Somehow, I missed the announcement that Family Tree DNA now accepts uploads from MyHeritage.
Other people may have missed a few announcements too, or don’t understand the options, so I’ve created a quick and easy reference that shows which testing vendors’ files can be uploaded to which other vendors.
Just so that everyone is on the same page, if you test your autosomal DNA at one vendor, Vendor A, some other vendors allow you to download your raw data file from Vendor A and transfer your results to their company, Vendor B. The transfer to Vendor B is either free or lower cost than testing from scratch. One site, GedMatch, is not a testing vendor, but is a contribution/subscription comparison site.
Vendor B then processes your DNA file that you imported from Vendor A, and your results are then included in the database of Vendor B, which means that you can obtain your matches to other people in Vendor B’s data base who tested there originally and others who have also transferred. You can also avail yourself of any other tools that Vendor B provides to their customers. Tools vary widely between companies. For example, Family Tree DNA, GedMatch and 23andMe provide chromosome browsers, while Ancestry does not. All 3 major vendors (Family Tree DNA, Ancestry and 23andMe) have developed unique offerings (of varying quality) to help their customers understand the messages that their unique DNA carries.
Ok, Who Loves Whom?
The vendors in the left column are the vendors performing the autosomal DNA tests. The vendor row (plus GedMatch) across the top indicates who accepts upload transfers from whom, and which file versions. Please consider the notes below the chart.
(Chart updated September 28, 2017)
Please note that on August 9, 2017, 23and Me began processing on the Illumina GSA chip which is not compatible with earlier versions. As of late September 2017, only GedMatch accepts their upload and only in their Genesis sandbox area, not the normal production matching area. This is due to the small overlap area with existing chips. You can read more about the GSA chip and its ramifications here
- Family Tree DNA accepts uploads from both other major vendors (Ancestry and 23andMe) but the versions that are compatible with the chip used by FTDNA will have more matches at Family Tree DNA. 23andMe V3, Ancestry V1 and MyHeritage results utilize the same chip and format as FTDNA. 23andMe V4 and Ancestry V2 utilize different formats utilizing only about half of the common locations. Family Tree DNA still allows free transfers and comparisons with other testers, but since there are only about half of the same DNA locations in common with the FTDNA chip, matches will be fewer. Additional functions can be unlocked for a one time $19 fee.
- Neither Ancestry, 23andMe nor Genographic accept transfer data from any other vendors.
- MyHeritage does accept transfers, although that option is not easy to find. I checked with a MyHeritage representative and they provided me with the following information: “You can upload an autosomal DNA file from your profile page on MyHeritage. To access your profile page, login to your MyHeritage account, then click on your name which is displayed towards the top right corner of the screen. Click on “My profile”. On the profile page you’ll see a DNA tab, click on the tab and you’ll see a link to upload a file.” MyHeritage has also indicated that they will be making ethnicity results available to individuals who transfer results into their system in May, 2017.
- LivingDNA has just released an ethnicity product and does not have DNA matching capability to other testers. Living DNA imputes DNA locations that they don’t test, but the initial download only includes the DNA locations actually tested.
- WeGene’s website is in Chinese and they are not a significant player, but I did include them because GedMatch accepts their files. WeGene’s website indicates that they accept 23andme uploads, but I am unable to determine which version or versions. Given that their terms and conditions and privacy and security information are not in English, I would be extremely hesitant before engaging in business. I would not be comfortable in trusting on online translation for this type of document. SNPedia reports that WeGene has data quality issues.
- GedMatch is not a testing vendor, so has no entry in the left column, but does provide tools and accepts all versions of files from each vendor that provides files, to date, with the exception of the Genographic Project. GedMatch is free (contribution based) for many features, but does have more advanced functions available for a $10 monthly subscription. The GedMatch Genesis platform is a sandbox area for files from vendors that cannot be put into production today due to matching and compatibility issues.
- The Genographic Project tested their participants at the Family Tree DNA lab until November 2016, when they moved to the Helix platform, which performs an exome test using a different chip.
- The Ancestry V2 chip began processing in May 2016.
