Monday, November 7, 2016

MyHeritage Launches DNA Testing Service

MyHeritage is announcing a new DNA testing service today, MyHeritage DNA.

MyHeritage DNA results will include ethnicity reports and a DNA matching service for $79 + shipping (intro price). The initial reports currently include 25 ethnicities, but will grow to more than 100 thanks to MyHeritage’s Founder Population project, also unveiled today. More than 5000 participants have been handpicked to serve as references for this project by MyHeritage from its 85 million members, by virtue of their family trees exemplifying consistent ancestry from the same region or ethnicity for many generations. (More details in the press release included at the end of this post.)

MyHeritage DNA will integrate viewing family trees for DNA Matches to pinpoint the connection path, and automatically identifying which surnames and geographical locations they have in common (not common ancestors at this time). I am told that a chromosome browser will be coming in future updates and that the testing chip is "industry standard" which should mean it will be compatible with Gedmatch. If you haven't uploaded your raw data from another testing company to MyHeritage yet, you may want to consider doing so quickly before they cease offering that option.

We are still waiting on many details of the test and I will report back when I know more. I am not ready to recommend the product until I learn more about it, but it has exciting potential. In the meantime, I have posted some screen shots of results provided by MyHeritage. Check out the site here

Matching Service

Possible Relationship Predictions

Ethnicity Estimates

MyHeritage DNA kit

Official Press Release:
MyHeritage Launches Global DNA Testing Service for Uncovering Ethnic Origins and Making New Family Connections
Unique Founder Population project conducted by the company expected to empower the highest resolution ethnicity analysis available on the market
TEL AVIV, Israel & LEHI, Utah, November 7, 2016 — MyHeritage, the leading international destination for discovering, preserving and sharing family history, announced today the launch of MyHeritage DNA, its global integrated genetic testing service. The move represents a major turning point for the DNA industry, as MyHeritage DNA debuts an international mass-market home-testing kit that is simple, affordable and will offer some of the best ethnicity reports in the world.

With 85 million users worldwide, 2.1 billion family tree profiles, 7 billion historical records and availability in 42 languages, MyHeritage’s new DNA service further strengthens its position as a global leader in family history.

DNA is the hereditary material in the cells of the human body and it carries within it a unique genetic record. The MyHeritage DNA kit enables users to test their DNA to reveal valuable information about their family history and ethnic origins. The kit consists of a simple cheek swab and takes only a minute to complete, with no need for blood or saliva. The sample is then mailed to MyHeritage DNA’s lab for analysis and the user is invited to view the results on the MyHeritage website. In its initial version, MyHeritage DNA provides two main features: detailed ethnicity reports that map the user’s ethnic and geographic origins, and DNA Matches for finding relatives. Additional features and capabilities are planned for the future.

MyHeritage DNA results include fascinating ethnicity reports, showing the percentage of the user's DNA that come from different populations around the world. The initial reports currently include 25 ethnicities, but this will improve dramatically thanks to MyHeritage’s unique Founder Population project unveiled today — the largest of its kind ever conducted. More than 5000 participants have been handpicked for this project by MyHeritage from its 85 million members, by virtue of their family trees exemplifying consistent ancestry from the same region or ethnicity for many generations. In the next few months, the project will be completed, resulting in a rich DNA data set of more than 100 ethnicities that will enable MyHeritage to show users their ancestral roots with far greater resolution than other services. To this end, the company has been sending its DNA kits to project participants far and wide, from Uzbekistan to Fiji, from Greenland to South Africa, and every corner of the globe. Standard ethnicity reports are currently available, with the expert reports to be released at no additional cost to users following the completion of the Founder Population project.

DNA test results complement MyHeritage’s core offerings, including family trees and historical records — the tools traditionally used by family history enthusiasts. DNA can be used to prove or disprove a documented family tree connection, or answer the question of whether two people sharing the same rare surname are actually related. DNA is also indispensable for overcoming seemingly insurmountable obstacles in traditional research, as in the case of adoptees searching for their biological family without access to their adoption records. On the other hand, when DNA locates a match between two people who have the same ancestor or ancestors, family trees and historical records are often essential for piecing together the exact relationship path between them.

