Is Makin’ Moves in Genetic Genealogy

This morning I watched the online streaming video of the panel at RootsTech.  The format of the panel was conversational between President & CEO Tim Sullivan and other leaders within the company.

We all learned of some exciting developments in the pipeline for features to come at – all of which will be great assets.  I in particular was most intrigued by what I was hearing with regard to their plans for how to work with DNA in the future.  Though they did not explicitly outline details, from the overall conversation, it was easy to read in between the lines.

Specifically, Ancestry is looking at what is needed to leverage DNA as content.  What does this mean? It means that DNA will become part of the genealogical experience.  How might that happen? For that, I refer back to a blog post I made this past November as I discussed thoughts on how DNA content could be better leveraged by 23andMe.

In that blog post, I made several points, but overall, expressed a desire for DNA companies to use DNA data in smarter ways.  Those of us getting tested are able to pinpoint specific segments to specific ancestors, yet, our knowledge of this is not internally captured in the system, nor shareable with anyone else via the system.  If that were to change, and it was as easy to “tag” DNA segments to specific individuals in an online tree that also existed in the system, a whole new world could be opened up for us all.   I invite you to read the post for further information.

While I have done a lot of testing with 23andMe – I do anticipate that Ancestry may get into a lead position on this — as they demonstrated today at RootsTech for non-genealogical data, they already have infrastructure in place to make it possible for us to tag records, on the fly, and in very shareable ways.  

Let us tag our DNA. Then, let us attach it to specific individuals in our tree.  Doing so would then help realize an amazing transformation in how we now work with genetic information to move forward our genealogical cause. I am looking forward to see how their DNA testing service grows.


Update:  Blaine Bettinger has a stellar post further describing the session and the implications. It’s a must read article!

Comments (7)

  1. Loretta Haynes

    Awesome news! It is about time!

  2. taneya (Post author)

    I’m glad too!

  3. Patricia

    I find this really interesting. I have DNA tested many family members and quite a few have passed away. I used Family Tree DNA, I would wish that they would partner with them on this as Family Tree DNA already has such a huge data field.
    That would be my biggest wish!

  4. taneya (Post author)

    Hi Patricia – thx for the comment. I have not used ftDNA yet myself. I’m not sure the companies will collaborate to that extent though. You can use to compare across companies, but gedmatch requires individuals to submit their data themselves.

  5. anthony parker

    Hopefully’s admixture test doesnt miscalculate some African dna as “Asian” like 23andme’s test does.

  6. taneya (Post author)

    Hi Anthony – I’m far from an expert on admixture testing as that’s not my primary interest for doing the DNA tests, but it will be interesting to see how Ancestry differentiates themselves from the others. Thx for leaving the comment!

  7. Blaine Bettinger

    Thank you for the link to my article! I agree with you completely that the ability to capture our modifications and knowledge about our DNA within the system is vital for the next phase of genetic genealogy. I’m looking forward to learning more about’s autosomal DNA product.

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