Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation to Include Singapore Families to Expand World's Leading Correlated Genetic and Genealogical Database.
The Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation (SMGF) today announced that it plans to collect information from volunteer Singapore families to help build the SMGF family history database, the world's most comprehensive collection of correlated genetic and genealogical information.
SMGF is a global pioneer in the field of molecular genealogy, which utilizes sophisticated DNA analysis techniques and population genetics to help people identify their ancestors and genetic family relationships. The Foundation's database is a powerful, publicly available family history tool that combines genetic and genealogical information to create a comprehensive genetic record of families throughout the world.
SMGF intends to collect genetic information from between 200 and 300 individuals in Singapore in August 2005. The Foundation invites Singaporeans who have at least four generations of genealogical information (back to their great-grandparents) to contribute DNA samples at the first Singapore Family History Exhibition. The Exhibition, titled "Who am I? The Joy of Discovering Your Family History," was co-organized by Singapore's Shepherdson family and the Singapore National Library Board. The event will be held from Aug. 2-28 on the premises of the new Singapore National Library.
Participation in the SMGF project is quick, convenient and free. The Foundation will use private funding donated by its founder, billionaire inventor and philanthropist James LeVoy Sorenson, to collect, analyze and correlate the genealogical and genetic data. To maintain the privacy of the donors, SMGF cannot provide participants with their individual results. However, participants may obtain their genetic marker profiles from a commercial lab if they wish to search the SMGF database.
SMGF was drawn to Singapore's unique, multiethnic genetic mix. "Singapore's demographics are extremely dynamic, with many people from diverse backgrounds migrating to and from the country," said Ugo Perego, director of operations for SMGF. "Gathering genealogical and genetic information from volunteer participants in Singapore will provide significant family history information for people from many European and Asian countries and backgrounds, and will benefit Singaporeans by providing them with reliable genetic testing to help them successfully reconstruct their family histories."
The SMGF database can play a significant role in Singapore's ongoing effort to foster national identity for its citizens and others with Singaporean roots.
"The success of Singapore's national genealogy initiative depends on the tools and resources available. People and private sector-led initiatives, such as SMGF's genetic and genealogical database, help to add value and enhance existing efforts in family history research," said Walter Lim, acting director of corporate communications and industry promotion at Singapore's National Heritage Board. The Board created a one-stop genealogy portal called the Singapore Family Tree (www.sft.com.sg), which helps to connect Singaporeans across time, space, and generations, while preserving their sense of heritage and identity with Singapore. In its first two months of existence, the portal had already signed up more than 2,000 family trees.
"The Shepherdson family can attest to the tremendous value of molecular genealogy in identifying family relationships, and of the opportunity to use SMGF's database to extend family history research," said Kevin Shepherdson, organizer of the Singapore Family History Exhibition. The Shepherdson family is now actively pursuing new leads uncovered in the database to link up with Shepherdsons and other relatives around the world.
"Using a combination of SMGF's database and a commercial service from Relative Genetics, we are confident that we can extend our family history research even further, all the way back to the 14th century," added Shepherdson. "We hope that through this Family History Exhibition and through participation in the SMGF project, others here in Singapore can enjoy the same benefits our family is now enjoying."
About Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation
The Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation (www.smgf.org) is a non-profit research organization whose objective is to collect DNA samples within a genealogical context for the purpose of creating the world's most comprehensive correlated genetic and genealogical database. The Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation database will help create a genetic record for the families of the world, and help individuals and families learn about their genetic ancestors and relationships.