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Rumbles from RootsTech

Lots of DNA developments are coming down the pike and RootsTech 2017 attendees got an eyeful and earful about — and sometimes a sneak peek at — what’s to come.

2017dnaLet’s take it company by company and hit the highlights.


Not much new in the way of announcements or developments from 23andMe but a sale price good through February 14th that’s enough to perhaps entice a few genealogists to think about testing here. The ancestry-only option is down from its usual $99 to just $79 plus shipping for the U.S. market.

That price should be available to anyone on the 23andMe website.


After blowing the bottom off the price point for tests with an in-person-attendee-only sale price of $49 for its autosomal test, AncestryDNA followed with the announcement by CEO Tim Sullivan that a new “DNA communities” feature will be rolled out to all users shortly.

The new feature is an additional layer of granularity on the ethnicity estimates, grouping test-takers into regional and localized communities based their DNA results. So, for example, instead of just Irish, a user might be told her DNA was consistent with a community of users from west Ireland, down to a county or even smaller level.

The new communities are the result of research done by the science team that was published recently in the peer-reviewed journal, Nature.

Family Tree DNA

Matching AncestryDNA with a show price of $49 for one day of RootsTech, Family Tree DNA also extended its regular show-sale prices to all users through February 18th. The autosomal Family Finder test is available for just $69 plus shipping and other test bundles are also available.

The coupon code for the autosomal test is (correction) PUTS10, for the YDNA tests LF3CG, and for the mtDNA test, use coupon code TBN2Y.

Living DNA

The newest entrant to the international DNA testing market is British-owned Living DNA. This company hopes to provide the most detailed ethnicity estimates on the market and has so far shown great promise with drilling down to local levels in its analysis of U.K. ethnicities.

Whether the company will succeed in extending its research to the European continent and to the highly-admixed U.S. with its melting-pot ethnic market is an open question, but the company shows promise and appears worth watching.

The $159 regular test price in the U.S. will include autosomal results plus YDNA and mtDNA results for males and mtDNA results for females.

And, yes, in the spirit of “I never met a DNA test I wouldn’t take,” The Legal Genealogist did swab… we’ll see how these folks do with my 50% admixed colonial American and 50% German ethnicity.

MyHeritage DNA

MyHeritage is also a new entrant to the DNA testing field, offering an autosomal DNA test only. The company began by allowing free uploads of raw data from other test companies with free matching as an incentive to build its database.

MyHeritage expects to offer detailed ethnicity estimates soon based on its unique Founder Population data collection and analysis, and announced at RootsTech that it had hired Columbia University’s Dr. Yaniv Ehrlich (of DNA Land) as its chief DNA science officer. Early beta results are available now, but will be greatly refined as analysis continues.

The upshot

What we’re seeing today in the DNA field is a veritable explosion in both the number of test takers and the number of test companies working to make DNA results more useful and more meaningful — or at least more entertaining.

The growth has been so dramatic, so exponential, that it’s often hard to remember that it hasn’t even been a decade since the very first autosomal tests became available and only a few years more than that when YDNA and mtDNA testing for genealogy began.

It’s an exciting time to be a genetic genealogist…

Sent from my iPad

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