- The 23andMe V3 chip began processing in December 2010. The 23andMe V4 chip began processing in November 2013. Their V5 chip August 9, 2017.
Please be aware that vendors that accept different versions of other vendors files can only work with the tested locations that are in the files generated by the testing vendors unless they use a technique called imputation.
For example, Family Tree DNA tests about 700,000 locations which are on the same chip as MyHeritage, 23andMe V3 and Ancestry V1. In the later 23andMe V4 test, the earlier 23andMe V2 and the Ancestry V2 tests, only a portion of the same locations are tested. The 23andMe V4 and Ancestry V2 chips only test about half of the file locations of the vendors who utilize the Illumina OmniExpress chip, but not the same locations as each other since both the Ancestry V2 and 23andMe V4 chips are custom. 23andMe and Ancestry both changed their chips from the OmniExpress version and replaced genealogically relevant locations with medically relevant locations, creating a custom chip.
Update: In August 2017, 23andMe introduced their V5 chip which has only about 20% overlap with previous chips.
I know this is confusing, so I’ve created the following chart for chip and test compatibility comparison.
(Chart updated Sept. 28, 2017)
You can easily see why the FTDNA, Ancestry V1, 23andMe V3 and MyHeritage tests are compatible with each other. They all tested utilizing the same chip. However, each vendor then applies their own unique matching and ethnicity algorithms to customer results, so your results will vary with each vendor, even when comparing ethnicity predictions or matching the same two individuals to each other.
Apples to Apples to Imputation
It’s difficult for vendors to compare apples to apples with non-compatible files.
I wrote about imputation in the article about MyHeritage, here and also more generally, here. In a nutshell, imputation is a technique used to infer the DNA for locations a vendor doesn’t test (or doesn’t receive in a transfer file from another vendor) based on the location’s neighboring DNA and DNA that is “normally” passed together as a packet.
However, the imputed regions of DNA are not your DNA, and therefore don’t carry your mutations, if any.
I created the following diagram when writing the MyHeritage article to explain the concept of imputation when comparing multiple vendors’ files showing locations tested, overlap and imputed regions. You can click to enlarge the graphic.
Family Tree DNA has chosen not to utilize imputation for transfer files and only compares the actual DNA locations tested and uploaded in vendor files, while MyHeritage has chosen to impute locations for incompatible files. Family Tree DNA produces fewer, but accurate matches for incompatible transfer files. MyHeritage continues to have matching issues.
MyHeritage may be using imputation for all transfer files to equalize the files to a maximum location count for all vendor files. This is speculation on my part, but is speculation based on the differences in matches from known compatible file versions to known matches at the original vendor and then at MyHeritage.
I compared matches to the same person at MyHeritage, GedMatch, Ancestry and Family Tree DNA. It appears that imputed matches do not consistently compare reliably. I’m not convinced imputation can ever work reliably for genetic genealogy, because we need our own DNA and mutations. Regardless, imputation is in its infancy today and due to the Illumina GSA chip replacing the OmniExpress chip, imputation will be widely used within the industry shortly for backwards compatibility.
To date, two vendors are utilizing imputation. LivingDNA is using imputation with the GSA chip for ethnicity, and MyHeritage for DNA matching.
Your best results are going to be to test on the platform that the vendor offers, because the vendor’s match and ethnicity algorithms are optimized for their own file formats and DNA locations tested.
That means that if you are transferring an Ancestry V1 file, a 23andMe V3 file or a MyHeritage file, for example, to Family Tree DNA, your matches at Family Tree DNA will be the same as if you tested on the FTDNA platform. You do not need to retest at Family Tree DNA.
However, if you are transferring an Ancestry V2 file or 23andMe V4 file, you will receive some matches, someplace between one quarter and half as compared to a test run on the vendor’s own chip. For people who can’t be tested again, that’s certainly better than nothing, and cross-chip matching generally picks up the strongest matches because they tend to match in multiple locations. For people who can retest, testing at Family Tree DNA would garner more matches and better ethnicity results for those with 23andMe V2 and V4 tests as well as Ancestry V2 tests.
