Friday, January 27, 2012

Update on the new autosomal DNA test from Ancestry...

CeCe Moore reports that claims to be making progress toward becoming a viable third provider of autosomal DNA testing to the genealogical community. 23andMe and Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) have provided these tests since early 2010. Check CeCe's recent blog post for the latest news: Your Genetic Genealogist: Update on the new autosomal DNA test from Ancestry... 

This development can be a very healthy development for those seeking to use DNA testing to identify distant cousins. However, this diversity of testing will, at least temporarily, further divide those who have tested at one lab from those who have tested at others. The main value of any kind of DNA testing for genealogical purposes is to be able to compare the results with others who have tested. If each lab maintains a proprietary database of its results it is very difficult for most genealogists to make meaning comparisons and to potentially make matches with those who have tested at other labs. Utilities that allow user friendly and meaningful comparisons of individuals, independent of which lab did the testing, will become increasingly important as the number of labs offering such tests increases. 

Such tools to compare results between laboratories will eventually emerge. However, testing companies may not see it as being to their competitive advantage to provide them. Consumers need to encourage the development of such tools -- whether they are provided by the testing companies or by independent entities.

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