MyHeritage DNA is seamlessly integrated with the other services provided by MyHeritage on all web and mobile platforms, as well as offered on a dedicated standalone mobile app released today named MyHeritage DNA. Thanks to its expertise in family trees and its vibrant community, MyHeritage provides its DNA customers with features not offered by most competing services including 23andMe, such as viewing family trees of the majority of their DNA Matches to pinpoint the connection path, and automatically identifying which surnames and geographical locations they have in common. DNA can be a fascinating introduction to the world of family history, and customers who embark on this journey by taking a DNA test can easily use MyHeritage's tools to further explore what made them what they are.

“DNA testing is the future of family history,” said MyHeritage Founder and CEO Gilad Japhet. “We see DNA as a natural evolution of our business and look forward to harnessing it to reunite families, engage in new pro bono projects, and enrich the lives of millions of users.”

MyHeritage DNA kits are available at the affordable introductory price of $79 + shipping (prices vary by location). To order, visit the MyHeritage DNA website. MyHeritage has already amassed a significant number of DNA kits uploaded by its users from other DNA services, providing valuable matches on MyHeritage from day one. With the launch of MyHeritage DNA, the company will cease to offer DNA kits of other vendors. Users who have already tested their DNA on other services are welcome for a limited time to upload their DNA data to MyHeritage at no cost to benefit from free DNA Matches.

About MyHeritage
MyHeritage is the leading global destination for discovering, preserving and sharing family history. As technology thought leaders, MyHeritage is transforming family history into an activity that’s accessible and instantly rewarding. Its global user community enjoys access to a massive library of historical records, the most internationally diverse collection of family trees and ground­breaking search and matching technologies. An extension of the core MyHeritage brand, MyHeritage DNA offers technologically-advanced, affordable DNA tests that reveal users’ ethnic origins and previously unknown relatives. Trusted by millions of families, MyHeritage provides an easy way to share family stories, past and present, and treasure them for generations to come. MyHeritage and MyHeritage DNA are available in 42 languages.

Aaron Godfrey, VP Marketing
Phone: +1­-347­-542­7902 Email:


Sunday, September 25, 2016

Institute for Genetic Genealogy Conference Next Month in San Diego

I4GG Speakers 2016

Please join us for a premiere Genetic Genealogy event, held in San Diego next month. The DNA Detectives brings back the Institute for Genetic Genealogy Conference (I4GG) for 2016, this time in San Diego, CA on October 22 and 23, with 14 experts presenting 21 genetic genealogy topics.

The presentations will cover all levels of experience, beginner, intermediate and advanced. Headlining the conference are leading genetic genealogy educators Blaine Bettinger and CeCe Moore (me), with special guest Schelly Talalay Dardashti of Tracing the Tribe. We are honored to be able to present the following additional speakers with expertise in a wide variety of areas in genetic genealogy: Carol Rolnick, Michelle Trostler, Kitty Cooper, Kathy Johnston, Leah Larkin, Barbara Rae Venter from DNAAdoption and Junel Davidsen, Kathleen Fernandes, Thomas Krahn from YSEQ, Afton Vechery from 23andMe and Janine Cloud from Family Tree DNA

This event will cover traditional genetic genealogy as well as genetic genealogy methodologies for unknown parentage, with two tracks to choose from each day. Attendees can choose from one of two presentations (in either track), running all day Saturday and Sunday. The tracks on Saturday will focus on 1) Traditional applications for Genetic Genealogy research and 2) Using DNA for unknown parentage/adoption search. Sunday will start out with an exciting keynote given by Blaine about the future of genetic genealogy. During the two tracks on Sunday experts will cover third party tools, endogamy, Jewish DNA, spreadsheets and triangulation, case studies and you will hear from two of the leading companies in the field.

