There have been a few developments of note in the last few days in the world of genetic genealogy. I feel these are worth mention and demonstrate beneficial progress for all of us interested in the advancement of genetic genealogy. "SNiP of the Week - News from the World of Genetic Genealogy" is a new weekly feature of this blog.
1. MyHeritage has announced a partnership with Family Tree DNA:
MyHeritage is now offering FTDNA kits to their 62 million international customer base. MyHeritage users will receive discounts and will be encouraged to utilize DNA testing to find related individuals and grow their family trees. The testers from MyHeritage will be added to the FTDNA database and matched with already existing FTDNA customers. MyHeritage will even alert their customers if a surname project exists at FTDNA for their last name and encourage them to join (great news!). The announcement on the MyHeritage blog explains the new offerings thoroughly. In answer to a question about transferring in already existing FTDNA results to MyHeritage, "Ania" had this response: "...if you use the Family Tree Builder, you may enter the results right on there. Currently it is not possible to enter them in the site but we are working on to (sic) make this possible. We will keep you updated." The company is not currently offering the option to import DNA results from other testing companies, but says they are planning to in the future. For more information the FAQs can be accessed here.
This is definitely a step in the right direction since it is my strong belief that combining autosomal DNA test results with family trees is a necessity to further our collective research.
2. 23andMe has announced the removal of the five per day limit on sending out Relative Finder invitations:
This is the first change resulting from the new advisory panel of which I am a contributor. Although it is an incremental change and it is my understanding that it is intended only as a temporary fix while 23andMe considers solutions to the larger issues that have been brought to their attention, it does demonstrate that they are listening to their genetic genealogy customers and making an effort to improve our experience there.
3. FTDNA has announced a delay in the new Family Finder results from the recent 23andMe uploads:
"We apologize for the delay in posting your results. These last two weeks have produced some of our biggest batches of Family Finder orders ever. After the second of those batches is uploaded, we will be processing your transferred results, and expect to post them to the website next week."
Although this minor delay is unfortunate, the fact that we are seeing more autosomal DNA testing participants is great news for the genetic genealogy world.
4. Another update (and reversal) on Ancestry.com's rumored genotyping chip:
I have very good reason to believe that Ancestry.com is indeed using an Illumina OmniExpress Plus Genotyping Beadchip for their new autosomal test as I initially speculated and contrary to the information that I previously reported from an Illumina employee. If true, this is good news because it will ensure compatibility with other testing platforms. A direct quote from the Illumina CEO Jay Flatley on the February 7th earnings call regarding array orders seems to verify this, "Two large consumer orders were placed in Q4 as well, including one from ancestry.com for approximately $7 million."
I also hear rumors that Ancestry.com may be utilizing the services of Illumina's competitor Life Technologies as well.
[Disclosure - my company StudioINTV has an existing production agreement with FTDNA that has no bearing on the opinions I express. I also receive a small commission from FTDNA on non-sale orders through my affiliate link, which I use to fund DNA tests. I am currently serving in a volunteer advisory position for 23andMe, for which I may receive a small number of 23andMe kits for my DNA research. Any opinions that I express here on my blog are my own and do not reflect those of management at either company. I receive no other compensation in relation to any of the companies or products referenced in my blog.]