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AncestryDNA is the genetic genealogy database service of myfamily.com (the owner of Ancestry.com). AncestryDNA offers an autosomal DNA test. The test was first launched in the US in 2012. It became available in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Canada in 2015. It was launched in a further 29 countries in February 2016.
- 1 Ancestry's autosomal DNA test
- 2 Chip versions
- 3 Features of the Ancestry DNA autosomal DNA test
- 4 AncestryDNA white papers
- 5 AncestryDNA videos
- 6 AncestryDNA resources
- 7 Useful blog posts
- 8 Transfers
- 9 Extracting Y-DNA data
- 10 Reviews of the AncestryDNA autosomal DNA test
- 11 Ancestry's Y-DNA tests
- 12 Ancestry's mtDNA test
- 13 History
- 14 Contacting AncestryDNA
- 15 Publications
- 16 See also
- 17 External links
- 18 References
Ancestry's autosomal DNA test
- Ancestry.com venturing into autosomal DNA Testing? by CeCe Moore, 6 October 2011. She reports that some Ancestry.com subscribers are being offered the chance of a free upgrade to Ancestry's new autosomal DNA service. The offer is limited to the first 2000 who register.
- More details on Ancestry.com's new autosomal DNA test offering by CeCe Moore, 1 November 2011. She reports that Ancestry is "offering the opportunity to 10,000 more 'selected' Ancestry.com subscribers (apparently chosen from among those who have manually uploaded DNA results to their site) to submit their DNA for the cost of shipping only". The offer is restricted to Ancestry.com subscribers in the US.
Ancestry announced the launch of its new autosomal DNA testing service on 3 May 2012. The Ancestry autosomal DNA test was initially restricted to US residents.
The AncestryDNA autosomal DNA test was launched in the UK and Ireland in January 2015.
In January 2015 Ancestry announced that non-subscribers in the US would be required to pay an annual subscription of $49 in order to access the family trees of their matches. For details see the blog post by Annette Kapple AncestryDNA non subscription accounts downgraded plus people behind the segments.
The AncestryDNA test was launched in a further 29 countries in February 2016.
The AncestryDNA test was launched in Germany in November 2018.
See the AncestryDNA Support Centre article AncestryDNA availability by country for a list of the countries where the test is sold.
From mid May 2016 onwards AncestryDNA began using a new chip for their autosomal DNA product:
- Customer Testing Begins on New AncestryDNA Chip by Ancestry Team, Ancestry blog, 12 May 2016.
- Upcoming changes to the AncestryDNA test by Tim Janzen, Genealogy DNA mailing list, 16 May 2016.
- Ancestry modifies their autosomal chip by Roberta Estes, DNAeXplained, 15 May 2016.
Rebekah Canada has produced some heats maps showing the distribution of SNPs on the two Ancestry chips:
For a comparison of the v1 and v2 chips see the blog post by Roberta Estes on Ancestry V1 vs V2 test comparison (5 October 2016).
Features of the Ancestry DNA autosomal DNA test
Shaky leaf hints
The Ancestry autosomal test has a unique feature whereby possible common ancestors are identified by Shared Ancestor Hints as can be seen from the screenshot below. Results can also be filtered for those who have a "hint". A number of ISOGG members in the US have reported receiving a large number of meaningful matches thanks to this feature. See also the blog post from Ancestry.com AncestryDNA discoveries made easier with the help of the shaky leaf.
- How DNA Circles are created AncestryDNA Support article, 25 April 2016
- Exploring your DNA Circles AncestryDNA Support article, 26 April 2016. Also available as a PDF
- Where in the world are the ancestors of DNA Circles? by Julie Granka, Ancestry blog, 25 April 2015.
- Ancestry Academy course on DNA Circles
- DNA Circles White Paper
- Circling the DNA clues by Judy Russell, The Legal Genealogist, 7 August 2016.
New Ancestor Discoveries
- Getting the most from your New Ancestor Discoveries by Anna Swayne.
- Improving accuracy of New Ancestor Discoveries by the Ancestry team. Ancestry blog, 2 June 2016.
- About New Ancestor Discoveries AncestryDNA Support article, 27 April 2016
- New Ancestor Discoveries - frequently asked questions AncestryDNA Support article, 22 April 2016
- The science behind New Ancestor Discoveries by Julia Granka. Ancestry Tech Roots blog, 2 April 2015.
- Introducing a breakthrough in DNA by Anna Swayne. Ancestry blog, 2 April 2015. Blog post announcing the launch of the NAD feature.
- New Ancestor Discoveries - clues not proof to your past by Kenny Freestone. Ancestry blog, 9 April 2016.
