Web site links relatives through DNA

Genealogy » GeneTree touts more than 100,000 contributors
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Utah-based GeneTree has launched a Web site that allows people who genetic testing shows are related to find each other and share family histories and mementos.

After more than a year of testing, GeneTree officials said Monday the interactive Web site will allow people to upload text, photos, documents and genealogies and to keep others informed about family happenings.

GeneTree is a part of the Sorenson Companies, the umbrella organization for a group of enterprises founded by the late James L. Sorenson.

Its new Web site, www.genetree.com, intensifies competition with companies that provide a place for families to research family history, build online genealogies and interact. The Generations Network of Provo, for example, runs ancestry.com and myfamily.com Web sites.

GeneTree provides a link to order genetic testing kits from another Sorenson company. Results of the tests, which can tell people who they likely are related to, can be posted online. People who share genetic material are connected by the company to one another.

"One of the very unique things about the DNA database is not only does it have a large number of samples, over 100,000 people contributed their DNA, but they are coupled with genealogies at the same time so we understand both the DNA of a person as well as their genetic history," said Matt Cupal, GeneTree president and chief operating officer.

In addition, the Web site links to a database collected in the past 10 years by the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation, which sent people all over the world to catalog genetic material. The foundation says that database represents more than 90 percent of the world's population.

"Based on that we can locate you with people of similar origin who have a similar DNA structure and actually make connections with those people as well," said Cupal.

GeneTree's Web site also includes the ability to upload GEDCOM files, one of the most commonly used formats for creating family trees.

People can collaborate on building genealogies and post materials, such as photos and video, for others to see. In addition, they can stay in contact through a feature that e-mails participants about family news.