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Sunday, November 25, 2007

What ancestry companies provide actual genetic data?

This question is inspired by an article in today's New York Times business section ("DNA Tests Find Branches but Few Roots"). The article is nice in that it compares the cost of ancestry testing by various companies, shows that results differ, and quotes Henry Louis Gates Jr. making reasoned assessments of the role that DNA testing can play. However, the article fails to say which companies provide customers with the raw genotype information that they can use to make their own assessments as more information becomes publicly available.

This map (from the article) shows the results returned to the author (Ron Nixon) from five different companies. Presumably, the actual genetic information they gathered is a bit less variable than their interpretation. If I paid to have my DNA analyzed, I would want the actual data so that I could make my own interpretations using the best information available from all sources.

The article lists 20 companies that will test your DNA for the purpose of learning about ancestry. Can anyone tell us which ones provide the client with the actual information (sequence or polymorphism data) that can be compared with published genetic demographic data?


  1. Steve,

    FTDNA and reveal actual data (either sequencing or SNP, based on the type of test). I'm not sure about the other three. Luckily, the majority of companies release raw genotype data rather than just comparison information.

    Many genetic genealogists choose to use public databases (such as mitosearch or Ysearch) to compare their data to others. Sometimes these databases are also supplemented with genotype information from scientific publications, as well.

  2. Here is a current list from AccessDNA of all the companies that offer ancestry dna testing.

  3. That seems to be a bad link. This is correct:
    (the URL ends 36, not 6).