Friday, October 9, 2015

DNA.Land Launches

DNA.Land was launched today by scientists from the New York Genome Center and Columbia University. I was asked to advise on this project several months ago and have been excitedly anticipating its launch. 

Posted by Dr. Yaniv Erlich on Facebook today:

After long months of work, DNA.Land ( is finally on air.

We developed a platform to massively crowd source genetic, genealogy, and health information from millions of people. Our goal is to help our participants know more about their genome and help science. By uploading their genome data to our website, participants will be able to find genetic relatives, learn about their ancestry, and get a more complete version of their genome data. During this process, they will also be able to contribute to cutting-edge genetic research...

To quantify their level of contribution to science, the website will also present to each participant a badge with a score that corresponds to the amount of data he or she contributed and the percentile of data contribution...

If you were tested with 23andMe, Family Tree DNA, or Ancestry - take a look at

The website is not-for-profit and was developed by scientists from Columbia University and the NY Genome Center.

We would love to hear your feedback.

Anyone who has tested at 23andMe, Family Tree DNA or AncestryDNA may participate by uploading the raw data to the site. There are very good instructions on DNA.Land for completing the raw data upload process. Please make sure to use a valid email address or you will not be able to access your results. Due to consent and privacy issues, DNA.Land currently does not support multiple uploads to a single account, so you if you have consent from family members to perform the upload to DNA.Land, it will require a different email address/account to do so. 

The raw data upload and the imputation step will take about two hours and the ancestry reports will be ready in about 24 hours. (Imputation is the act of inferring the base -- ATCG -- at a location that has not been tested. More info here and here.)

I have received my reports and am sharing screen shots from my account below. Right now there are only two, but there will be more features added in the future. 

Relative Matching:

I really like that DNA.Land classifies the shared segments as either "ancient" (green) or "recent" (orange), which we have not seen previously on other sites. Not surprisingly, shorter segments are more likely to be designated as "ancient," but you cannot always tell just by looking at the chromosome graph. This is because in some regions, the rate of recombination is slower than others, resulting in a lower centiMorgan value versus nucleotide count (megabase pairs). You can see this in my screenshots above where DNA.Land has classified the segment on Chromosome 9 in my matches 1, 4 and 5 as "ancient" even though it appears to be relatively large in comparison to some of the other "recent" segments. This is because it is crossing the centromere and the recombination rate is expected to be slower there. At this point, you cannot see the start and stop points of the shared segments on the site, but I am advised you can do so by viewing the HTML source. (Hopefully, this will be surfaced later.)

Since I was one of the first ones to upload to the database, most of my matches are from OpenSNP. For these, no email address is provided (column one), but for most of your matches, there should be an email address for contact. I have some concerns with the closeness of the relationship estimates shown in column two because I would not expect to see so many close relatives in such a small database, but I am confident the team will reassess this during this beta phase. I think the "Relationship Likelihood" graph in column five is a good addition to demonstrate the uncertainty of the relationship predictions. 

Ancestral Origins Report:

As you can see these reports are pretty basic right now, but they will continue to develop and improve. Knowing how much the genetic genealogy community likes to see the predictions of the small percentage ancestral origins, I have recommended that this be expanded. 

Please remember that this is an early beta version and DNA.Land will be refined as they work through issues and add additional features. Feedback and questions should be sent to

This is a wonderful way to contribute to genetic research, so please check it out! 

FAQ are here.
Facebook page where you can ask questions here.
More information from the Nature news article here