Friday 27 October 2017

23andMe now offers an ancestry-only DNA test in Europe and Canada

23andMe offer a very interesting test which includes both health and ancestry reports. However, because of the high cost of the test, it has never been practical to use it in the UK for genealogy purposes. Our American friends have had the option to buy an ancestry-only test for $99 for a while now but that facility has not been available in other countries. That situation has all changed some time in the last few days though we don't know exactly when this change was rolled out. In the countries where 23andMe offer health reports it is now possible to order an ancestry-only test at a lower and affordable price. Here are the new prices.

Country Ancestry Ancestry and health Return shipping
UK £79 £149 £9.99
Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Sweden and the Netherlands   €99  €169  €9.99
Canada C$129 C$249 C$19.95
US $99 $199 $9.95

For the remaining countries where the 23andMe test is sold, an international ancestry-only test is available for US $99 plus shipping. The cost of the international test has also been reduced in recent months. Previously this test cost $149 outside the US. Shipping costs vary from country to country, but these costs have also been greatly reduced. You can find full details of international availability and shipping costs by country on the 23andMe page in the ISOGG Wiki.

These reduced prices are really good news for genetic genealogists. At £79 the 23andMe test represents very good value for money. In addition to receiving cousin matches and a biogeographical ancestry analysis, the test will also give you haplogroup assignments (Y-DNA and mtDNA for males; mtDNA only for females). The Y-DNA and mtDNA reports can't be used for matching purposes but they are very useful if you just want a general overview of your ancestry. 23andMe are also the only genetic genealogy company that provides reports on your Neanderthal ancestry.

Here is a screenshot of my 23andMe ancestry reports.
This is an extract from my Neanderthal ancestry report. There is a lot more detail in these reports which there is not space to include here.

The Neanderthal report also includes this chromosome map showing the location of the Neanderthal variants in your genome.
It was reported recently that 23andMe are going to embark on an advertising blitz to "dramatically expand" their customer base to 10 million people. Let's hope that the launch of the ancestry-only test will encourage many new people to test with 23andMe, and help to expand the customer database outside the US.

Thanks to Michelle Leonard for alerting me to the introduction of 23andMe's new ancestry-only tests. You can read Michelle's blog post on the subject here.

Thursday 26 October 2017

Living DNA updates - free transfers and the launch of the One Family One World project

Living DNA have just launched their new One Family One World project and are now accepting transfers from people who have tested with other companies. Here is the text of the e-mail I received from Living DNA:
Here at Living DNA, we have been working on an exciting new project that we have officially launched today. The One Family One World project. As you've been a great support to Living DNA I wanted to let you know first. 
Our One Family One World project is the first of its kind to attempt to analyse people’s DNA results from around the world allowing them to see where they fit into a One World Family Tree, demonstrating how everyone is related if you go back far enough in time and produce an in-country regional breakdown of DNA from around the world. 
The project involves the use of proprietary technology, artificial intelligence and machine learning, and will see tens of thousands of computers working together to identify distinctive and shared patterns in people’s DNA. 
Eventually we will be running in-country regional projects across the world, today people can join no matter where they are from and we already have a number of specific projects that can be seen here -
You can find out a lot more information on the project, and how to get involved by visiting the website at If you know anyone that’s already taken a DNA test they can upload their DNA for Free and will benefit from a new type of DNA Matching in mid 2018. 
Your support and opinion matters to us, so we would love to hear your feedback on the project. Also, let us know if you would like to get involved in any way - we always value any way in which people would like to work with us. 
We’ve put together an introduction blog post that you can read
We hope you’re as excited as we are on this new 5-year project, and I look forward to hearing from you all soon. 
Warm regards, 
David Nicholson & Hannah Mordern 
ps. Apologies for the group email and do feel free to circulate this to other people 
pps. DNA Matching is in final stages of testing for Living DNA clients, we are still aiming to get this live by the end of the year
ppps. The press release is also online
pppps. People taking part and uploading their DNA for free don't get the regional UK breakdown just DNA matching when live and all the other things that will come out of the project. Therefore its not a substitute for a Living DNA test.
You can watch a video about the One Family project here.
If you are reading this by e-mail you can click here instead.

Living DNA already have projects for Ireland and Germany where they are collecting samples from people with four grandparents from the same region so it's good to see that this concept has been extended to other countries. With better sampling and larger reference datasets we can expect to see continuing improvements to the biogeographical ancestry reports with the promise of meaningful breakdowns at the regional and subregional levels.

Living DNA were the sponsors of the evening meal for the ISOGG Big Day Out in Dublin at Genetic Genealogy Ireland. I had the chance to talk to Martin Blythe of Living DNA about their forthcoming matching service. They will be delivering phased matching but they are also adopting an exciting and innovative new approach. It will be very interesting to see how their matching works out and how it compares with the services provided by the other testing companies.

If you don't want to do the transfer and prefer to get tested on Living DNA's new Orion chip (a customised version of Illumina's Global Screening Array chip) then the test is currently on sale at the reduced price of £99 ($99 in the US, €129,00 in the Eurozone). Check out the Living DNA website for prices in other countries. If you have four grandparents born within 50 miles of one another you will be eligible for a special discount on a new test.

Update 31 October 2017
Living DNA have published the following notice in the Living DNA Users' Group on Facebook in response to questions received about the One Family One World Project:
Hi Everyone, 
The One Family One World, five year scientific research project has started with great success with thousands of people delighted to be supporting the project and its purpose. 
As with all scientific projects results will take time as it requires the combined analysis of hundreds of thousands of DNA samples. 
We’ve received some questions that we want to clarify. 
How long will the project take? 
This is a five year research project and results will be announced in phases, the exact timing of the results will depend on how many people from different parts of the world take part. A critical mass for each area is required and for the overall One Family Tree. 
A number of people who requested to join the project and uploaded their data received an incorrect estimated completion date. These have now been updated to reflect when global DNA matching will be available, which is by summer 2018. This is not the date the project will be complete. 
What do I get from taking part? 
The purpose of the project is to help scientific research, and ultimately build a global family tree. To say thank you for your support, each person will be able to choose to see how they match and connect to other people both within the project and with Living DNA clients. What we can’t offer for free is your ethnic breakdown simply due to the significant data analysis costs. 
But if you buy a Living DNA kit, then you can take part in the project, receive matching when it is live and see your mtDNA/YDNA and ethnicity breakdowns. 
How do I get my ethnicity breakdown? 
Living DNA are working on delivering this, so that people who’ve already taken a DNA test can upload their results for a small fee, and receive their ethnic mix. We will announce this through our social channels as soon as we have an update.
What if I change my mind? 
With all projects run by Living DNA if you change your mind before your data is used you can contact us and we will remove your information from the system. Data used in the projects is anonymised. Please note that this means you will not have the option to find DNA Matches, help scientific research and be part of helping to build One Family genetic tree. 
We appreciate that a small number of people suggested that the information above could be made even more clear on the project website, so we are working to get these changes made by the end of the week. 
Thank you for all your support in what is an incredible project that everyone can be part of, 
Warmest Regards 
David Nicholson & Hannah Morden
Co-Founders - Living DNA
Disclosure. I shared my raw data files from AncestryDNA, 23andMe and FTDNA with Living DNA to help them test their system prior to the launch of their test in September 2016. In return I received a free Living DNA test. All views expressed here are my own.