Thursday, 1 March 2018

New Family Networks feature from Living DNA

Yesterday at Rootstech, Living DNA provided a sneak preview of Family Networks, their long-anticipated relative-matching system. It is described as a "new DNA-driven matching system and family tree reconstruction method". You can find out more in the video below (also available on YouTube.)


Family Networks is now in private beta-testing and will be in open beta in the third quarter of this year when it will become available to all existing and new Living DNA users. I've been sent a few screenshots which I've reproduced below.

Here is a tree view.


This is the chromosome browser.


This is what the match list will look like.


Here is the official press release I received from Living DNA.
LIVING DNA PREVIEWS UNIQUE NEW “FAMILY NETWORKS” OFFERING AT ROOTSTECH 2018 
Innovative family tree and matching system will take the guesswork out of DNA relationships

Living DNA, the global consumer genetics company, has today publicly previewed its new ‘Family Networks’ platform for the first time – set to be the most precise DNA-driven matching service on the market.

Officially unveiled in Salt Lake City in Utah at RootsTech 2018, the world’s largest family-history technology conference, Living DNA’s Family Networks requires no prior user-generated family research, allowing users to build a detailed family tree based solely on their DNA, gender, and age.

Living DNA will analyse a user's unique motherline and fatherline DNA data (mtDNA and YDNA), on top of the family ancestry line (autosomal) to deliver matches – something no other company can do.

David Nicholson, managing director and co-founder at Living DNA, comments:

“With Family Networks, we will not only predict how users are related to direct matches, but we can also find and connect people to DNA matches going back up to 13 generations.

“The technology behind Family Networks automatically works out which genetic trees are possible to uncover relations. This new capability offers distinct benefits to a range of users, from avid genealogists and family history hobbyists through to adoptees and others searching for their family members. It will reduce the risk of human error and take away the tedious task of figuring out how each person in a user’s list are related to one another. We’re truly taking the guesswork out of DNA relationships.”

Living DNA’s Family Networks is scheduled to be made available to all existing and new Living DNA users by autumn 2018. The company states that the cutting-edge technology will give all customers – even those who upload from other DNA testing sites – a level of relationship prediction and accuracy that is beyond anything currently on the market.

David Nicholson adds:

“Living DNA’s precise and unique technology processes users’ DNA to identify relatives and define relationships deeper back in time. Through this rich experience, users will even be able to learn how they’re related to people with whom they share no DNA today.  
“As we don’t ask for Gedcom files or other user research to build a family tree, Family Networks can be especially useful for adoptees and family searchers who are trying to locate long-lost family members but who don’t have any information on their biological family. Just by using their gender and date of birth in conjunction with their DNA, we will be able to translate their matches into a potential family tree, giving them a clearer place to start from.”

Living DNA breaks down users’ DNA into 80 worldwide regions, including 21 in the UK, more than any other testing company. The company offers a 3-in-1 test as standard: from a simple mouth swab,

Living DNA not only covers a user’s family line ancestry, but—unlike most other tests—it also includes the user’s motherline and (if male) fatherline ancestry.

Living DNA’s test itself is run on a custom-built Living DNA Orion Chip. It is one of the first bespoke DNA chips in the world to be built using the latest GSA technology from market leader Illumina, and tests over 656,000 autosomal (family) markers, 4,700 mitochondrial (maternal) markers and 22,000 Y-chromosomal (paternal) markers.
There are a few additional details in a slightly different press release which appears on the Living DNA website. The relevant text is reproduced below.
Free DNA-Driven Family Tree Reconstruction and Matching System Method Offers Greater Accuracy Than Competing Products, Takes Guesswork Out of DNA Relationships. 
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Feb. 28, 2018 – Living DNA, the global consumer genetics company, today announced it will preview “Family Networks”—a new DNA-driven matching system and family tree reconstruction method—at RootsTech 2018, the world’s largest family-history technology conference taking place Feb. 28 – March 3 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Requiring no prior user-generated family research, Living DNA’s family reconstruction tree method is based solely on users’ DNA, gender, and age. Unlike competing organisations, Living DNA’s Family Networks will provide the most precise matching service on the market by analysing a user's unique motherline and fatherline DNA data (mtDNA and YDNA), on top of the family ancestry line (autosomal). 
With Family Networks, we not only predict how users are related to direct matches, but we can also infer through DNA up to 13 generations back to connect matches with whom they share no DNA with today,” said Living DNA co-founder and Managing Director David Nicholson. “The technology behind Family Networks runs through millions of ways in which users in the network are related and automatically works out which genetic trees are possible. This new capability offers distinct benefits to a range of users, from avid genealogists to family history hobbyists, to adoptees and others searching for their family members. It will reduce the risk of human error and support the task of figuring out how each person in a user’s list are related to one another. 
Family Networks will go into private beta in Q2 and open beta in Q3 2018 where it will be available to all existing and new Living DNA users. The unique computation this feature provides gives customers - even those who upload from other DNA testing sites - a level of relationship prediction and specificity beyond anything currently on the market. Where competing offerings rely solely on time-consuming and often error-prone user research, Living DNA’s amazing power tools process users’ DNA to identify relatives and define relationships deeper back in time. Through this extremely rich experience, users can even learn how they’re related to people with whom they share no DNA today. 
Users need to only provide their gender and birthdate for Living DNA to build a family tree that shows where their matches fit into their family tree, with no need of Gedcom files or any other user input. This can be especially useful for adoptees and family searchers who are trying to locate long-lost family members but who don’t have any information on their biological family, Living DNA can translate their matches into a potential family tree, giving them a clearer place to start from.
I strongly believe that genetic networks are the future of genetic genealogy so I'm excited to see that Living DNA have developed this new feature. It will be interesting to see how it works out in practice.

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