Thursday, June 5, 2014

Ancestry.com Officially Retires Y-DNA and mtDNA Testing

Ancestry.com announced today that they are officially retiring five of their sites and/or products as of September 5, 2014. These include Mundia, Genealogy.com, MyCanvas, MyFamily and, of special interest to my readers, the Y-DNA and mtDNA tests (now being called LegacyDNA). The sales of these tests have been halted, effective immediately.
I don't think the news about the retirement of the Y-DNA and mtDNA tests will come as a big surprise to most of us since Ancestry.com has been focusing their resources on the AncestryDNA autosomal DNA test and have been backing away from promoting the direct line tests for some time. As has been noted by many in the genetic genealogy community, it has become increasingly difficult to find the ordering interface for these tests over the last year or more.

I participated in a conference call detailing these changes with bloggers yesterday where we were given an opportunity to ask questions. I asked several about the Y-DNA and mtDNA tests, as follows:

Q: Will the entire Y-DNA and mtDNA site interface be retired? Will you be able to view and contact your matches? 
A: The entire interface will be retired, including the match lists and the ability to contact your matches.

My comments: If you have tested there, I strongly encourage you to contact your matches before September 5th (and so does Ancestry.com) because you will not have another opportunity to do so.  You can download your raw data (CSV file) until September 5th by going to www.DNA.Ancestry.com and upload to other services like Family Tree DNA. FTDNA has a transfer program for Y-DNA tests here. For $19 you will be able to upload your results to the FTDNA site. Here is the description of their transfer product:


This option is available for customers who have 33 or 46-marker Y-DNA results from a third party company that used the Sorenson's laboratory (this includes tests performed by Ancestry, GeneTree, and Sorenson's SMGF). You may use this option to upload your results to the Family Tree DNA database. The $19 fee will provide you with a Family Tree DNA personal page which will allow you to:
  • Join Family Tree DNA projects freely, but you will not receive matches or a haplogroup prediction.
  • Your uploaded results will be available to the administrator and included on the project's public page for comparison with other project members.

For an additional $39 you can get a new kit from FTDNA. If you tested 33 markers at Ancestry.com, then you will have the additional markers filled in to be equivalent to FTDNA's 25 marker test or if you tested at the 43 marker level at Ancestry.com, then you will receive 37 marker results from FTDNA with this additional test. At the very least, I encourage you to add your results to the free Ysearch site (note the conversion needed) and Mitosearch site.

Q: Are there any Y-DNA or mtDNA test still in the queue and, if so, will these be completed or refunded?
A: There are a small number of Y-DNA and mtDNA tests still in the queue. If you are one of these, then you will be receiving an email detailing your options. Ancestry.com encourages you to call their customer service to discuss this. 

Q: What will happen to the stored DNA samples associated with these tests?
A: The stored DNA associated with these tests will be destroyed. 

Q: Can the stored DNA be returned to the testers or their families rather than being destroyed?
A: No.

Q:  Can those stored samples be used to upgrade to an autosomal DNA test before they are destroyed?
A: Ancestry.com does not currently have anything in the works for doing this.

An additional question was posed by another blogger regarding whether the halpogroup designations that are populated on testers' Ancestry.com user trees will remain. They are going to get back to us about this. 

For more information about the other four site retirements, please see Randy Seaver's GeneaMusings, Thomas MacEntee's GeneaBloggers and/or the Ancestry.com official blog.