We are very excited that Blaine will be presenting two brand new talks at this conference, Evaluating a Genealogical Conclusion Including DNA and DNA and the Aftermath of Uncovered Family Secrets. His wonderful new book "Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy" will be available for purchase on site. 

Both Family Tree DNA and MyHeritage will have an onsite presence at the event. 

Early registration has been extended until the end of the month (since I hadn't had time to blog about it until now). The cost is $169 for both days or $99 for one (videos will be included with the full two-day conference registration). There is still availability in our room block ($145 + tax until Oct. 4, subject to continued availability) at the Sheraton Mission Valley. 

Please go to to learn more and to register. Watch our awesome video below and at

GENETIC GENEALOGY CONFERENCE i4gg 2016 SAN DIEGO OCT. 22 &23 from The DNA Detectives on Vimeo.



9:00 – 10:00 — Keynote: The Power of DNA, CeCe Moore
Track One
10:30 – 11:30 — Evaluating a Genealogical Conclusion including DNA, Blaine Bettinger
11:45 – 12:45 — Using the Tools at GEDmatch to Find Relatives, Kitty Cooper
2:00 – 3:00 — Getting Started with AncestryDNA, Michelle Trostler
3:15 – 4:15 — Digging Deeper with Autosomal DNA, CeCe Moore
4:30 – 5:30 — Searching for Our Most Distant (Paternal) Ancestors in Cameroon – Y Haplogroup A00, Thomas Krahn
Track Two
10:30 – 11:30 — Basics of Utilizing DNA in Unknown Parentage Search, CeCe Moore
11:45 – 12:45 — Mirror Trees Explained, Carol Rolnick
2:00 – 3:00 — How To Use the X chromosome in Family and Origins Searches, Kathy Johnston
3:15 – 4:15 — DNA and the Aftermath of Uncovered Family Secrets, Blaine Bettinger
4:30 – 5:30 — Cold Case Solved:  Autosomal DNA Analysis Reveals Lisa Jensen’s Real Identity, Barbara Rae -Venter


9:00 – 10:00 — Keynote: The Science Fiction Future of Genetic Genealogy, Blaine Bettinger
10:15 – 11:15 — Exploring Ethnicity Estimates, CeCe Moore
Track One
11:45 – 12:45 — DNA Analytics: Using Databases and Spreadsheets to Find Family, Kathleen Fernandes
2:00 – 3:00 — Advanced Third Party Tools, Blaine Bettinger
3:15 – 4:15 — Genetic Genealogy Case Studies, CeCe Moore
4:30 – 5:30 — Ancestry discoveries with 23andMe , Afton Vechery
Track Two
11:45 – 12:45 — When Your Tree Is a Banyan: Coping with Endogamy in Genetic Genealogy, Leah LaPerle Larkin
2:00 – 3:00 — Tracing the Tribe with DNA, Schelly Talalay Dardashti
3:15 – 4:15 — Family Tree DNAStrength in Numbers: Advancing Your Research Through Group Projects, Janine Cloud
4:30 – 5:30 — Practical Applications for mtDNA Testing, CeCe Moore

We hope to see you there!

Videos of the event will be offered for sale at a future date. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

23andMe Introduces Ancestry Standalone Product For $99

Click here to order. 

23andMe has just released a new option for customers in the U.S., offering the ancestry features of the test for only $99. This means that the health results will not be included with this product, but the portions of the test that are important to most in the genetic genealogy community will be - Ancestry Composition admixture percentages, DNA Relatives matching and the haplogroup assignments, plus the raw data. Customers will have an opportunity to upgrade to include the health portion later for $125, if desired. The same chip is used and all new testers will be compared against the existing database, so this is not a separate product. 

If you have been waiting to test at 23andMe, now is the time. Order here

New Commercial:

This is the first commercial that specifically talks about relative matching instead of just ancestral origins. I think that is really exciting!