For absolutely best results, swim in all of the major DNA testing pools, test as many relatives as possible, and test on the vendor’s Native chip to obtain the most matches. After all, without sharing and matching, there is no genetic genealogy!
I receive a small contribution when you click on some of the links to vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.
Thank you so much.
DNA Purchases and Free Transfers
- Family Tree DNA
- MyHeritage DNA only
- MyHeritage DNA plus Health
- MyHeritage FREE DNA file upload
- 23andMe Ancestry
- 23andMe Ancestry Plus Health
- Legacy Tree Genealogists for genealogy research
More than a year ago I transferred my Geno 2.0 data to FTDNA, where I had also tested my autosomal DNA. Nothing seemed to show up as additional matches due to the Geno 2.0 data transfer. I had an absurd exchange of emails with the people at FTDNA trying to find out how I could identify where in the FTDNA results I could see the data from Geno 2.0. It was like having a conversation with Sean Spicer. I finally gave up and still don’t know how I benefited from transferring the data from Geno 2.0 to FTDNa. If I even did at all.
There’s not much to transfer from Nat Geo. Generally, just haplogroups.
I also did what you did and only received negative SNP from Geno that ftdna had as ?
But mine failed many times via auto…so ftdna did the transfer manually
One thing that I recently found out is that FamilyTreeDNA did my NatGeo testing back in 2012. In chatting with them I discovered that they have the NatGeo sample on hand and will maintain them for 25 years. They are able to retest with their standards and I am currently waiting on results for y67 (NatGeo transferred as y12) and Family Finder.
I do not understand Roberta’s reply “There’s not much to transfer from Nat Geo. Generally, just haplogroups.”. I thought Geno 2.0 tested hundreds of thousands of loci. Why this is “not much” could use a fuller explanation
I checked with Family Tree DNA to be sure my understanding was correct. The Geno chip is a custom chip and different from the chip utilized in their first test, and different from the one used by anyone else. Therefore, little comes over with the Geno 2.0 test. Here’s what FTDNA said.
When a person transfers their Geno 2.0 kit to Family Tree DNA they would only receive their haplogroups meaning Y-DNA and mtDNA for males and mtDNA for females. With the Y-DNA all of the positive SNPs are transferred over as well to help with refining the Y-DNA haplogroup. There are no STRs or mtDNA results that are transferred over to compare with other people, and if people wanted to do further testing with FTDNA for this information they can purchase additional testing.
Thanks, Roberta, for explaining what comes over from Geno 2.0. It seems that there is very little, if any, point to transferring the data from Geno 2.0 if we have had FTDNA do our autosomal DNA. It seems like it will not find us any matches that FTDNA hasn’t already found.
I made a Y – 12 markers and full sequence MtDNA test. Recently I made the Family Finder test and the results were really marvelous but when the new version of my origins tool came it blew my mind out.
Will updating my tests with a Big Y test could refine even more my Autosomal DNA results?
Thanks in advance for your accurate response;
Ethnicity are just estimates. The Big Y will only refine the Y DNA back in time, giving you a more refined haplogroup. I don’t think it will help with the ethnicity.
FYI — Family Tree DNA currently does *not* accept transfers from MyHeritage. Only the following are accepted currently:
1. 23andMe© V3
2. 23andMe© V4
3. AncestryDNA™ V1
4. AncestryDNA™ V2
When I inquired about this last week, this is the response I received from FTDNA customer support (on 4/6/2017):
“We do have plans to allow myHeritage transfers but do not have an estimated date this will be available.”
I just spoke with FTDNA’s Director of Development who indicated that while they were initially accepting downloads beginning on March 26th, MyHeritage has currently disabled the downloads and is working on an issue. They hope that this is resolved shortly and are ready when MyHeritage once again makes downloads available. Obviously I didn’t know that and have added an update note in the article. Thank you for the heads up.
