SALT LAKE CITY--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation (SMGF) today announced, in conjunction with the 2010 National Genealogical Society Family History Conference, that its genetic genealogy database has surpassed the landmark milestone of 100,000 DNA samples, linked with corresponding multi-generational genealogical family pedigrees. 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 project was a labor of love that captivated the passion and imagination of late founder James LeVoy Sorenson, who invested tens of millions of dollars to make it a reality.
The inspiration for the SMGF database came from conversations between two prominent visionaries: Sorenson and 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 and promote a deep sense of shared identity, belonging and good will. When Woodward heard Sorenson describe this vision, he suggested the creation of a comprehensive database of genetic and genealogical information from a diverse set of world populations, and the SMGF database came into being.
“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 SMGF database is also the world’s most diverse collection of genetic information, with samples from more than 170 nations. Over the course of the last decade, the Foundation has been engaged in collecting DNA samples from a broad range of cultures from all but a handful of nations throughout the world. 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 Foundation’s database is also a uniquely powerful resource for helping novice and avid genealogists discover ancestors and living relatives.
“The SMGF database has helped me to connect with people and places I’d never have found or thought I was connected to,” said Kentucky resident Daryl Polley. “This database verified family connections no other database has, opened up new avenues for exploration when I had run into a genealogical dead end and provided the closest genetic match I’ve experienced in my research.”
Polley has a family line in Kentucky that reaches back to the 1780s and credits the SMGF database for helping him achieve what he describes as his “greatest family history success story”—verifying his family line in Virginia’s Pittsylvania County. Based on his success, Polley’s wife has submitted DNA samples from her family and has begun to explore her genetic heritage. Polley is also working to extend his line back to Woburn, Massachusetts in the 17th Century.
“SMGF is on the forefront of such a dynamic movement that it is impossible to say what tomorrow will bring in the way of new markers, new approaches and new connections,” said Polley. “I am excited to see what it helps us discover in the years ahead.”
To enable people everywhere to maximize the information and meaning they can derive from their genetic and genealogical data, GeneTree, a wholly owned subsidiary of the non-profit SMGF, was launched in 2007. GeneTree has exclusive access to leverage the SMGF database to aid individuals and extended families in their family history endeavors through quality genetic testing and family history consulting services. GeneTree’s product and service offering is designed to help people discover near-term family connections in the last six to 10 generations, as well as deep ancestral connections. The company’s highly qualified, professional genetic genealogists provide individualized assistance about users’ family trees and how DNA results can help them in their search for connections.
“While it is exhilarating to reach the 100,000-sample milestone, we view this not as a final destination but as a launching pad for the next phase of our mission,” said Woodward. “We invite people everywhere to collaborate with us by bringing us not only their DNA and genealogical data, but also their stories and aspirations. We are committed to extending our unparalleled ability to help people add rich new chapters to their family histories.”
About the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation
The Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation (SMGF) is a non-profit research organization that has created the world's largest repository of correlated genetic and genealogical information. The SMGF database currently contains information about more than 8 million ancestors through linked DNA samples and pedigree charts from more than 170 countries, approximately 90 percent of the nations of the world. The foundation's purpose is to foster a greater sense of identity combined with a sense of belonging among all people by showing how closely we are connected as members of a single human family. For more information about the foundation's free, publicly available database, visit www.smgf.org.
GeneTree (www.genetree.com), a wholly owned subsidiary of the non-profit Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation, is a leading provider of genetic and family history services that unlock peoples’ ancestral legacy. Powered by the world’s largest, most comprehensive repository of genetic and genealogical information, GeneTree’s best-in-class genetic testing, genetic genealogy consulting and family history research enables individuals and extended families alike to dramatically extend their family trees.