Monday, 27 November 2017

Cyber Monday DNA Sales

$49 DNA tests are being offered by several of the major DNA testing companies, but on a very limited time basis - the offers expire at midnight tonight.  At which point things revert back to the holiday sale prices.

This is the lowest price that I have ever seen on autosomal DNA tests, and it is unlikely that we will see this price again until US Thanksgiving 2018.  So if you are considering testing, order your kit today.

I have the following Family Tree DNA discount coupons available on a first come - first served basis.  All are one-time use and expire on 3 December 2017.
R29QNU1GOF0J       $25 off big-Y

R29I43NL6BYP        $20 off Y37, Y67, or Y111

R29UY246IF7E         $30 off Y-DNA111

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Family Tree DNA - Sale Coupons expiring 26 November 2017

Feel free to use these single-use coupons from Family Tree DNA, which expire 26 November 2017, on a first come first served basis.

R24P3N2R9B37       $50 off big-Y
R24Y7I54LD2H       $40 off DNA111

R24HSRAMTVKC   $40 off DNA111

Monday, 13 November 2017

DNA Test Holiday Sales Have Begun

With American Thanksgiving & Black Friday a little over a week away, the major DNA testing companies have started their annual holiday sales on autosomal DNA testing.  But don't buy solely on price!  Read my previous post about the various testing companies' products before making a purchase decision.

The chart below shows the pricing today on each testing company's US website.  There is no guarantee that there will be a sale today in every geographic area.  e.g. does not show a DNA sale at this time, and is selling their DNA test for $129 Cdn.

Pricing varies between $US 49 and $US 79 per kit, with the best price being from 23andMe - $US 49 per kit, if you purchase 2 kits.  What better holiday gift for a couple!

My Heritage DNA and Living DNA are relative newcomers to DNA testing, so their databases are not yet very large, but both are currently accepting free transfers of DNA test results from other testing companies, so this is another opportunity to fish in more ponds, ponds that I expect will become much larger as time goes on.

My recommendation for this year - If you are buying one kit, buy from Family Tree DNA;  but if you are buying two kits, buy from 23andMe and pay the $US19 to then transfer the result to Family Tree DNA - two tests on two sites for $US 136 (effectively $US 34 per test).

Family Tree DNA is also offering sale pricing on various Y-DNA and mitochondrial DNA tests.  Click here for details.  In addition to their sale pricing, Family Tree DNA emails weekly specials to existing customers, discounting some products even further, through promo codes.  You are welcome to use the following promo codes, which have an expiry date of 19 November 2017, and can only be used once, so it is first come first served.  Good luck!
  • mtDNA Plus or mtFull Sequence        $10 off     promo code R23QEQJ1VQ6B  
  • mtDNA Plus or mtFull Sequence        $10 off     promo code R23RK3CA2I6I
  • Big Y                                                    $25 off     promo code R23A8ILV8Q3D
I will post other promo codes (from all of the above companies) as I receive them.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

DNA Matches by Testing Company

Ancestry has recently announced that their DNA database now includes over 6 million individuals.  As Ancestry has the largest autosomal DNA database they are happy to announce these milestones, but accurate information on the database size of the other DNA testing companies is more difficult to obtain.

To provide some idea of how many matches you can expect if you test with the various DNA testing companies, I have compiled the data for my own DNA and my wife's DNA into a chart to show how many matches the major DNA testing companies have identified for each of us, and within that list of matches, how many matches I have been able to confirm match my paper research.

As Ancestry has the largest database, you would expect that it would generate the largest quantity of matches.  This is confirmed for both Marlene's sample and my sample.

You would also expect that Ancestry would generate the largest number of matches confirmable by paper research.  This is true for my sample, and would also be true for Marlene's sample, if she did not have a group of 5 matches on 23andMe that are all siblings / children of those siblings, which skews her data.

But the percentage of Ancestry matches that have been confirmed against paper research is certainly not as great as the percentage that have been confirmed for our samples on 23andMe and Family Tree DNA.  There are a number of reasons why this could be -

  • With such a large number of matches on Ancestry, I simply have not investigated enough of them to confirm the match.
  • Ancestry uses a lower threshold of the amount of shared DNA that constitutes a match, than the other testing companies do, but those more distant matches are more difficult to confirm against paper research.
  • For those Ancestry users who have public family trees, I cannot view their family tree, as I do not have a paid monthly subscription to Ancestry's historical records service, making it more difficult to identify a common surname or even a region where our common ancestor may have lived.
  • Ancestry does not identify which segments are shared on which chromosomes (23andMe and Family Tree DNA do), making it more difficult to see which ancestral line we may connect on.
My advise continues to be to test with as many DNA testing companies as you can afford, as they all will generate matches not found on the other testing companies' sites, but regardless, upload your DNA result to

GEDmatch facilitates comparison of DNA samples from multiple DNA testing companies on one site, but requires those who have taken a DNA test to upload their raw DNA data file to the site (a free service).  GEDmatch limits the number of matches that are displayed to 2000, so you may not see a distant relative in your list of matches, if the amount of shared DNA puts them below number 2000 in your list of matches.

I complied the chart below to show the percentage of our GEDmatch matches that come from each DNA testing company.  More than half of our matches on GEDmatch are from Ancestry, but not the 90% that you might expect given the number of matches in each company's database.  

My best guess is that a lot of people take an Ancestry DNA test to obtain their ethnicity breakdown, but do not pursue searching for DNA relatives.

I will update these charts at some point in the future, perhaps when Ancestry hits 7 million DNA samples, but meanwhile I will continue trying to confirm the ancestral connection for our DNA matches from all testing platforms.