From 12 September 2013 onwards Ancestry began to roll out updated ethnicity estimates. The ethnicity results incorporate six new West African DNA regions to provide an improved ethnicity estimate for customers of West African ancestry.. The updated ethnicity estimates were rolled out to the entire database by 17 October 2013. Updated estimates were rolled out in 2018.
- Breaking down the science behind ethnicity results by Ross Curtis, AncestryDNA, 5 May 2015. A short video tutorial explaining the methodology behind the ethnicity estimates.
- More than a pie chart and a number: reading your ethnicity estimate by Paul Rawlins, Ancestry blog, 4 September 2017
- Understanding patterns of inheritance. Where did my DNA come from? (and why it matters) by Anna Swayne, Ancestry blog, 5 March 2014
AncestryDNA help centre articles:
- AncestryDNA ethnicity 4 November 2017.
- Making the most of your ethnicity estimate 3 November 2017.
- Unexpected ethnicity results AncestryDNA help centre article, 14 November 2017.
- DNA ethnicity ranges 2 November 2017.
- DNA regions 3 November 2017.
- Low confidence regions 30 October 2017.
- DNA migrations 6 November 2017.
The Genetic Communities feature was introduced in March 2017. It has now been integrated into the ethnicity report. The communities are now labelled as regions. If the region does not fall within an "ethnicity" it is labelled as a migration.
- Welcome to your genetic communities by Kristen Hyde, Ancestry blog, 28 March 2017.
- List of DNA regions
- AncestryDNA's new genetic communities are here by Debbie Kennett, Cruwys News, 28 March 2017.
- Genetic communities are here by Leah Larkin, The DNA Geek, 27 March 2017.
- AncestryDNA's genetic communities are finally here by Blaine Bettinger, The Genetic Genealogist, 28 March 2017.
- The science behind genetic communities by Leah Larkin, The DNA Geek, 3 March 2017.
AncestryDNA white papers
- Ethnicity Estimate 2013 White Paper
- Ethnicity Estimate 2018 White Paper
- DNA Matching White Paper
- DNA Circles White Paper
- Genetic Communities White Paper
- AncestryDNA videos from Ancestry.com
- DNA 101 (for beginners) from the Ancestry Academy
- Ancestry Academy course on DNA Circles
- Behind the scenes: the science behind AncestryDNA results (Ancestry Academy course)
Useful blog posts
- Exploring your DNA results further by Linda Barnickel. Guest post on the Ancestry blog, 1 December 2016.
- Demystifying Ancestry's relationship predictions inspires new relationship estimator tool A guest blog post by Karin Corbeil on the DNAeXplained blog, 22 February 2016.
AncestryDNA results can be uploaded free-of-charge to the third party website GedMatch where many additional tools are available for advanced analysis. For more information on GedMatch and other third-party tools see the Wiki article on autosomal DNA tools.
AncestryDNA results can also be transferred to Family Tree DNA's Family Finder database where you can search for additional matches, join projects and use additional tools to compare results. The transfer is free but a small fee is required to unlock additional features. Details can be found at www.familytreedna.com/AutosomalTransfer. Note that AncestryDNA transfers after the introduction of the new chip in May 2016 will receive a reduced number of matches and will not receive matches in the speculative range. See the blog post from Louise Coakley Should you upgrade your Family Finder transfer?.
Extracting Y-DNA data
The chip used by AncestryDNA includes a small selection of Y-chromosome SNPs. Ancestry does not provide a Y-DNA haplogroup report but it is possible to get a haplogroup assignment from the raw data. See the blog post by Steven Frank Updated method to get YDNA haplogroup from AncestryDNA results for details of how to do this.
Reviews of the AncestryDNA autosomal DNA test
- Confusion and joy from AncestryDNA test results by Chris Paton. The GENES Blog, 4 August 2016.
- How my AncestryDNA Match stands up in Gedmatch by Ginger Smith. Genealogy by Ginger's Blog, 7 September 2014.
- My AncestryDNA review: a cautionary tale by Heather Collins. Young and Savvy Genealogists blog, 12 July 2014.
- Getting to know myself through DNA testing by Patricia Valoy, Double X Science website, 23 May 2014. The perspective of an American from the Dominican Republic.
- AncestryDNA at the National Genealogical Society Conference - a report from Angie Bush Guest post by Angie Bush on CeCe Moore's Your Genetic Genealogist blog, 10 May 2014.
- La génétique - Le cas Ancestry (in French) by Joss Ar Gall, Le Gall de Basse Bretagne et d'ailleurs..., 16 March 2014.
- Using AncestryDNA for success by Shannon Christmas, Through the Trees blog, 13 December 2013.
- Tracing African-American roots through DNA by Ricki Lewis, DNA Science Blog, 31 October 2013.
- My updated ethnicity results from AncestryDNA - a British perspective by Debbie Kennett, 17 September 2013.
