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The Genetic Genealogy Market, Part II

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Yesterday, I looked at the size of the Genetic Genealogy market, and concluded that as of November 2007, there had been as many (or perhaps ‘at least’) 600,000 to 700,000 genetic genealogy tests performed, with 80,000 to 100,000 new tests per year. As the footnoteMaven mentioned, it might be interesting to see if we could turn those numbers into dollar amounts.

The following is a very rough attempt to translate the numbers into market value, with the following caveats: (1) I am not an economist, and I haven’t taken an economics class since high school; (2) the numbers do not take into account testing upgrades, which are offered by a number of companies; (3) the numbers do not take into account sequencing of the entire mitochondrial genome, specialized allele tests, or combination tests (e.g. Y-DNA and mtDNA) and; (4) the average cost of testing only reflects the companies included in yesterday’s accounting, and do not include the free SMGF test.

Three averages:

1. Autosomal DNA testing = $333.00 (Range is $184 – $650)

2. Y-DNA testing = $237 (Range is $107.50 – $375)

3. mtDNA testing = $211 (Range is $107.50 – $375)

So, if there have been 600,000 tests, let’s assume that 1/3rd were autosomal, 1/3rd were Y-DNA, and 1/3rd were mtDNA. That works out to $66.6 million for autosomal tests, $47.4 million for Y-DNA tests, and $42.4 million for mtDNA tests. That is a total of $156.2 million, which represents the total value of the market from its beginnings through November 2007.

But how much will the market be worth in 2008? Let’s assume that there will be 100,000 new tests in 2008, and that they will be equally divided among autosomal, Y-DNA, and mtDNA tests. That works out to $11.1 million for autosomal, $7.9 million for Y-DNA, and $7.0 million for mtDNA – a total of $26 million per year.

What do you think? Could the genetic genealogy market really be worth $26 million a year? Do my calculations undervalue the market? And if there are any actual economists out there who might want to comment on my analysis, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

P.S. – Yesterday I received an email from someone who pointed out that many people buy tests from multiple companies, and the 600,000 to 700,000 doesn’t reflect that.  I agree, but given the number of companies that I don’t have numbers for, the numbers are likely to cancel each other out.  Additionally, today’s figures would of course not be affected by buying tests from more than one company.

Feel free to leave a comment below.

Blaine Bettinger

Intellectual property attorney, genealogist, and author of The Genetic Genealogist since 2007

10 Comments

  1. 2 things from a new reader –

    -What companies produce the tests or provide equipment/reagents (could be a good investing opp.)

    -Is there any site you know that compares the different companies in terms of features or quality? I would like to get tested but there are so many that do it now so I am not sure who to choose. Thanks.

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