What’s Coming Down the Pike: Living DNA

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.

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.


Furthering Your Research With Living DNA

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:

10 thoughts on “What’s Coming Down the Pike: Living DNA”

  1. 23andMe has had a chromosome browser that shows different ethnicity areas on each chromosome for a long time. It works well.

  2. I paid for my LivingDNA sample kit on 3/2/2018, sent it in, sample was received on 3/16/2018, and received a notice by email date 3/27/2018 that the results were estimated to be forthcoming o/a 6/18/2018. That’s the last I’ve heard from LivingDNA. Is there a problem? Did I just get ripped off of my $108.00?

    1. Living DNA is a reputable company, so I wouldn’t say that you got “ripped off”. That said, you should havE your results by now, so I would contact their customer service and ask them to follow up on your kit. Please let me know how it turns out.

  3. OK, Ilogged on and found my results. Shouldn’t LivingDNA have at least sent me a heads -up email?

    Now that I have my results I must say that there’s some aspects I don’t quite understand. The Family Ancestry Overview reflects 90% Great Britain and Ireland; 8.6% Europe (North and West) ; 1.4% Europe (East). However, my Motherline mtDNA, Haplogroup: U5; Subclad: U52d1 reflects significantly greatest concentrations in Saami (58%) followed by Norway (56%), Sweden (26%), Finland (17%), on down to England (9%) and Germany (9%). Furthermore, the mtDNA Migration Map shows U moving north from its easternmost Black Sea area up into the Ukraine, then branching north to the Baltic/East Prussia then west to southwest France.

    My Y-DNA, Haplogroup: I1, Subclade: I-Z2535 reflects a similar story (i.e., concentrations in Sweden, Norway, Denmark Finland, ranging from 38% down to 28%), but England and Germany only come in at 15% each. As for migration, very similar, splitting off from F in southeast Iraq/northern Saudi Arabia northwest to Turkey, up through eastern Europe to Czech/Slovakia with a branching off through northern Italy, France, Norway ending in Sweden.

    The reasonsI bring this up are: (1) given the migration routes of U5 and I1, juxtaposed with (2) my family ancestry (as I believe it to be), how do I come up as 90% GB and Ireland and only 8.6% Europe (North and West)?

    My paternal grandparents were: German (grandfather’s parents were from Wendlingen am Neckar, Baden Wuertemberg (Pfeiffer) and Woernitz, Bayern (Beck); grandmother’s parents were both of Scottish decent (Cinclair or Sinclair and Munson).
    My maternal grandparents were: grandfather’s father (Eggert) was a German missionary (from western Rheinlandwestfalen) sent to Southwest Africa. There he married grandfather’s mother, the daughter of an English missionary (Edwards). The family emigrated to the USA in 1869. My maternal grandfather married a woman of English decent (nee Hoary).

    So, it would seem that I am pretty much of German, English, Scottish mix, which would be supportive of the Family Overview percentages, but how does that square with the mtDNA and Y-DNA coverages…or am I trying to compare apples to oranges?

    1. The ethnicity estimates are based on autosomal DNA, so they can’t be compared directly to the yDNA and mtDNA haplogroup information.

      I wouldn’t take the British Isles estimates too seriously. Living DNA, like some of the other companies, overestimates it for many of us. For example, I’m about 17% Irish and 1.5% British, but Ancestry estimates me as 27% and 23% respectively, FTDNA as 70% combined, and Living DNA as 2% Irish and 47% English. 23andMe and MyHeritage are both spot on, at least with respect to the British Isles.

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