I was assisting a potential group project member who already had his raw data file downloaded from MyHeritage, but FTDNA still will not accept it… Perhaps there is an issue with the current format of the download file from MyHeritage? In any case, I certainly hope it will be resolved soon. 🙂
just uploaded my raw DNA to FTDna and was wondering why my Kit # wasn’t showing up in the groups I joined. Thanks for confirming!
Maybe it hasn’t been grouped, it’s on a second page, or the admin has to approve first.
What is going on at FTDNA? I can’t access any of the kits that I manage! I have been calling them for two days now and only get a busy signal. I am “dead in the water” until I get this problem solved!
I am accessing my kits just fine. Have you tried a different browser or clearing your cache?
Any thoughts on the DNA.Land download?
They don’t test, so there is no download. You can upload there, but they only do ethnicity. Be sure you understand that the purpose of their site is to gather your DNA data for medical purposes, including for products that Big Pharm can later sell. At least they are very straightforward about this.
Didn’t know that’s why I asked your thoughts on them.
geni.com does sell tests but they are the myheritage tests. you can transfer ancestrydna, familytreedna and 23andme to geni.com. Even though it is now owned by myheritage the matches at geni are only for those who have dna tests purchased or transferred. The matches are different than those on myheritage.
I have seen a few posts about people uploading genes for good at gedmatch. I understand the matches might be less because the file has tested less in comparison to the other companies. However it does offer a free test for someone who does not have the funds to purchase a test and can get them on gedmatch if that is the goal.
I hope this isn’t a silly question. I am new to this. But you speak of V1, V2, V3, V4 files which the different companies use. I’ve taken the AncestryDNA test and the Full Sequence mtDNA at Familytreedna. How do I tell which “V” number is associated with the tests?
I’ve updated the second chart to reflect the dates that the various versions went into effect. Also, if you upload to GedMatch, they tell you in your comparisons which kits are which versions.
I transferred my FamilyTreeDNA.com raw data to MyHeritage.com. I found a new 2nd cousin, Yeah. But haven’t been able to figure out if they have a chromosome browser or any other tools that would make going through the effort worth it. So far only 109 matches and most of them look like transfers from Ancestry.com. I have transferred a couple of kits that I manage at Ancestry.com to FamilyTreeDNA.com. To me, FamilyTreeDNA.com is the way to go for the tools you gain for the new lower transfer fee. I’m still holding out for a chromosome browser at Ancestry.com. Their new Genetic Communities is interesting, but a chromosome browser would have required less coding and data mining and to me, would have been much more beneficial.
Thanks for providing us a forum for discussion,
There is no chromosome browser or other tools at MyHeritage.
Jerry its okay to “hold out for a chromosome browser” but please dont hold your breath waiting for one.
My take is that AncestryDNA is actually proud that they dont provide you with a Browser. They have protected your privacy. And avoided pile-ups, which I dont see has anything to do with a Browser.
Here is an article relatively favorable to AncestryDNA, followed by several comments that generally do not accept the company rationale.
FTDNA and My Heritage seem to be using the same vendor so I assume comparing those two companies should get the same results.
They use the same chip, but their matching algorithms and such are their own and the same results are not guaranteed. So far, at MyHeritage, the results are not the same as at FTDNA. However, if you transfer a MyHeritage file to FTDNA, the file is absolutely compatible.
I attempted to transfer a file from MyHertiage to FTDNA, and the file was rejected by FTDNA.
I don’t think they accept them yet.
MyHeritage use Ftdna labs for their DNA, but ask for different areas to gather the data…………………
Am I correct in concluding that tests on Ancestry’s V2 chip when uploaded to Gedmatch will only match FTDNA kits on Gedmatch for the in common locations, as is the case for V2 uploads to FTDNA?
Yes. They can’t match segments that aren’t tested.
Did not Myhertiage state they would do ancestry results for data transferred to them ?………for Free
A quick question that shows my ignorance of DNA: I tested on Ancestry V1 and my mum on Ancestry V2. Both are uploaded now to FamilyTreeDNA, and we show the canonical 3400 cM of shared DNA. However, if the chips for V1 and V2 tested some different segments, why do we still match at this requisite parent/child level?
