Thursday, October 6, 2011 Venturing into Autosomal DNA Testing?

Last night I was able to register for a "free upgrade" to what appears to be a new autosomal DNA service offered by This offer is available only to current subscribers who have had a DNA test through Ancestry DNA in the past. It is being offered to the first 2000 who register. You must be logged into your account and use this link.Details are scarce. It was reported on one of the DNA mailing lists that 700,000 SNPs will be tested, similar to the autosomal tests currently being offered by 23andMe and FTDNA. I have been unable to confirm this information. This was the only information provided when I signed up:

Another customer reports this information at the same link when they signed up:

What You'll Get
Your Genetic Ethnicity
By testing over 700,000 of your DNA markers, you'll see the mix of ethnicities you have in your genes and how they relate to your family tree.
More comprehensive DNA matching
Find more and closer relatives, overcome brick walls, confirm relationships and find common ancestors.
Enhanced, simple web site tools
Use your AncestryDNA results and the power of to make new discoveries and solve family mysteries.
Early access - Preview the new service and give feedback that will ultimately enhance this experience for everyone.
What are the requirements to receive the free offer?
To redeem this offer, you must be a current subscriber, must have submitted DNA to and must be one of the first 2,000 users to fill out the registration form before Midnight ET on October 18, 2011
First results are expected in early 2012.

In response to an inquiry in this regard, customer service responded only, "Details...are still being worked out."

In the last few weeks there have been some whispers about the possibility of offering autosomal DNA testing due to some recent job postings. For example, on September 13th, the following was posted on Google+: "™s new DNA group in San Francisco is in need of a PhD with a track record of productive research in statistical and human population genetics and genotyping to lead a group of computational biologists."

In part, this job listing reads: 
The right person will be using a huge dataset of information from all over the world, developing methods and experimental design to improve results in genotyping data to inform pedigrees. This is not (yet) for medical research and, as such, is not regulated by the FDA. There is every opportunity to become one of the thought leaders in this field... is the world's largest online resource for family history...Job Description: is seeking a talented population geneticist to join the team. We are mounting a major effort to use genomics to shed light on human diversity, origins and relatedness. The successful candidate will join our efforts to develop and apply analysis pipelines to exploit genotyping data in order to provide information about countries of origin, relatedness and apply genetic information to the construction of human pedigrees. In this position, you will develop, implement and improve methods to use SNP data to provide information on relatedness and genetic origins of humans. You will work closely with other biologists in analyzing data as well as with members of the product development team. This position offers an exciting opportunity to apply cutting edge computational approaches to an unprecedented, large-scale set of pedigreed human genome data. Characteristic duties will include: • Develop, benchmark and implement data analysis pipelines for SNP genotyping data • Evaluate significance of results and recommend changes in experimental design to improve results • Develop, benchmark and implement methods to use genotyping data to inform pedigrees. • Identify new experimental and/or analytic approaches that will improve the outcome of the study • Manage collaborations with laboratory and informatics staff • Successfully communicate scientific concepts to a diverse community of scientists and laypeople Key Responsibilities / Performance Requirements: • Doctorate degree in statistical genetics, population genetics, statistics or a related field. • Candidates should have a track record of productive research in statistical and population genetics • Experience in human population genetics and genotyping • Ability to manipulate large data sets • Programming skills in UNIX/LINUX operating systems, and fluency in standard genetic analytic software (such as R/Bioconductor, EIGENSOFT, MACH, PLINK, ADMIXMAP) • Experience in molecular biology and high-throughput environments would be a significant advantage. • Excellent organizational skills • Superior oral and written English communication skills required. • Must be able to manage multiple simultaneous long-term projects while meeting frequent project deadlines in a fast-paced environment. • Must be able to translate high-level biological questions into concrete tasks.

Sounds exciting! (Note the part about not yet for medical research!) The idea of DNA testing in conjunction with readily searchable/matchable family trees is extremely promising if implemented correctly. In the past,'s DNA testing division has not had the broad customer support network to make it a viable competitor for companies like FTDNA. It remains to be seen if that will change in regard to this new venture. I, for one, will keep an open mind.

I will post updates as I get them on this very interesting development in the world of genetic genealogy.

*Update - One customer reported that the offer was no longer available when she clicked through the link, so they may have already reached the 2000 limit.

Related Posts:
More Details on's New Autosomal DNA Test Offering
Update on the New Autosomal DNA Test from DNA testing - Get the first look here.


  1. There were a few more details in the consent form.

  2. Hi I am in the Ancestry Autosomal Signup group. Do you know what chip they plan to use? 700,000 SNP sounds like that is bigger than the Illumina v3 chip that is in use by FTDNA and 23 and me. Sorenson has something but I have not seen any specifications on what they have.

  3. Hi Albert,
    I do not know, however I suspect it is the same Illumina chip that FTDNA and 23andMe are using. The Omni base chip (without the 300k custom SNPs by 23andMe) covers 700,000 SNPs, therefore, Ancestry's offering will offer equal SNP coverage as FTDNA and less than 23andMe. Here is more info on that chip-
    Thanks for commenting.

  4. CeCe - just wondering if you've heard anything - shouts or whispers - about the project since people submitted their samples in October & November... a quick Google search didn't turn up anything more recent...

  5. Hi Dwight,
    Not much. I received a kit right after Christmas because the sample that they had for me failed. I immediately returned it and tried to register it as instructed, but it wouldn't allow me to complete all of the steps. I wrote to customer service and received a uninformed, unhelpful reply. I find this concerning that they are not prepared to answer even the simplest of questions. I will write if I hear anything further.

  6. I had the same issue - I didn't redo the test - thinking that the first one must have taken.

  7. Jim,
    Did you write to them to be sure? Write to my email address if you need a contact address.

  8. I, too, am eagerly awaiting the results of the testing. At one time (1st week of January) I had a button that suddenly popped up saying: download your DNA results - but there was nothing within the downloads I did. When I called in to inquire about what happened (since the button went away a few days later) the C/S rep told me that my account did not show as completed, and that I would receive an email once my results were ready to view.

    Seeing as how Ancestry DNA utilizes the state of the art laboratory, Sorenson Genomics, for its DNA testing services, I am very excited to see the scope of all the results!

    1. TC, Thanks for sharing that interesting info. Where did the button appear?

  9. Sorry! the button was within the Ancestry 'bar' where all the selective actions within the website were. Now my DNA button has gone live and is in BETA, as I am sure most are, or will be shortly.