- DNA disappointment by Judy Russell, 15 September 2013.
- AncestryDNA launches new ethnicity estimate by Blaine Bettinger, 12 September 2013.
- AncestryDNA - Should you test and what do you get? Genealogy for the Everyman blog, 30 May 2013.
- AncestryDNA, raw data and Rootstech by CeCe Moore, 25 March 2013
- Downloading AncestryDNA's raw data file by Roberta Estes, 21 March 2013
- The raw data at AncestryDNA by Judy Russell, 24 March 2013
- AncestryDNA releases raw data by Blaine Bettinger, 24 March 2013
- AncestryDNA updates by Debbie Kennett, 22 March 2013
- AncestryDNA: an explanation and a promise by Judy Russell, 13 January 2013
- AncestryDNA: interface improvements by Judy Russell, 6 January 2013
- Ancestry's mythical admixture percentages by Roberta Estes, 24 October 2012
- Ancestry autosomal results are back by Roberta Estes, 10 September 2012
- Is history repeating itself at Ancestry? by Roberta Estes, 30 August 2012
- Ancestry's response to my request for my raw genetic data by Debbie Kennett 30 August 2012
- My Ancestry autosomal DNA test Part 2: The matching process by Debbie Kennett, 22 August 2012
- My Ancestry autosomal DNA test Part I: Consent forms and admixture analyses by Debbie Kennett, 21 August 2012
- Ancestry’s consent form for AncestryDNA autosomal test by Roberta Estes, 16 August 2012
- First looks at AncestryDNA by Judy G. Russell, 5 August 2012
- First thoughts on my AncestryDNA results by Valerie Craft, 31 July 2012 (includes screenshots of tree matches)
- My review of AncestryDNA's admixture tool and a glimpse into the future of genetic genealogy by CeCe Moore, 26 June 2012
- Problems with AncestryDNA’s Genetic Ethnicity Prediction? by Blaine Bettinger, 19 June 2012
- AncestryDNA and a Possible Faux Pa by The Genealogue, 13 June 2012
- A review of AncestryDNA – Ancestry.com’s new autosomal DNA Test by Blaine Bettinger, 2 April 2012
- Ancestry.com’s AncestryDNA Product by Blaine Bettinger, 1 April 2012
- New information on Ancestry.com's AncestryDNA product by CeCe Moore, 30 March 2012
- Ancestry.com autosomal DNA test – Part II by Lauren Mahieu, 10 March 2012
- My (free) Ancestry.com DNA results – a comparison to FamilyTreeDNA by Lauren Mahieu (Genejourneys blog), 6 March 2012
- Ancestry.com's Autsomal DNA launch - First look! by CeCe Moore, 6 March 2012
Ancestry's Y-DNA tests
Ancestry no longer sell Y-DNA tests. This section needs updating.
Y-DNA tests can be purchased from Ancestry which reported results for 33 markers or 46 markers. Note, however, that these tests included three markers that are very rare in the normal population, so most males ordering those tests will not receive results for the full number of markers claimed. Other testing companies will report values for these markers where found but will not include them in the total count. Note also that Ancestry do not currently have any facility to test single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) to confirm haplogroup predictions.
Y-chromosome DNA test results obtained from companies other than AncestryDNA can be manually entered into AncestryDNA's database (although currently, some marker results may require conversion to the AncestryDNA format), and thus can be used to find matches within this database. For access to the database, a free Ancestry.com "Registered Guest" account suffices. Paid accounts, at either Ancestry.com or myfamily.com, are not required. (Some web links at AncestryDNA will, under certain conditions, send the browser to a myfamily.com site, suggesting that an account be purchased there.) A separate Ancestry.com account is required for each DNA result you wish to add to their database.
Comparing Ancestry and FTDNA results
The way in which testing companies report the values for the various markers is not yet consistent though eventually all companies will conform to the NIST (US National Institute of Standards and Technology) standards. Ancestry's markers now conform to the NIST standards but Family Tree DNA, with their much larger database, have not yet completed the upgrade. In the meantime to compare results between the two different testing companies it is necessary to convert some of the marker values. A useful guide to the conversion process is provided here.
AncestryDNA results can be uploaded free of charge to Y-search, a public Y-DNA database sponsored by Family Tree DNA. Results can also be compared with those on other public DNA databases such as the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation's database and the Y Chromosome Haplotype Reference Database.
In August 2011 Family Tree DNA announced that it would accept third-party transfers from people who had taken a Y-DNA test with companies that used the Sorenson Genomics Laboratories. Ancestry customers are therefore now eligible to transfer their results to the larger FTDNA database and join the various surname, haplogroup and geographical projects. It is however necessary to pay a small fee for the transfer to preserve the integrity of the database. Further information on the process can be found in the Third-party transfers FAQs. Y-DNA results from third-party Sorenson transfers are prefixed in the FTDNA database with the letter B.
