tools for genetic genealogy and the analysis of consumer DNA test results
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lineage provides a framework for analyzing genotype (raw data) files from direct-to-consumer DNA testing companies (e.g., 23andMe, Family Tree DNA, and Ancestry), primarily for the purposes of genetic genealogy.


  • Merge raw data files from different DNA testing companies, identifying discrepant SNPs in the process
  • Compute centiMorgans (cMs) of shared DNA between individuals using the HapMap Phase II genetic map
  • Plot shared DNA between individuals
  • Determine genes shared between individuals (i.e., genes transcribed from shared DNA segments)
  • Find discordant SNPs between child and parent(s)
  • Remap SNPs between assemblies / builds (e.g., convert SNPs from Build 36 to Build 37, etc.)


lineage requires Python 3.5+ and the following Python packages:

On Linux systems, the following system-level installs may also be required:

$ sudo apt-get install python3-tk
$ sudo apt-get install gfortran
$ sudo apt-get install python-dev
$ sudo apt-get install python-devel
$ sudo apt-get install python3.X-dev # (where X == Python minor version)


lineage is available on the Python Package Index. Install lineage (and its required Python dependencies) via pip:

$ pip install lineage


Initialize the lineage Framework

Import Lineage and instantiate a Lineage object:

>>> from lineage import Lineage
>>> l = Lineage()

Download Example Data

Let's download some example data from openSNP:

>>> paths = l.download_example_datasets()
Downloading resources/662.23andme.304.txt.gz
Downloading resources/662.23andme.340.txt.gz
Downloading resources/662.ftdna-illumina.341.csv.gz
Downloading resources/663.23andme.305.txt.gz
Downloading resources/4583.ftdna-illumina.3482.csv.gz
Downloading resources/4584.ftdna-illumina.3483.csv.gz

We'll call these datasets User662, User663, User4583, and User4584.

Load Raw Data

Create an Individual in the context of the lineage framework to interact with the User662 dataset:

>>> user662 = l.create_individual('User662', 'resources/662.ftdna-illumina.341.csv.gz')
Loading resources/662.ftdna-illumina.341.csv.gz

Here we created user662 with the name User662 and loaded a raw data file.

Remap SNPs

Oops! The data we just loaded is Build 36, but we want Build 37 since the other files in the datasets are Build 37... Let's remap the SNPs:

>>> chromosomes_remapped, chromosomes_not_remapped = user662.remap_snps(37)
Downloading resources/NCBI36_GRCh37.tar.gz
>>> user662.assembly

SNPs can be re-mapped between Build 36 (NCBI36), Build 37 (GRCh37), and Build 38 (GRCh38).

Merge Raw Data Files

The dataset for User662 consists of three raw data files from two different DNA testing companies. Let's load the remaining two files.

As the data gets added, it's compared to the existing data, and SNP position and genotype discrepancies are identified. (The discrepancy thresholds can be tuned via parameters.)

>>> user662.snp_count
>>> user662.load_snps(['resources/662.23andme.304.txt.gz', 'resources/662.23andme.340.txt.gz'],
...                   discrepant_genotypes_threshold=300)
Loading resources/662.23andme.304.txt.gz
3 SNP positions were discrepant; keeping original positions
8 SNP genotypes were discrepant; marking those as null
Loading resources/662.23andme.340.txt.gz
27 SNP positions were discrepant; keeping original positions
156 SNP genotypes were discrepant; marking those as null
>>> len(user662.discrepant_positions)
>>> user662.snp_count

Save SNPs

Ok, so far we've remapped the SNPs to the same build and merged the SNPs from three files, identifying discrepancies along the way. Let's save the merged dataset consisting of over 1M+ SNPs to a CSV file:

>>> saved_snps = user662.save_snps()
Saving output/User662.csv

All output files are saved to the output directory.

Compare Individuals

Let's create another Individual for the User663 dataset:

>>> user663 = l.create_individual('User663', 'resources/663.23andme.305.txt.gz')
Loading resources/663.23andme.305.txt.gz

Now we can perform some analysis between the User662 and User663 datasets.

