2021 is starting out with an exciting announcement in the genetic genealogy world. A marriage!
Dr. Lior Rauchberger, CEO of Australian company, myDNA, has announced a merger with well-known genetic genealogy company, FamilyTreeDNA along with the parent company that owns their DNA processing lab, Gene by Gene.
Bennett Greenspan and Max Blankfeld, founders of both Houston-based companies, FamilyTreeDNA and Gene by Gene, will retain board seats in the merged organization, while Rauchberger will be the CEO of the organization.
I spoke with Bennett, and he assured me that myDNA has every intention of maintaining and investing in the genealogy side of the house. He indicated that both companies felt that this was a very compatible marriage.
I didn’t know anything about myDNA previously, but like any genealogist, I’ve done some research.
Who is myDNA?
According to their website, myDNA, founded in 2007, is focused on personal health management.
Their approach seems to be a bit different than health and wellness tests I’ve seen before.
The myDNA test is a functional pathology test that reports on how genetic factors may influence the ways in which medications affect individuals. Different people metabolize and eliminate medications differently, and at various speeds.
myDNA testing provides customers with the ability to work with their physicians to tailor their medications to maximize benefits and minimize side effects.
I’m not surprised that FamilyTreeDNA has, one way or another, added a health component to the menu. As I mentioned in my Genetic Genealogy at 20 Years article earlier this week, all three of the other major players have a health/medical aspect of their products.
I don’t have any personal experience with myDNA, but I will as soon as I order a test.
Benefits and Opportunities
I see several potential benefits to the genetic genealogy community, including:
- myDNA customers may provide a pool of new customers (and matches) who might possibly be interested in genealogy, aka, YDNA, mitochondrial DNA, and autosomal testing.
I would presume that these tests will soon be offered as options to myDNA customers. Australia, in addition to its aboriginal population, consists of immigrants from the British Isles and elsewhere. I actually discovered the DNA match down under who broke through my decades-old Speak family brick wall in Lancashire.
- myDNA customers, even if they aren’t interested in genealogy, per se, may be interested in more general “where did I come from,” personal history type of information.
This might include interesting Y and mitochondrial DNA migration map “journeys,” along with ethnicity. I’m thinking along the lines of “myY,” “myMito” and the already existing “myOrigins,” Perhaps something similar to the less in-depth, but still quite interesting (now-defunct) Genographic product test results.
Adding FamilyTreeDNA tools for myDNA customers would benefit both sides of the equation. Every additional person who tests helps the scientific research aspect, meaning building both the Y and mitochondrial trees, which in turn helps traditional genealogy customers.
Conversely, FamilyTreeDNA customers may want to easily add some of the myDNA products and have them available through one single customer portal.
I’m extremely hopeful about opportunities for the genetic genealogy side of the house. Specifically, my fingers are crossed that myDNA will invest in:
- Website infrastructure which will improve performance.
- Enhancing current and adding new advanced genealogy tools and products that aren’t just pieces, but provide us with innovative solutions.
And yes, I have suggestions. Like a kid in the toy store, I have a long wish list of features I’d love to see😊.
I’d like to hear your (positively constructed) wish list as well.
I’m excited about this new opportunity!
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DNA Purchases and Free Transfers
- FamilyTreeDNA – Y, mitochondrial and autosomal DNA testing
- MyHeritage DNA –Autosomal DNA test
- MyHeritage FREE DNA file upload – Transfer your results from other vendors free
- AncestryDNA – Autosomal DNA test
- 23andMe Ancestry – Autosomal DNA only, no Health
- 23andMe Ancestry Plus Health
Genealogy Products and Services
- MyHeritage FREE Tree Builder – Genealogy software for your computer
- MyHeritage Subscription with Free Trial
- Legacy Family Tree Webinars – Genealogy and DNA classes, subscription-based, some free
- Legacy Family Tree Software – Genealogy software for your computer
- Charting Companion – Charts and Reports to use with your genealogy software or FamilySearch
- Legacy Tree Genealogists – Professional genealogy research
- Genealogical.com – Lots of wonderful genealogy research books