Reviews of the Ancestry Y-DNA test
- Y-DNA - FTDNA vs Ancestry by Roberta Estes
- Have AncestryDNA discontinued their Y-DNA and mtDNA tests? by Debbie Kennett, Cruwys News blog, 23 March 2014.
Ancestry's mtDNA test
Ancestry no longer sell mtDNA tests. This section needs updating.
Ancestry offers a single mtDNA test which sequences hypervariable regions 1 and 2 (HVR2 bases 1-390 and HVR1 bases 16000-16569). Note that the testing companies do not use the same nomenclature to describe the hypervariable regions. At Family Tree DNA HVR2 includes bases 1-574. Companies that use the Sorenson Genomics Labs split HVR2 into two sections HVR2 (bases 1-390) and HVR3 (bases 391-574). Note that Ancestry does not provide any SNP testing to confirm the mtDNA haplogroup assignments. Haplogroup assignments can be checked by using James Lick's mtHap utility which can be found at http://dna.jameslick.com/mthap. In many cases it will not be possible to provide a definitive haplogroup designation without additional testing.
For information on Ancestry's mtDNA matching system see the blog post by Roberta Estes entitled The trouble with Ancestry.com matches.
Ancestry.com previously offered a short-lived DNA testing service in 2002 in partnership with Relative Genetics. They sold a 23-marker Y-DNA test, which was known as the "GenetiKit Genealogy Paternal Ancestry Signature". They also offered a mitochondrial DNA "Native American Haplotype Test" and a "Mitochondrial DNA Sequencing Test" used for establishing maternal relationships. Family Tree DNA subsequently accepted transfers from Ancestry.com. These transfers appear in FTDNA personal pages as an "AncestryconversionKit".
Ancestry.com has toll-free/freephone telephone contact numbers in six countries: United States, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Sweden. A list of numbers can be found here. They provide a telephone service for DNA enquiries in five countries: United States, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada. The contact numbers are the same as the Ancestry.com numbers but outside North America the operating hours are much shorter. Details can be found here. ISOGG members in the UK have reported that if they ring the UK Ancestry telephone number with a DNA query they are transferred free of charge to the US site if the UK representative is not able to answer the question. The call must be made within the appropriate hours.
- .Han E et al (2017). Clustering of 770,000 genomes reveals post-colonial population structure of North America. Nature Communications 8: ncomms14238.
- Curtis RE and Girshick AR (2017). Estimation of recent ancestral origins of individuals on a large scale. Proceedings of the 23rd ACM SIGKDD International Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining 1417–1425.
- Y-DNA STR testing chart
- mtDNA testing comparison chart
- Autosomal DNA testing comparison chart
- AncestryDNA wish list
- DNA Ancestry official site
- AncestryDNA FAQs
- AncestryDNA Support Articles
- The Ancestry.com blog
- Ancestry's DNA Research message boards
- Ancestry.com on Facebook
- Ancestry.com on Twitter
- Description of Ancestry.com "Registered Guest" accounts
- myfamily.com official site
- Transcript, Meeting 10, Session 12 A transcript of a presentation given by Ken Chahine, Senior Vice President and General Manager of AncestryDNA, to the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues at a meeting held on 1 August 2012 in Washington DC.
- Ancestry.com Launches New AncestryDNA Service: The Next Generation of DNA Science Poised to Enrich Family History Research Ancestry.com press release, 3 May 2012.
- Gallager B. AncestryDNA is now available in Australia and New Zealand. Ancestry blog, 27 May 2015.
- Wells K. AncestryDNA is now available in Canada. Ancestry blog, 9 June 2015.
- Murray J. AncestryDNA now offered in 29 new countries. Ancestry blog, 23 February 2016.
- Larkin L. Sind wir verwandt? Are we related. The DNA Geek, 8 November 2018.
- Pam Velazquez. Sneak peek into the AncestryDNA ethnicity update – coming soon to your DNA Results! Ancestry.com blog, 12 September 2013.
- Julie Granka. AncestryDNA makes scientific breakthrough in West African ethnicity. Ancestry.com Tech Roots blog, 12 September 2013
- Ancestry.com press release. AncestryDNA™ Now a More Comprehensive DNA Test for Exploring Ethnic Origins. 17 October 2013.
- Link to manually enter results from other testing companies (you must be logged in to Ancestry.com in another browser window for this link to work) - accessed 6 January 2013
- MyFamily.com and Relative Genetics Partner to Deliver the Most Extensive Genetic Genealogical Service in the World Ancestrycom press release, 2002.
- Roberta Estes. Is history repeating itself at Ancestry? DNAeXplained blog, 30 August 2012.