The genetic genealogy testing companies were out in force at the i4GG conference this past weekend in San Diego! Representatives from Living DNA and MyHeritage gave hour-long talks on Saturday, and people from Family Tree DNA, AncestryDNA, and 23andMe spoke on Sunday. (Note: I earn a small commission if you purchase through the links in this post. The cost is the same for you. Click here for more information.)
They all gave polished and informative presentations, and I made a point to see them all so that I could report back to my readers. This is the first in a series of five (in the order of the original presentations) on what they had to say.
Katie Welka, Product Specialist at Living DNA
Living DNA is the newest player in our market, and their presentation was the first of the five companies in attendance at the conference. They boast the greatest number of world regions (80) in their admixture report. However, a disproportionate number of them are from the U.K., skewing the ethnicity estimates for those of us with ancestry from elsewhere in Western Europe. To correct for that problem, Living DNA is actively pursuing two regional projects: one in Germany and one in Ireland. These two projects will allow Living DNA to provide better regional breakdowns within those two countries. I am eagerly awaiting that update, as I have both German and Irish ancestors.
Additional refinements to their ethnicity estimates will result from their One Family One World project, which combines transfers of raw data from other companies with their own database of tested customers to expand their reference populations. Associated with their One Family One World project, Living DNA offers an educational program that integrates DNA results with cultural awareness to improve cross-cultural empathy and understanding.
Living DNA does not currently offer relative matching. That feature will be rolled out in a private beta test soon. Paying customers are expected to receive the matching feature early in 2018, with transfer customers gaining access in mid-2018. Initially, matching will be autosomal only, although Living DNA is considering yDNA and mtDNA matching at a later date. Katie Welka did not say how large their database is at the moment.
Hardcore genetic genealogists will be pleased to hear that Living DNA has a chromosome browser in the works. Not only that, it will include regional painting, so you can see which segments of DNA you inherited from which regions of the world. I am very excited about that!
Finally, the company is working to incorporate family trees into their system. They have not yet decided whether this will take the form of links to family trees hosted elsewhere on the internet or trees that are integrated within their system.
I look forward to seeing how this company grows.
Other Posts in this Series
You can see what the other companies had to say at i4GG by following these links: