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DNAPrint Genomics

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DNAPrint Genomics
Type Public
Industry Genomics, Forensic science
Headquarters Sarasota, Florida
Key people Richard Gabriel, President & CEO
Hector J. Gomez, Chief Medical Officer
Tony Frudakis, Co-Founder & Chief Scientific Officer,
Lou Charlton, Co-Founder,
Karen Surplus, Chief Financial Officer
Products Pharmacogenomics, Genomic profiling, Genotyping
Website DNA Print website from Internet Archive

DNAPrint Genomics (DNAG) was a genetics company with a wide range of products related to genetic profiling including AncestrybyDNA and DNAWitness. They provided forensic and consumer products, mostly based around finding Ancestry Informative Markers in DNA samples that they claimed enabled them to correctly identify the ancestry of a human based on a sample of their DNA. The company ceased operations in February 2009.[1][2]

In June 2005 DNAPrint Genomics acquired the company Trace Genetics, a provider of services for the genealogy, forensics and molecular diagnostics markets.[3]

DNA Diagnostics Center acquired the rights to the AncestrybyDNA name, testing procedures, and report generation from DNAPrint in 2009.[4]

Consumer applications

DNAPrint Genomics' flagship product was "AncestryByDNA", a DNA test for its consumers that breaks down the percentage ancestry of a client, based on these Ancestry Informative Markers in their DNA. It was marketed as a tool for personal genealogical research, and for adoptees looking to learn more about their genealogy.[5]

The product was described by the company as follows:

'DNAPrint's genealogy product, ANCESTRYbyDNA™ 2.5, is a pan-chromosomal assay for genetic ancestry. The test surveys 176 Ancestry Informative Markers (AIMs) to provide an inference of genetic ancestry or heritage. The AIMs were carefully selected from large-scale screens of the human genome; and are characterized by sequences of DNA that are more prevalent in people from one continent than another. Using complex statistical algorithms, the test can determine with confidence to which of the major bio-geographical ancestry groups, Sub-Saharan African, European, East Asian or Native American, a person belongs, as well as the relative percentages in cases of admixed peoples. It's a great tool for those individuals or groups interested in more deeply understanding their ancestry and lineage, or for certain people (i.e. some adoptees of mixed heritage) learning about their genetic ancestry.'[6]

DNA Print's AncestrybyDNA test was also licensed to a number of other testing companies for a short time. The AncestrybyDNA test was sold for a short period by Family Tree DNA starting from 21 November 2002, but was dropped by 2004.[7]

Forensic applications

DNAPrint's most controversial offering was DNAWitness, a product that uses the same Ancestry Informative Markers for a forensic purpose. By using the same ancestry tests on DNA evidence from crime scenes, DNAPrint Genomics claimed that this product could be used to 'infer elements of physical appearance from crime scene DNA and allow forensic investigators to "paint" molecular portraits of a suspect'.[8]

DNAWitness was used in 2007 to help narrow down suspects in the investigation into the 2002 murder of Pam Kinamore in Whiskey Bay, near Baton Rouge in Louisiana, USA. Though the police dragnet was initially looking for white suspects based on testimony from an early eyewitness, DNAPrint Genomics was later contracted to test the DNA sample, and concluded that the suspect was of 'substantial African ancestry'.[9][10] Duana Fullwiley, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and of African and African American Studies at Harvard University, has argued that the test is an "experimental modeling tool" and points out the test fails four of the five requirements for admissibility in a court of law.[11]


  1. Blaine Bettinger. DNAPrint Genomics Ceases Operations The Genetic Genealogist, 3 March 2009
  2. DNAPrint Genomics goes bust. GenomeWeb Daily News, 3 March 2009.
  3. Press release. DNAPrint Genomics acquires Trace Genetics of San Francisco. PR Newswire, 21 June 2005.
  4. DNA Diagnostics Center announces the release of AncestrybyDNA, a unique DNA test that reveals a person's ancestral origins. PRWeb, 13 November 2009.
  5. Anita Hamilton. Can DNA Reveal Your Roots? Time Magazine, 5 July 2005.
  6. DNAPrint Genomics website Internet Archive version dated 25 March 2009. Accessed 2 February 2013.
  7. In the News: Family Tree DNA announces the ANCESTRYbyDNA test Facts and Genes, November 21, 2002 Volume 1, Issue 5.
  8. DNAPrint Genomics to Exhibit Enhanced DNAWitness™ With Retinome™ 2.0 at International Convention of Police Chiefs DNAPrint press release published on Market Wire, 12 October 2006.
  9. Melba Newsome. The inconvenient science of racial DNA profiling. Wired magazine, 5 October 2007.
  10. Melba Newsome. A new DNA test Can ID a suspect's race. Wired magazine, 20 December 2007.
  11. Fullwiley, Duana. Can DNA "Witness" Race?: Forensic Uses of an Imperfect Ancestry Testing Technology. 2008. Genewatch 21(3-4): 12-14.

Academic papers

  • Gannett L (2014). Biogeographical ancestry and race. Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 47 : 173e184 (subscription required). The article includes background information on the history of DNAPrint.

External links

GNU head This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "DNAPrint Genomics".