What’s New in Autosomal DNA Transfers

UPDATES: Please see the list of updates to this post, which are listed at the bottom.

Because of recent changes at some of the testing companies that affect the ability to transfer raw DNA data between databases, I have updated my earlier post summarizing which test results can be uploaded to which other sites.  In the table below, find the company who performed your autosomal DNA test in the top row, then follow that column down to see which sites will accept transfers of your DNA data. The superscript numbers refer to notes below the table. As always, be sure to read the Terms of Service for each company/database before you transfer. (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.)

If you tested at:1 Ancestry
DNA

v1, v2
23&Me v1, v2 23&Me v3, v4 23&Me v5 Family Tree DNA My
Heritage
We
Gene
Living DNA
You can transfer to: AncestryDNA2 NO NO NO NO NO NO NO
23andMe3 NO NO NO NO NO NO NO
Family Tree DNA4 Yes but NO YES Not yet YES NO NO
MyHeritage5 YES YES YES Not yet YES NO NO
WeGene6 YES YES YES Yes but NO NO NO
Living DNA7 YES YES YES YES YES YES NO
DNA.Land8 YES YES YES YES YES YES NO No?
GEDmatch9 YES YES YES NO YES YES YES NO
GEDmatch Genesis10 YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES

If you cannot see the full width of the table, scroll to the bottom of this post for an image version.

(1) 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.

(2) AncestryDNA does not accept transfers of DNA data, but their results can be transferred to most other sites. They are like Type O blood for genetic genealogy—the (almost) universal donors. As of this writing, AncestryDNA’s databases contains more than 7 million people.

(3) 23andMe recently introduced version 5 (v5) of their test. V3 and v4 are almost universally accepted as transfers, while v5 (introduced August 2017) is different enough from previous versions so as to cause potential problems with matching. Their database currently contains more than 3 million people.

(4) Transfers to Family Tree DNA can see and contact their DNA matches for free. For a $19 fee, they can access additional tools, like ethnicity estimates and a chromosome browser. (Transfers for those who took the MyHeritage test are exempt from the fee.) Testers who used the newer versions of AncestryDNA (v2) and 23andMe (v4) will not receive distant, speculative matches at FTDNA. If they want distant matches, they can purchase a new Family Finder test. Most AncestryDNA transfers to Family Tree DNA work, although a few will fail to upload; if that happens, you can use MAPMY23 to convert the file into a format FTDNA can read. There is no timeframe for when they will accept 23andMe v5 tests. Their database is estimated at over 700,000 people.

(5) MyHeritage transfers are free and receive a list of DNA matches and ethnicity estimates. They plan to accept 23andMe v5 transfers soon. They did not immediately reply to a question about whether they would also accept Living DNA results. The size of their database is more than 1 million people.

(6) WeGene serves primarily an Asian market. They do not currently have relative matching but plan to add it in the future. WeGene accepts 23andMe v5 transfers, but they warn that some of their features may not work properly; they are working to resolve the issue. The size of their database is not known.

(7) Living DNA currently advertises the most detailed ethnicity estimates available. They began accepting DNA transfers as part of their One Family One World research project on 26 October 2017. Transfers will get access to relative matching when it goes live in summer 2018 and will be able to contact their matches, but they will not receive an ethnicity breakdown. The upload page is here. The size of their database is not known.

(8) DNA.Land is a non-profit research site run by academics. They accept transfers but do not offer DNA tests themselves. They provide relative matching, ethnicity estimates, and reports on wellness and physical traits. Their database contains over 80,000 people.

(9) If AncestryDNA and 23andMe are the universal donors of autosomal DNA testing, GEDmatch is the universal acceptor. Transfers and most tools are free, including relative matching, ethnicity (admixture) estimates, phasing, and archaic matches. Additional “Tier 1” tools available for a donation of $10 per month. Their database contains more than 800,000 uploads.

(10) GEDmatch Genesis is a beta (test) version of GEDmatch that allows DNA uploads of almost all autosomal test versions, including ones that are not compatible with the regular GEDmatch database. Genesis is a still in the experimental stage, and I don’t recommend it at this time for beginners or for work where precision is required.

If you can’t see the full width of the table on your browser, this screenshot may help.

 

 

Update history for this post:

Updated 9 February 2018 with a link to MAPMY23 and to include most recent database sizes.

Updated 19 Sep 2017 to show that FTDNA had begun taking transfers from MyHeritage and on 29 Sep 2017 to indicate that most transfers from AncestryDNA to FTDNA were working.

Updated 26 Oct 2016 to indicate that Living DNA had begun accepting transfers from 23andMe, AncestryDNA, Family Tree DNA, and MyHeritageDNA.

26 thoughts on “What’s New in Autosomal DNA Transfers”

  1. Hi Leah,

    This is a fabulous post, however I’m having problems reading all of the table, as the columns after MyHeritage appear to be cut off. I get the same result using the Chrome, Firefox and MS Edge browsers. Am I doing something wrong ?

    PS. Your affiliate link to ancestry takes me to the Danish version of the website – no idea why !

