA Marketspace",[8] the result of a long and extensive case study of the founding years of genetic genealogy companies such as Family Tree DNA and Oxford Ancestors at American Marketing Association’s Marketing and Public Policy Conference, Washington, D.C. Her main findings concerned the value-added co-production of consumers in a product and the intellectual factories formed by forums, listservs and end-users.

DNA Consultants has developed an autosomal DNA database for use in its in-house studies and fulfillment of the direct-to-the-consumer DNA tests it offers to the public. Called atDNA (at standing for autosomal), it is under the care of Wendell Paulson, the company's statistics consultant and Faculty Associate in the Math and Natural Sciences Division of Arizona State University, West Campus, in Phoenix. Paulson helped found the American Society for Quality's Statistics Division in 1977.[9] The current version of atDNA 4.0 contains data on 400 world populations representing over 115,000 anonymous subjects' DNA profiling results from published forensic studies since 1996, when the Combined DNA Identification System or CODIS marker identification system was first established as a standard.[10]

DNA Consultants has two ongoing DNA studies, a Cherokee DNA Project under the administration of Holli S. Molnar and Melungeon DNA Project under Phyllis Starnes. The company sells a range of consumer-oriented DNA tests, many of which it has developed, not least its autosomal DNA profiling family of products, as well as older-style Y chromosome and mitochondrial DNA tests. Native American, Jewish and Melungeon versions of its DNA Fingerprint Plus are available.

For the DNA Fingerprint products, DNA Consultants uses Chromosomal Laboratories of Phoenix as its partner genomics laboratory. It maintains a reseller program with Chromosomal Laboratories' affiliated DNA testing centers. For other tests it works with other laboratories in the United States and Canada.

DNA Consultants also sponsors DNA Communities, a free, public genealogy site with forums on African, European, Jewish, Melungeon, Native American and other ethnic DNA subjects; DNA Consultants Blog focused on DNA news and industry ethics; an online bookstore and The Ancestry Report, a free e-zine devoted to ethnic family history topics.

In 2010, DNA Consultants partnered with Jewish Voice Ministries International to launch a Jewish Ancestry Test, believed to be the first direct-to-the-consumer Jewish ancestry test based on autosomal DNA testing.

In the same year, DNA Consultants began to sell its DNA Fingerprint products on a retail store level through DNA Shop of Las Vegas, Nevada.


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