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New Search Features at AncestryDNA and a Sneak Peek at New Ethnicity Estimates

AncestryDNA_logo

Yesterday, AncestryDNA announced on the Ancestry.com Facebook page the launch of a long-awaited search function for surnames and locations of genetic matches.

The top bar of the AncestryDNA Member Matches section now looks like this:

AncestryDNA

Clicking in the “Search matches” box causes the box to expand and reveal the new search boxes:

AncestryDNA

 

Both seem to work well, and I suggest you use the search feature to mine your matches.  For example, I found a number of matches for several unique surnames and locations in my tree that I had missed in the flood of matches over the past six months.

New Ethnicity Estimates Coming Soon

At “The First DNA Day at the Southern California Genealogy Society Jamboree,” I discussed the changes to the ethnicity algorithms and reference populations that AncestryDNA was planning to implement by … Click to read more!

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Updates to 23andMe’s DNA Relatives Temporarily on Hold


Discover yourself at 23andMe
For the next week or so, 23andMe is pausing updates to the DNA Relatives feature.  This feature provides a list of genetic matches and estimates the range of relationship.

According to this week’s 23andMe update entitled “Release Notes: 7 June 2013,” (you must log in to view), “The computation time for DNA Relatives and Ancestry Composition has been growing.”

Going into greater detail at “DNA Relatives computations temporarily on hold,” 23andMe explains that due to the increased computational time, and in an effort to reduce the time it takes to generate DNA Relatives matches, updates are paused.  Accordingly, “[t]his means that you won’t be receiving new matches to your existing DNA Relatives list, and if you haven’t received your matches yet there may be some additional waiting time.”

It sounds as though … Click to read more!

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New Press Release from DNATraits Regarding the Supreme Court’s Holding in Myriad

DNATraits, a division of Houston-based genomics and genetics testing company Gene By Gene, Ltd., (parent company of Family Tree DNA) just announced a press release regarding today’s decision in Association for Molecular Pathology, et al. v. Myriad Genetics, Inc. patent case regarding the human BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes

From the press release:
 
Supreme Court Ruling Today Allows DNATraits to Offer Low Cost BRCA Breast and Ovarian Cancer Gene Testing in U.S.

In effort to increase access to potentially lifesaving BRCA1 and BRCA2 tests, DNATraits can now offer tests for $995, a fraction of the cost of similar tests prior to the court decision

HOUSTON — Jun. 13, 2013 – Thanks to today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision opening the door to greater access to genetic medicine by American patients and their health care providers, testing for genes specifically linked to breast, ovarian and other cancers will now be more widely available and at a lower cost than ever before.

DNATraits, a division of Houston-based genomics and genetics testing company Gene By Gene, Ltd., announced today that it will offer testing for the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes in the United States for $995.  Prior to today’s unanimous Supreme Court ruling, when … Click to read more!

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Family Tree DNA Announces Special Father’s Day Sale

On the heels of a special $49 Autosomal DNA Transfer sale, Family Tree DNA has announced a new FATHER’S DAY SALE! For a very limited time only, Y-DNA upgrades are available at a very reduced price.  From the announcement:

Since last summer’s upgrade sale was such huge success, we thought we’d repeat history! We are offering discounts to our Y-DNA upgrade products just in time for father’s day. So, please spread the word and we’ll make this year’s upgrade sale even bigger!

ALL ORDERS MUST BE PLACED AND PAID FOR BY 11:59pm, JUNE 19, 2013, TO RECEIVE THE SALE PRICE.

Reduced Prices

From June 12, 2013 through June 19, 2013,  the following sale prices are available:

Y-DNA 12 to 25  was $49                Now $35

Y-DNA 12 to 37  was $99                Now $69

Y-DNA 12 to 67  was $189              Now $148

Y-DNA 25 to 37  was $49                Now $35

Y-DNA 25 to 67  was $148              Now $114

Y-DNA 25 to 111 was … Click to read more!