    1. Try adjusting the width of your browser window. There’s a point at which the right sidebar disappears/reappears, and you should be able to read the whole table then. If that doesn’t work, I’m going to have to get fancy and see if I can adjust the column widths. Please let me know.

      As for the affiliate link, I’m not sure what’s going on. It works for me, even when I log out of my Ancestry account. I’ll look into it. Thanks for letting me know.

    1. Thank you for letting me know. I tried to adjust the column widths, and I also added a screenshot of the table at the bottom of the post.

  2. Note that My Heritage does not test Israelis and does not accept transfers from people they identify as Israelis even if they are abroad.

    Among other things, it means that if you test with them, you will nt get matches with people in Israel.

    1. Thanks for posting. For now, I’m limiting my transfer table to sites that provide matching (or have promised it soon). Will gencove have that feature?

      1. Hi, we are working on one. We want to understand what are the problems with these services now. We also have an open API for other developers and researchers to build on top of us, so with your Gencove account you will be able to connect directly (with no uploads/downloads) to other third party services and research. But you decide. Now we have a few integrations but there are more to come.

  3. I tested through Ancestry in August. Unfortunately when I have attempted to upload my results into FTDNA, I get an error message that the file was corrupted. I have tried multiple times. I know of other people who have had this same issue. some people say that Ancestry has changed to a different chip. I don’t know if this is true.

    1. Apparently, Ancestry made some changes to their file format, and FTDNA has not yet updated their system to be able to accept the change. Some Ancestry users have had luck by opening the raw data file, changing the text in the header material that says version number from 1 to 2, and uploading the edited file. However, it doesn’t seem to work for everyone. I’ve been told FTDNA will fix it soon so they can accept all transfers again. In the meantime, you can transfer to any of the other sites that accept AncestryDNA result.

    1. No, no ETA for that. My guess is a year or more, if ever.

      Given the sale prices right now, I’d recommend testing at Ancestry and transferring those results to FTDNA. AncestryDNA is only $79 right now and will probably drop even more for the Black Friday weekend.

      http://thednageek.com/dna-tests/

  4. I tried to transfer from ancestryDNA (that i just received on 16 November 2017) to Family Tree DNA and received an error. I emailed and they responded to say Ancestry changed their format recently and they hope to be able to accept it.

  5. Look up a tool called mapmy23, it will accept the V5 data file downloaded from ancestry and convert to acceptable form for upload to ftdna and provide a downloadable zipped file to use instead of the one downloaded from Ancestry.com.

    1. Yes, mapmy23 has been getting good reviews for cases when FTDNA is not able to accept the v2 results from AncestryDNA. (Note that AncestryDNA is on v2; 23andMe is on v5. FTDNA is not accepting v5 from 23andMe, even if it’s been run through mapmy23.)

  6. Is there any consensus about who uses the best process? Scratching the “imputers” off the list, who has the best duplicating,etc process? You recommend going with Ancestry and uploading to FTDNA, but is it possible that FTDNA has a better process to begin with. For instance, is FTDNA going to have a better finished sample of my DNA if I use them for the entire process than if I upload Ancestry-processed DNA? And therefore FTDNA would give me a different (albeit no doubt quite similar) ethnicity breakdown depending on that?

    1. I would trust any of the companies to do the actual lab work (extracting and analyzing the DNA), so that’s not an issue. The companies use different “chips” (a lab tool) to get the data, and for that reason results can vary. The other reason you won’t get exactly the same results is that the companies analyze the data differently after they obtain it. For ethnicity estimates, they have different reference populations and different computer algorithms. They also have their own protocols for relative matching, so someone might share 100 cM with you at AncestryDNA and 125 cM at FTDNA.

      Because they use different chips, you’ll get more matches at FTDNA if you test directly with them than if you transfer from Ancestry, although the additional matches will all be distant relatives. If distant matches are important to you and you can afford to test directly with both companies, that might be the best approach for you.

      Finally, I wouldn’t dismiss the “imputers”. All of the companies will have to use imputation eventually, because new models of chip replace old ones over time.

      1. Thanks, DNA Geek. I can work around their differences in analyzation by transferring Ancestry to FTDNA and seeing both reads, but there’s no work-around for differences resulting from the chips themselves. I’ll buy both. I’m kind of interesting in seeing FTDNA’s read of the sample I give them against their read of the sample I give Ancestry.

        Can you write (or have you written) an entry about imputation. I was excited about my 23andMe v5 results, but now I’m not so sure. Some say that imputation uses some guess-work to fill in blanks.

  7. You recommend going with Ancestry and then uploading to FTDNA, which economically-speaking makes a lot of sense. This is what my mother did. But before I do that, I want to make sure that Ancestry does just as good a job extracting and processing the DNA as FTDNA.

    Are those two companies using an identical process, or may I get a different result from FTDNA depending on whether they, or Ancestry, process my sample?

    Likewise, is there any consensus about which company, out of all of them, has the best processing?

    1. “RB” asked a very similar question, so I will refer you to that answer (also in the comments to this post). The short answer is that I would trust any of the companies mentioned in this post to process my data.

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