Find Discordant SNPs

First, let's find discordant SNPs (i.e., SNP data that is not consistent with Mendelian inheritance):

>>> discordant_snps = l.find_discordant_snps(user662, user663, save_output=True)
Saving output/discordant_snps_User662_User663.csv

This method also returns a pandas DataFrame, and it can be inspected interactively at the prompt, although the same output is available in the CSV file.

>>> len(discordant_snps.loc[discordant_snps['chrom'] != 'MT'])

Not counting mtDNA SNPs, there are 37 discordant SNPs between these two datasets.

Find Shared DNA

lineage uses the probabilistic recombination rates throughout the human genome from the International HapMap Project to compute the shared DNA (in centiMorgans) between two individuals. Additionally, lineage denotes when the shared DNA is shared on either one or both chromosomes in a pair. For example, when siblings share a segment of DNA on both chromosomes, they inherited the same DNA from their mother and father for that segment.

With that background, let's find the shared DNA between the User662 and User663 datasets, calculating the centiMorgans of shared DNA and plotting the results:

>>> one_chrom_shared_dna, two_chrom_shared_dna, one_chrom_shared_genes, two_chrom_shared_genes = l.find_shared_dna(user662, user663, cM_threshold=0.75, snp_threshold=1100)
Downloading resources/genetic_map_HapMapII_GRCh37.tar.gz
Downloading resources/cytoBand_hg19.txt.gz
Saving output/shared_dna_User662_User663.png
Saving output/shared_dna_one_chrom_User662_User663.csv

Notice that the centiMorgan and SNP thresholds for each DNA segment can be tuned. Additionally, notice that two files were downloaded to facilitate the analysis and plotting - future analyses will used the downloaded files instead of downloading the files again.

Here, the output consists of a CSV file that details the shared segments of DNA on one chromosome; the information is also available in the list (one_chrom_shared_dna) returned by find_shared_dna. Additionally, a plot is generated that illustrates the shared DNA:

Find Shared Genes

The Central Dogma of Molecular Biology states that genetic information flows from DNA to mRNA to proteins: DNA is transcribed into mRNA, and mRNA is translated into a protein. It's more complicated than this (it's biology after all), but generally, one mRNA produces one protein, and the mRNA / protein is considered a gene.

Therefore, it would be interesting to understand not just what DNA is shared between individuals, but what genes are shared between individuals with the same variations. (In other words, what genes are producing the same proteins?) Since lineage can determine the shared DNA between individuals, it can use that information to determine what genes are also shared on either one or both chromosomes.

For this example, let's create two more Individuals for the User4583 and User4584 datasets:

>>> user4583 = l.create_individual('User4583', 'resources/4583.ftdna-illumina.3482.csv.gz')
Loading resources/4583.ftdna-illumina.3482.csv.gz
>>> user4584 = l.create_individual('User4584', 'resources/4584.ftdna-illumina.3483.csv.gz')
Loading resources/4584.ftdna-illumina.3483.csv.gz

Now let's find the shared genes:

>>> one_chrom_shared_dna, two_chrom_shared_dna, one_chrom_shared_genes, two_chrom_shared_genes = l.find_shared_dna(user4583, user4584, shared_genes=True)
Saving output/shared_dna_User4583_User4584.png
Saving output/shared_dna_one_chrom_User4583_User4584.csv
Downloading resources/knownGene_hg19.txt.gz
Downloading resources/kgXref_hg19.txt.gz
Saving output/shared_genes_one_chrom_User4583_User4584.csv
Saving output/shared_dna_two_chroms_User4583_User4584.csv
Saving output/shared_genes_two_chroms_User4583_User4584.csv

The plot that illustrates the shared DNA is shown below. Note that in addition to outputting the shared DNA segments on either one or both chromosomes, the shared genes on either one or both chromosomes are also output. These output files are detailed in the documentation. The information saved to the output files is also available in the lists (one_chrom_shared_dna, two_chrom_shared_dna) and pandas DataFrames (one_chrom_shared_genes, two_chrom_shared_genes) returned by find_shared_dna.


Documentation is available here.


Thanks to Whit Athey, Ryan Dale, Mike Agostino, Padma Reddy, Binh Bui, Jeff Gill, Gopal Vashishtha, CS50, and openSNP.


Copyright (C) 2016 Andrew Riha

This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program. If not, see <>.