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Andy Page Fills New President Position at 23andMe


Discover yourself at 23andMe
According to an article posted today at AllThingsD (“23andMe Names Former Gilt Exec Andy Page as President“), personal genetics company 23andMe has created a new position within the company, that of President, and has filled the position with Andy Page.  Page is a former President and CFO of Gilt, an online retail enterprise.  He left that position earlier this year (see “Gilt’s President And Former CFO Andy Page To Leave The Company“).

From the article by Kara Swisher:

The reason for the addition, said CEO and co-founder Anne Wojcicki, is to push for more customer growth — 23andMe is trying to reach one million members by the end of the year — and the scaling of its operations.

Page, who will report to Wojcicki, will be in charge of a wide swath of 23andMe, including product and engineering, marketing, finance, business development, laboratory operations and legal and regulatory issues. He will also be tasked with helping develop business strategy.

From the About Us page at 23andMe:

Andy Page, Board Member

Andy Page brings corporate leadership, financial acumen and deep operational expertise to 23andMe.  Andy currently serves as the President of Gilt Groupe, an online luxury shopping destination, where he oversees the Company’s various businesses including Women’s, Men’s, Kids & Baby, Home, Park & Bond, Gilt City and Gilt Taste. He joined Gilt in April 2010 as the Chief Financial Officer and transitioned to President in 2011.

Prior to joining Gilt, Andy was Chief Operating and Financial Officer at PlayPhone, Inc., where he was responsible for managing the company’s multinational operations. Before PlayPhone, Andy was Chief Financial Officer and SVP of Business Strategy of StubHub Inc. There he managed the company’s financial operations, business strategy, financial reporting, and administrative functions. He led the company’s sale to eBay in 2007. Andy has also held senior executive positions at Panasas Inc., ONI Systems Corp., and Robertson Stephens & Company.

Andy holds a BA from Princeton University and a MBA from Harvard Business School. He is an advisor to several private e-commerce companies. He also serves on the board of directors of My New Red Shoes, a nonprofit organization that provides back-to-school clothes for homeless and low-income children in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Welcome to Andy, and I wish him good luck in his new … Click to read more!

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Family Tree DNA Announces Family Finder Transfer Sale – $49

For a limited time, Family Tree DNA is offering Family Finder Transfers for $49, reduced from the normal cost of $99.

The Family Finder Transfer program gives those who have taken an autosomal DNA test with Ancestry.com or 23andMe the ability to import their autosomal DNA results to Family Tree DNA.

According to the website, purchasers of the Family Finder Transfer program receive:

  • myFTDNA 2.0 account (personal page), if a new customer;
  • Autosomal DNA results uploaded to and stored on Family Tree DNA’s servers;
  • Matching to all autosomal Family Finder results in our matching database;
  • Ethnic origins results from our Population Finder program; and
  • All standard tools and pages associated with the autosomal Family Finder test and the Population Finder program.

The uploaded files are batched once a week then run through the conversion program, and results typically take between 6-10 weeks based on volume.  Customers are notified by e-mail when their results are available.

Why Transfer Your Results to FTDNA?

If you’ve already tested at Ancestry.com or 23andMe, you might wonder if there are any benefits to … Click to read more!

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The First DNA Day at the Southern California Genealogy Society Jamboree

So here I am, sitting at the airport waiting for my first flight on the long journey back to NY from the first ever Family History and DNA Day at the Southern California Genealogy Society Jamboree.

The event was an incredible success, with stellar speakers, inspiring and entertaining talks from Spencer Wells and Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and excellent organization and execution.

Below is just a brief summary of the highlights I believe are worth mentioning, but be sure to check out other posts that have or will come out soon, including this one from The Legal Genealogist, and this one from Dick Eastman.

(A side note: as I was sitting in the airport waiting for my flight from Newark to San Francisco, I looked up and saw a familiar face – Judy Russell from The Legal Genealogist! We shared the next two flights, although Judy was furiously dealing with an unfortunate hack attack on her website, which has … Click to read more!