Press Release:

23andMe Offers $99 Genetic Ancestry Service

Mountain View, Calif. – September 21, 2016 – 23andMe, the leading personal genetics company, is now offering its genetic ancestry service as a standalone product for $99. The service features 23andMe’s pioneering Ancestry Composition analysis, enabling customers to trace their lineage to 31 populations worldwide through their DNA. The service also includes DNA Relatives, an optional tool matching willing customers with close or distant relatives based on shared DNA. Customers purchasing the new ancestry service have the option to upgrade to 23andMe’s flagship health and ancestry product which includes an additional 60+ genetic reports on carrier status, wellness and physical traits.
“Our ancestry service is often the source of some of the most life-changing discoveries for our customers,” said Anne Wojcicki, CEO and co-founder of 23andMe. “Through the many stories our customers share with us, we see the incredible power of our science to connect people and expand their sense of self — redefining how they see their ancestry.”
The $99 genetic ancestry service analyzes genetic variants across all chromosomes to provide a breakdown of global ancestry by percentages. The average customer can trace their DNA to at least 5 different populations from around the world. Customers will also have their 23 pairs of chromosomes “painted” — a color-coded digital sketch unraveling your DNA, detailing the amount, or length, of specific ancestry on each chromosome.
Additionally, customers will have access to 23andMe’s DNA Relatives tool, allowing them to share and compare their DNA to that of other 23andMe customers, if they opt-in to do so. Ninety-five percent of 23andMe customers participating in DNA Relatives connect with a third degree cousin or closer relative. And for customers interested in ancient ancestors, our Neanderthal report tells people how much Neanderthal DNA they have.
“The story of human history is captured in our DNA,” said Joanna Mountain, Ph.D., 23andMe senior director of research.  “Our ancestry service unlocks that information, and helps you better understand who you are and where you came from. It also allows you to connect with relatives you may not have known, no matter where they are.”
Customers who purchase the ancestry product have the option to upgrade to 23andMe’s full health and ancestry service for an additional $125.

The company is also launching a new national television ad showcasing the ancestry experience. The $99 ancestry service is only available at

About 23andMe

23andMe, Inc. is the leading personal genetics company. Founded in 2006, the mission of the company is to help people access, understand and benefit from the human genome. 23andMe has more than one million customers worldwide, with over 80 percent consented to participate in research. 23andMe, Inc. is located in Mountain View, CA. More information is available at

Media Contact(s)

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Don't Miss "Your Genetic Genealogist" on 20/20 Friday night!

Tomorrow, Friday May 6th on ABC, 20/20 will cover a story that I have been working on for the last few months. 

Unbelievably, three babies were found abandoned within a five mile radius of each other over a five year period of time and DNA testing at AncestryDNA revealed that they all share the same mother. (More details are here.) See them reunite below.

Then, through testing the foundlings at 23andMe, we made another major discovery. Don't miss the entire story on 20/20 Friday night on ABC (check your local listings).

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Don't Miss the Incredible Story DNA Uncovered for LL Cool J on "Finding Your Roots" Tonight

Tonight on "Finding Your Roots" the power of genetic genealogy will be showcased through LL Cool J's discovery that his mother was adopted and the search for her biological family.  When I first started working with his DNA over a year ago, it was clear that there was a story to be told and, finally, we are telling it. I will be appearing on the show to discuss some of the DNA analysis and our findings. Check your local PBS listings and don't miss it!

Dr. Gates and I discussing the DNA on tonight's episode
LL Cool J, me and Ondrea Smith (his mother)

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Finding Your Roots, Season Three Premieres Tonight on PBS

Don't miss out, Season Three of "Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr." premieres tonight on PBS (check your local listings) and will run every Tuesday night for ten weeks. The first episode features actor Ty Burrell, artist Kara Walker and author/political analyst Donna Brazile. I have written an article on some of the DNA analysis used for the show that should be posted in the next couple of days on the PBS site.

Read this great review of the series by Cal Thomas from the Washington Times. He writes, "Next to 'Downton Abbey,' which is again pulling large audiences for its sixth and final season, Mr. Gates' program (premiering Jan. 5th) is the best and most compelling television you will ever see."

I also have a new public Facebook page here. Please follow me there for more updates if you are on Facebook.