Family Tree DNA's 9th Annual International Conference on Genetic Genealogy was held this past weekend in Houston. It was clear to those in attendance that, with the recent acquisition of Arpeggi, things are changing over at Gene by Gene. There has been an infusion of "new blood" into the company and with it has come new enthusiasm, resources and promise. The team was very open to hearing the community's needs and priorities, with the new staff listening in on our "roundtable" discussions where attendees were encouraged to share their ideas. As a result, they have promised the genetic genealogy community some of our most requested features in the near future.
These are exciting times for our Y-DNA citizen scientists! Following right on the heels of the delivery of the first results from Full Genomes, Family Tree DNA announced their new Big Y next gen sequencing product at the conference. Justin Petrone covered this development in his article in BioArray News yesterday as have a number of genetic genealogy bloggers.
In all of this excitement there has been a lot of discussion regarding what these competing products will and will not deliver. For the answers to many of these questions, we will have to wait until the first Big Y results start to be returned in approximately 10-12 weeks. However, one of the most pervasive concerns can be addressed now.
Throughout the genetic genealogy community for the last couple of days, there has been speculation that Family Tree DNA's Big Y product will not include raw data downloads. I found this very difficult to believe with FTDNA's track record of transparency, so I asked Gene by Gene's new Chief Scientific Officer Dr. David Mittelman for clarification on this matter. He confirmed that, while the Big Y results will consist of SNP calls, the raw data will be available for those who want it - just as it is for the company's exome and whole genome products. He added, "We will want to set up some infrastructure to support downloading these big raw files and we will need to clarify for customers that our CSRs are obviously not able to offer advice or support on how to use them."
I am relieved (although not surprised) to hear this, as I am sure many of you are. I appreciate Dr. Mittelman's quick response to my inquiry even though he was traveling.
The Big Y is being offered at a discount through November 30, 2013 for $495 and will increase to $695 after that. Previous "Walk Through the Y" customers will receive an additional $50 discount. (Various project admins have reported a lot of orders, so the offer appears to be a success already.)
The Family Tree DNA holiday sale has begun and is running through Dec 31st. Any customer whose order that includes a Family Finder autosomal DNA test will receive a $100 Restaurant.com gift certificate. This sale includes new orders, upgrades and 23andMe/AncestryDNA transfers:
- Y-37 for $119 (reg. $169)
- Y-67 for $189 (reg. $268)
- Y-111 for $289 (reg. $359)
- mtFull for $169 (reg. $199)
- Family Finder for $99 (includes a free $100 Restaurant.com gift certificate)
- Family Finder + Y-37 for $218 (reg. $268) inc. $100 Restaurant.com gift certificate
- Family Finder + Y- 67 for $288 (reg. $367) inc. $100 Restaurant.com gift certificate
- Family Finder + mtFull for $268 (reg. $298) inc. $100 Restaurant.com gift certificate
- Y-37 + mtFull for $288 (reg. $366)
- Y-67 + mtFull for $358 (reg. $457)
- Comprehensive for $457 (reg. $566) inc. $100 Restaurant.com gift certificate
- Autosomal DNA Transfer for $49 (Reg $69)
- Y-Refine 12 to 37 for $69 (reg. $109)
- Y-Refine 12 to 67 for $148 (reg. $319)
- Y-Refine 25 to 37 for $35 (reg. $59)
- Y-Refine 25 to 67 for $114 (reg. $59)
- Y-Refine 37 to 67 for $79 (reg. $109)
- Y-Refine 37 to 111 for $188 (reg. $220)
- Y-Refine 67 to 111 for $109 (reg. $129)
- mtHVR1 to Mega for $149 (reg. $169)
When I first started blogging the FTDNA conference, I was largely alone. Now with the excellent and thorough conference coverage by other bloggers and on Twitter, it is no longer necessary for me to give a blow-by-blow account here. Thanks to Debbie Kennett for compiling a comprehensive list of conference posts on her blog.