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AncestryDNA Releases Raw Data

Earlier this week, Ancestry.com began releasing raw data to purchasers of the AncestryDNA autosomal DNA product.  Several others have written great articles on AncestryDNA’s new raw data, so I’ll point you to their articles instead of rehashing everything here:

Within the next few weeks and months, you’ll be able to use the AncestryDNA raw data at places like Family Tree DNA and Gedmatch.com.

But note an issue that I first brought up on a mailing list last Thursday when the announcement came out.  The following language is found on the page after you click on the final download link:

The raw data is subject to the AncestryDNA Terms and Conditions and AncestryDNA Privacy Statement. You must not use the raw data in whole, in part and/or in combination with any other database for any discriminatory, breach of privacy or otherwise illegal activity (for example, to re-identify any anonymous donor or to make insurance or employment decisions).

Under “Rules of Conduct” in Section 5 of the Terms and Conditions, Ancestry.com states:

In addition, the following policies are part of this Agreement and must be followed anytime you access the AncestryDNA Website:

D. You must not use the information from the AncestryDNA website or DNA tests (including any downloaded raw DNA data) in whole, in part and/or in combination with any other database for any discriminatory, breach of privacy or otherwise illegal activity (for example, to re-identify any anonymous donor or to make insurance or employment decisions).

These Rules of Conduct are not exclusive. If we believe, in our sole discretion, that you are in breach of this Agreement, are acting inconsistently with the letter or spirit of this Agreement or otherwise interfering with the efficient management or delivery of the AncestryDNA Website, Service or Content, we may limit, suspend or terminate your access to our AncestryDNA Website. In such a case, no portion of your subscription payment will be refunded. Should we decide to suspend or terminate your access for any reason other than your actions or omissions which we believe to be inconsistent with this Agreement we will refund to you any unused portion of your payment, which will be your sole and exclusive remedy upon such a suspension.

Presumably “any anonymous donor” means someone who sent their DNA into … Click to read more!

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The Genographic Project Announces Geno 2.0

Today, The Genographic Project officially announced the launch of their new Geno 2.0 project, a significant update to the type and quantity of genetic information that will be collected and analyzed by The Genographic Project.  The new project will use an entirely new SNP chip (the GenoChip) designed specifically for Geno 2.0 in order to provide the world’s most detailed information about Y-DNA and mtDNA haplogroups (using SNP information) as well as detailed biogeographical estimates and ancient population (Denisovan and Neanderthal) estimates.

As of today you can pre-order a Geno 2.0 kit, which is expected to ship no later than October 30th (although you can probably expect it earlier than that).

Once again Family Tree DNA will perform all the testing, and The Genographic Project has worked very closely with FTDNA to design, troubleshoot, and use the … Click to read more!

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Problems with AncestryDNA’s Genetic Ethnicity Prediction?


I’ve received a number of emails and comments (see, e.g., here) complaining about Ancestry.com’s new test, AncestryDNA.  Specifically, several test-takers believe that the Genetic Ethnicity Prediction provided by Ancestry.com does not reflect the numbers that they expected based on their own research.
For example:

“I just got my DNA test results back from Ancestry.com and I am concerned. I was born in England and I have gone back many generations and have found that all my ancestors as far back as the 1600′s in most cases are English.  According to the results I have no British Isles DNA. It states that I have 60% Central Europe, 30% Scandinavian and 7% Southern Europe. I also have 3% unknown. How can this be?”

“Just received my results: 21% Southern European and 79% Central European which doesn’t follow years of work on my family history.”

Do these comments reflect errors in AncestryDNA’s Genetic Ethnicity Prediction, or are there other factors at play?

Caveats

Although I am not privy to the ‘behind-the-scenes’ at Ancestry.com, I don’t believe that there are serious issues with AncestryDNA’s Genetic Ethnicity Prediction.  Ancestry.com’s DNA arm has a solid scientific team and a large and valuable reference database.

Indeed, Ancestry.com is well aware of the limitations and challenges that their Genetic Ethnicity … Click to read more!