Hi. Roberta, Ancestry autosomal DNA marker measurements imported to FTDNA drop out remote cousin matches as we know. I have recently seen estimates of remote matches as a percentage of total matches. About 88% – 92%. That would give a usable proportion of ancestry match raw data for further analysis of about 10%, rather than 40$ or more.
Interested in your comments.
Sorry. That was 40% or more estimated in the posted item above.
I shall try to find who blogged the calculations for the matches drop-out.
Mine is about 25% for my V2 transfer kit.
I was accepted into a German DNA Research project last week at LivingDNA and they accepted my AncestryDNA raw data.
Hello Cornelia, I have a colleague living in Australia with German ancestry. He has data obtained from Ancestry.com and would be interested in joining the German DNA Research project – can you provide a web link or email address?
I have been searching around for more information concerning Living DNA. I was drawn to the fact that their ethnicity tool is a lot more comprehensive, particularly for more detailed regions within the UK.
However, I still haven’t been able to figure out what the exact type test that they offer. I have ssen people call it an “all-in-one” test and I have read through their website but it is unclear what this means: is it combined Y-mT and Autosomal? Or just Y-and mT-DNA? Does anyone know?
They also don’t seem to have any tools to help analysis, which makes me suspect that Autosomal is not covered in their kit.
The report only provides ethnicity plus base haplogroups. It is autosomal, but it does not give matches for genealogy. There are no tools. I’ll be reviewing this shortly. I think it is best used by people in the British Isles with a majority or all of their ancestry there.
I was a bit thrown my their description of the patrilineal results when it explained that only males would have these results. This sounds to me like a Y-DNA test. I’m looking forward to your review!
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I tested with Helix/NatGeo in Jan 2017. Does anyone know if I have access to any raw data through NatGeo Genographic Project?
No, you do not.
You do now. But you have to pay $499.00 for it…
In researching genetic testing for a gift, I’m a little overwhelmed! What would be your recommendation for the best test to start with and then be able to transfer in order to maximize genealogical results? From what I’m reading, it looks like Ancestry is the most compatible, and even though it would transfer with Family Tree, you would not be able to get the male lineage unless you tested with Family Tree also? Any advice would be appreciated! Thanks!
This article should help you. https://dna-explained.com/2017/04/24/which-dna-test-is-best/
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Just to let you know I was able to transfer my Livingdna autosomal results to Gedmatch.
It wasn’t completely successful as the “one to many” facility isn’t available,
however i can use most every other function ok including the Admixture and population search,
which for me is the best part of Gedmatch.
My mother was adopted. Through Ancestry DNA I found a “first cousin”. However, she believes she is not my first cousin, but instead my mother’s half sister/my aunt. My mother has no desire to participate in DNA testing. Are we able to upload our raw DNA to any website to determine if we are in fact aunt/niece vs. “first cousins”I am just starting this incredible journey. Thank you for any suggestions!
Yes, I would suggest that you contact http://www.dnaadoption.com and ask for a search angel to help you. You can upload to GedMatch and Family Tree DNA for free, and you will be able to utilize segment information. The first cousin and half sibling ranges are given in a chart in this article: https://dna-explained.com/2016/08/04/concepts-relationship-predictions/
There is a small part of the range that overlaps. Let’s hope they aren’t in that range.
I had my brother tested through SMGF back in 2006. I am really a novice with DNA and need help recovering his data into a site that I can access. I have a printout of his data from Genetree but I don’t believe it exists any longer. At some point the file was transferred to FTDNA Ysearch and I have that record but FTDNA says they have nothing to do with Ysearch and while I can print the data with the user ID I can’t do anything else with it. The site is basically locked up.
My brother passed away in 2015 and I can’t retest him. The family name changed because of German name changing practices in the 1700-1800’s. I am unable to trace the family beyond when the name was changed and would love to find a match to confirm the real family name.
My question is does any company accept the numerical data without the actual DNA sample?
Thank you for any help or direction you can give me.
I believe that Family Tree DNA does, but you may have to do additional testing to fill in locations not offered by SMGF. I don’t know for sure. If that is the case, then you won’t be able to do that, obviously. Please call them and ask. Otherwise, no, just Y Search.
