Great News!We are pleased to announce that Ancestry.com DNA has acquired GeneTree and the DNA related assets from the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation. We are excited to work with Ancestery.com DNA and continue to advance the field of genetic genealogy. More information to come.
AncestryDNA is being offered only to Ancestry.com's 1.87 million current subscribers for $99. The best news of the day is contained in the press release which quotes a Harris Interactive study (of over 5,000 people) that found 56% of Americans surveyed were interested in taking a DNA test for genealogy!
Ancestry.com's official statement stops short of announcing the acquisition of GeneTree, stating, "In March, Ancestry.com DNA, LLC acquired access to an extensive collection of DNA assets from Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation, a non-profit organization." In doing so, they also acquired the former Director of Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation (SMGF) and President of GeneTree, Scott Woodward, who is AncestryDNA's new Executive Director of "Genome Discovery". This statement begs the question, How do you "acquire access" to a non-profit organization's most important assets, including their Director without essentially buying it, and if they bought it, why don't they just say so? As a consumer, I don't know all the legalities involved, but GeneTree, the for-profit arm of SMGF, clearly states on their website that they were acquired. Doesn't that mean that they, as a company, were bought? Could it be that Ancestry.com is wary of announcing another acquisition of a competitor so soon after that of Archives.com (announced on 4/25/12)?
[Update - I have been informed that it is a legal distinction and one cannot "buy" a foundation, but my question is still this: We are pleased to announce that Ancestry.com DNA has acquired GeneTree and the DNA related assets from the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation. (bolding mine) Aren't the "DNA related assets" pretty much everything when according to their website, "The Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to building the world's foremost collection of DNA and corresponding genealogical information"? What is the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation going to do now?]
Subscribers can get more info on the test here. (I don't see a link to purchase it yet.) Note that the test appears to still be in Beta.
Here is the announcement:
Mark J. Daly, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Medicine Harvard Medical SchoolCenter for Human Genetics
John Novembre, Ph.D., Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Los Angeles
Jeffrey R. Botkin, M.D., M.P.H., Professor of Pediatrics and Medical Ethics, Associate Vice President for Research, University of Utah
Philip Awadalla, Ph.D., Director of the CARTaGENE BioBank, Saint Justine Hospital, Montreal, Canada
Jim Sorensen (shouldn't it be "Sorenson"? maybe the vowel change is like one of those father to son Y-chromosome mutational events that we see every so often) says above that his father "envisioned creating a genetic map of the peoples of the world that shows relationships shared by the entire human family". I think that is what all of us serious genetic genealogists are hoping for the future of our avocation, but how will Ancestry.com help us to reach this goal when they don't even provide the underlying genetic data to their customers? If we do not know which segments of our DNA match our cousins, how will we know which segments to map to our shared ancestors or even which segments are identified as originating from specific areas of the world, the exact information which is necessary to create this "genetic map"?
**I have written in detail about this new test here.**