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… the focus isn’t genealogy …

The winds of change are clearly blowing hard at Family Tree DNA after its acquisition earlier this year.

The company announced, on January 7, that it had merged with an Australian company, myDNA, and would be led in the future by Dr. Lior Rauchberger, the chief executive officer of the Australian firm.1 That announcement made it clear that the newly merged company would “expand its product offerings … with innovative life-changing advancements.”2

As with any major corporate acquisition, that means those winds of change are going to be swirling around a lot of things.

But a survey sent out to customers over the last week or so says the focus of what’s swirling right now has nothing to do with genealogy — and everything to do with the main emphasis of the Australian firm: providing “genetic interpretations to inform an individual’s health, medical and lifestyle decisions.”3

All of the survey questions have to do with expanding the company’s offerings to health and wellness:

• “Please indicate your interest level in a genetic test that could help your doctor provide the right prescription medications and dosage for your body in relation to pain medications, antidepressants and antipsychotics, and acid reflux.”

• “Please indicate your interest level in genetic tests for carrier screening or reproductive genetics to understand your risk of passing on inherited genetic conditions to offspring.”

• “Please indicate your interest level in receiving personalized meal plans designed based on your genetic results to help you meet your health and fitness goals.”

• “Please indicate your interest level in receiving personalized workout plans designed based on your genetic results to help you meet your health and fitness goals.”

• “Please rank your interest level” (Extremely interested, Very interested, Somewhat interested, Not so interested, Not at all interested) “in learning how your genetics might impact you in the following areas: Skin aging (your ideal skin care routine); Vitamin/Supplement recommendations (what specific vitamins/supplements your body may need); Fitness traits (train safely and effectively with your DNA insights that reveal your limits and potential); Dietary intolerances (your response to caffeine, lactose intolerance etc.); Biological age (how the biological aging process has impacted your body); Nutrition traits (how your body breaks down and store fats, your appetite, weight regain and more); Hereditary disease and health risks (for example cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s); Stress and sleep.”4

Now… this doesn’t mean the company is abandoning its genealogy customers. The introduction to the survey says: “FamilyTreeDNA’s focus will always be genealogy, and we will continue our efforts to bring you new and innovative features that support you in your journey of discovery. As a result of our recent merger with myDNA, we are also looking forward to expanding our product offerings to include myDNA’s health and wellness services and would like to gauge your interest.”5

But it’s clear that the first priority — at least right now — isn’t going to be additional support of the genealogical community.

It’s going to be on seeing whether customers who helped build Family Tree DNA as a genealogical testing firm will buy into testing for health and wellness.

So the survey says…

Cite/link to this post: Judy G. Russell, “Survey says…,” The Legal Genealogist ( : posted 11 Apr 2021).


  1. See Judy G. Russell, “DNA winds of change,” The Legal Genealogist, posted 10 Jan 2021 ( : accessed 11 Apr 2021).
  2. Email, 8 Jan 2021, FTDNA to Project Administrators.
  3. About myDNA,” ( : accessed 11 Apr 2021).
  4. Email, to customers, “FamilyTreeDNA Survey,” 8 Apr 2021.
  5. Ibid.
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