FYI — I noticed today that the autosomal DNA transfer page on the FTDNA site now indicates that transfers from MyHeritage are finally being accepted again. 🙂
Roberta, THANK YOU for all your good work. I don’t know how you find the time.
Thank you for a comprehensive breakdown. This is so helpful!
Can Gedmatch pinpoint what my Native American dna is? Gedmatch said I was 11% Mesoamerican and 8.32% Arctic Indian which is Eskimo. Also since Ancestry now has Genetic Communities can I use that to also pinpoint my Native American Dna. The 3 areas Ancestry pinpoints my Spanish ancestors migrated to shows one Indian tribe that lived in those 3 Areas. I assume that could be the Mesoamerican dna.
At Ancestry you will probably only receive your strongest communities. No one can tell you which tribe but there are hints. Read the help tab for pointers.
Excellent article! Thank you so much. I do have one question: do you know which sites can process the Genes for Good test data? AFAIK, this is an exone test. Thanks!
I think Gedmatch in the genesis area.
Great Article Roberta! The diagrams are really helpful as it’s rather difficult to get a good insight into which technology these vendors are using and how compatible these are. A more general question I guess, but given the increasing market penetration of companies like illumina do you believe we’ll be seeing more standardisation in the future?
Hi Roberta, I’m having trouble uploading my raw data zip files to Promethease. Can you help?
Just make sure they are the correct version of the vendors files that Promethease specifies. Other than that, I don’t know. Contact Promethease.
Great info. thank you! Wondering if it is possible to transfer results from the Helix Nat Geno test to GedMatch Genesis? Have not seen any info. Thanks
I would simply suggest that you try. I know that you can now download the Geno results, so it can’t hurt.
How do I know if the Ancestry test we did is V1 or V2? Is there a date we can use?
The transition took place in May of 2016.
I do not understand what Roberta means by saying ancestry and 23 “replaced genealogically relevant locations with medically relevant locations.” I tested at ancestry in 2017 and at 23 last week. Do you think the new chip is inferior to the previous chip? Ancestry doesn’t really give medical info so why would they do that? I did upload ancestry raw data to promethease, a function I love. However, I wanted to know Neanderthal and ancient routes, as national geographic offers, so I tested at 23 for Neanderthal and to compare ethnicity results for curiosity. I did have to pay an extra $20 to ancestry for the leaf function, as you mentioned. Next year I planned to try national geographic for deeper time, but are you saying that family tree is just as good for that function? Lastly, I infer from this site that you think any ancestry or 23 kit after 2016 would be wasted uploaded to family tree now, compared to testing at family tree. Is this correct? Thanks!
I wouldn’t say that it’s wasted. You will receive close matches. But you’ll receive more matches if you test on their chip. Both Ancestry and 23andMe have affiliations with medical testing research.
I wouldn’t say it’s exactly wasted to upload. You will receive your closest 20-25% of your matches because the chip is no longer compatible. As for why the change, Ancestry introduced a health beta maybe 18 months ago – so something is definitely in the plans.
I would be interested to hear what you think of the compatibility between 23andMe v5 raw data transfers to My Heritage and also the compatibility of raw data transfers to Living DNA.
Re Living DNA I heard 23andMe v5 is the best fit, then any version of 23andMe, then FTDNA or My Heritage – can’t remember which – then I think Ancestry was last. I can’t remember the source of the info.
I hope you might consider updating this post as I find it very helpful to share with matches who I’m encouraging to transfer raw data.
MyHeritage doesn’t accept the V5 files and for LivingDNA, it’s the same chip so it would be the most compatible.
My Heritage has started successfully processing 23andMe v5 raw data transfers. In the last 24 hours people have been receiving results.
I missed that announcement. I’ve been in the air and airports for most of that time.
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How does Ancestry compare people who tested on V1 with people who tested later on V2? Are there any problems with getting the best matches there.
They have never said but it stands to reason they are using some type of imputation. There doesn’t seem to be an issue.