From ISOGG Wiki
|Industry||Genealogy, DTC genetic testing|
|Founded||April 2000. Ceased trading December 2020|
|Founder(s)||Professor Bryan Sykes|
|Headquarters||Kidlington, Oxfordshire, England|
|Products||mtDNA Tests, Y-STR tests|
Oxford Ancestors was a commercial genetic genealogy company launched in April 2000 by Professor Bryan Sykes, a Professor of Human Genetics at the University of Oxford. Oxford Ancestors was set up to meet the anticipated demand for mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) tests from members of the public in response to the publication of Sykes' book The Seven Daughters of Eve (published spring 2001) which claimed to show that almost everyone in Europe was descended on the maternal line from one of seven female ancestors. The "daughters" or clans correspond to the most common mitochondrial DNA haplogroups in Europe. For a list of the clan mother names used by Oxford Ancestors for the mtDNA haplogroups see the ISOGG Wiki list Oxford Ancestors haplogroup nicknames.
Sykes was one of the first researchers to establish a link between the Y chromosome and surnames. His paper "Surnames and the Y chromosome" suggested that the surname Sykes had a single surname founder, even though written sources had predicted multiple origins. A Y chromosome test was also offered to the public on the company's launch. Oxford Ancestors similarly assign clan names to the Y-DNA haplogroups.
The company offered the following products:
- The MatriLine test sequenced a client's mitochondrial DNA and identified which of the "seven daughters" (haplogroups) was the client's own ancestor and described her imagined life. The Matriline test was a low-resolution HVR1 (hypervariable region 1) mitochondrial DNA test suitable for deep ancestry purposes only.
- Y-Clan was a basic Y-chromosome DNA test. The company deduced your "paternal clan and your ancient ancestral father". The Y-Clan test consisted of 26 Y-STR markers.
- Tribes of Britain service. If your paternal roots are in Britain or Ireland this Y-clan analysis test purported to tell you whether you are descended from a Celt, Saxon or Viking. The service was based on research from Professor Sykes' laboratory on the genetic history of Britain and Ireland, which was published in the book Blood of the Isles (published in the US and Canada as Saxons, Vikings and Celts: The Genetic Roots of Britain and Ireland). Sample Tribes of Britain reports can be seen here and here. Note, however, that these reports were for entertainment value only and did not have any scientific basis.
- Make mine a double helix by Max Davidson, The Telegraph, 12 April 2008
- Curiosity drives the gene genie to a £1m turnover Report by Martin Baker, Daily Telegraph 14 February 2008.
- DNA search for 'father' Christmas by Paul Rincon, BBC News, 12 November 2005
- DNA traces famous ancestor BBC News, 19 September 2003. A study using DNA to trace descent from John Clough who emigrated from London to Massachusetts in 1635.
- Ancestors reunited: 10 numbers that can trace your family tree by Chris Gray, The Independent, August 2002.
- Profile of David Ashworth of Oxford Ancestors
- Genghis Khan or not? That is the question Tom Robinson, 16 June 2006 (Internet Archive version). See also the story in the New York Times Falling from Genghis's family tree by Nicholas Wade, 21 June 2006
- My DNA lineages - from Oxford Ancestors Nigel Seal. Wading through Treacle blog, 28 November 2008.
- Campbell KD. Geographic patterns of haplogroup R1b in the British Isles. Journal of Genetic Genealogy 2007; 3: 1-13. An independent analysis of the data from the Oxford Genetic Atlas Project.
- Bryan Sykes and Catherine Irven. Surnames and the Y Chromosome. American Journal of Human Genetics, April 2000, Vol 66, issue 4, pp1417–1419.
- Ferry G. [https://www.theguardian.com/science/2020/dec/18/bryan-sykes-obituary Bryan Sykes The Guardian, 18 December 2020.
- The following announcement was published on the Oxford Ancestors website on 18th December 2020: "It is with great sadness we announce the death of Professor Bryan Sykes on 10 December 2020. Bryan was the inspiration for the founding of Oxford Ancestors in 2001 and all the science behind it. His passion for translating the excitement of scientific discovery into enjoyment for all was immeasurable. In the last few months, Bryan made sure that systems and training were in place within Oxford Ancestors such that the Company could operate in his absence except in cases of unusual results or unusual queries needing his expert interpretation. Nevertheless Oxford Ancestors will cease trading on 31 December 2020. All orders placed up to and including this date will be processed as usual. All samples received up to 31 March 2021 will be analysed and results reported in the usual manner. Access to the company database will remain open until 30 September 2021. Communications should use the webform facility accessed through our website here."
- Shriver MD, Kittles RA. Genetic ancestry and the search for personalized genetic histories. Nature Reviews Genetics 2004: 5: 611-618.
- Oxford Ancestors official site
- Oxford Genetic Atlas Project results The results are available as PDF files which are downloadable from the archived version of the website in the Internet Archive
- 13-13-23 distribution Leo Little's compilation of the distribution of DYS390=23, DYS392=13, and DYS393=13 in YHRD and in Blood of the Isles (by B.C. Sykes, Bantam Press, 2006)
- mtDNA clan names and descriptions used by Oxford Ancestors (retrieved from the Web Archive)
- Y-DNA clan names and descriptions used by Oxford Ancestors (retrieved from the Web Archive)
- Wikipedia article on Bryan Sykes