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Free uploads to change as of December 1

MyHeritage DNA has announced two changes in its system allowing free uploads of data from other testing companies: it’s accepting data from more tests and there’s a deadline for uploading data and also getting all of the benefits of the upload system for free.

MyHeritageDNA upload

First, MyHeritage said this week it can now accept uploads of data from tests at 23andMe and from LivingDNA that use the Illumina GSA v5 chip.1 That means uploads can now be accepted from:

• All 23andMe testers since August 2017, and

• All LivingDNA testers up until now.

That’s in addition to people who have tested with AncestryDNA and Family Tree DNA’s Family Finder test.

The issue before now has been compatibility between the MyHeritage system and the computer chip used by 23andMe and LivingDNA. That chip, from a company called Illumina and known as GSA (Global Screening Array), has produced a data set that didn’t play well with the MyHeritage system.

Now, however, “Recent improvements to (the MyHeritage) DNA algorithms now allow (it) to support DNA data processed on GSA chips”.2

Note, of course, that compatibility is always a moving target. Just this week, at the New York State Family History Conference in Tarrytown, LivingDNA announced that it was leaving the Illumina GSA chip behind in the near future and moving to a new microchip system. So compatibility after that change — expected to occur in about four weeks or so — will be an open question.

The second change is that — as of 1 December 2018 — some of the features of MyHeritage DNA won’t be free any more.

Right now, and until 1 December, everyone who uploads data from another testing company to MyHeritage gets all of the features of the system for free and “These uploads will be grandfathered in and will remain free.” After 1 December, you’ll still be able to upload and “DNA Matching will remain free for uploaded DNA data, but unlocking additional DNA features (for example, ethnicity estimate, chromosome browser, and some others) will require an extra payment”.3 Just how much that’ll be won’t be announced until later in the year.

So… why should you consider uploading to MyHeritage if you’ve already tested with another company? Two reasons:

• We always want to get as many matches as we can to help break down our brick walls, and MyHeritage has a bigger presence in some parts of the world than other companies. It’s also beginning over-the-counter retail sales in Europe and more testing in Europe would be a wonderful thing for those of us with recent immigrants from Europe.

• MyHeritage has some great features and tools to expand on and augment results from other companies, particularly AncestryDNA which lacks a chromosome browser or other tool to let you know how you and a match may relate to a third match.

The bottom line, always, in DNA testing is that we’re fishing for cousins, using our DNA as bait. Since we have no idea what company a key match may have tested with, we want to spread our DNA around in as many pools as possible.4

And, until 1 December 2018, adding our DNA bait to the MyHeritage testing pool is completely free. We don’t want to miss that deadline!


SOURCES

  1. See “New: MyHeritage supports 23andMe v5 and Living DNA uploads,” MyHeritage Blog, posted 12 Sep 2018 (https://blog.myheritage.com/ : accessed 16 Sep 2018).
  2. Ibid.
  3. Ibid., emphasis added.
  4. See Judy G. Russell, “Baiting the hook,” The Legal Genealogist, posted 16 Feb 2014 (https://www.legalgenealogist.com/blog : accessed 16 Sep 2018).
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