FamilyTreeDNA’s Thanksgiving Sale has begun. Almost everything is on sale. I don’t know about you, but I like to have all of my holiday planning and purchasing DONE before Thanksgiving. Some of the gifts I wanted for people this year are already sold out or backordered – but DNA testing is always available. The gift of history, and now of health too.
FamilyTreeDNA has made a few product changes and introduced the new Tovana Health test.
I’ve included a special section of frequently asked questions (and answers) about tests and when upgrading does, and doesn’t, make sense.
Let’s start with the sale prices for individual tests.
|Test||Sale Price||Regular Price||Savings|
|Family Finder (FF)||$59||$79||$20|
|Y DNA 37||$99||$169||$70|
|Y DNA 111 *1||$199||$359||$160|
|Big Y-700 *2||$399||$649||$250|
|Mitochondrial Full Sequence *3||$139||$199||$60|
*1 – You may notice that only the 37-marker and 111-marker tests are listed above. The 111-marker test was reduced to the 67-marker sale price, so, at least during the sale, the 67-marker test is not available. In other words, you get 111 markers for the price of 67.
*3 – The mitochondrial full sequence (FMS) aka mtFullSequence test is now the only mitochondrial DNA test available. I’m glad to see this change. The price of the mtFullSequence test has now dropped to the level of the less specific partial tests of yesteryear. Genealogists really need the granularity of the full test.
Bundles save even more – an additional $9 over purchasing the bundled items separately
|Test||Sale Price||Regular Price||Savings|
|Family Finder + mtFullSequence||$189||$278||$89|
|Family Finder + Y-37||$149||$248||$188|
|Family Finder + Y111||$249||$438||$189|
|Y-37 + mtFullSequence||$229||$368||$139|
|Y-111 + mtFullSequence||$329||$558||$229|
|Family Finder + Y-37 + mtFull||$279||$447||$170|
|Family Finder + Y-111 + mtFull||$379||$637||$258|
When Does Upgrading Make Sense?
Y DNA Q&A
Q – If I have several Y DNA matches, will upgrading help?
A – If you need more specific or granular information to tease your line out of several matches – upgrading will help refine your matches and determine who is a closer match, assuming some of your matches have tested at a higher level.
Q – If I have tested at a lower level of STR markers and have no matches, will I have matches at a higher level?
A – Sometimes, but not usually. If your mutations just happen to fall in the lower panels, you may have matches on higher panels that allow for more mutations. If you do have matches on a higher test in this circumstance, the person may or may not have your surname. You can also join haplogroup and surname projects where thresholds are slightly lower for matching within projects.
If you don’t test, you’ll never know.
Q – If I have no matches on STR markers, meaning 12, 25, 37, 67 or 111, will upgrading to the Big Y be beneficial?
A – Possibly to probably – and here’s why, even if you don’t initially have matches:
- The Big Y-700 provides multiple tools including matches at the SNP level, not just the STR level, so you are matched in two entirely different ways.
- You may have same-surname matches at the SNP level that you do not have at the STR level which are further back in time, but still valuable and relevant to your family history.
- You may have SNP matches that aren’t STR matches that are not your surname, but reflect your family history before the advent of surnames. These matches can tell you where your family came from before you can locate them in records. In fact, this is the ONLY way you can track your family before the advent of surnames.
- Even if you don’t have matches, you’ll receive all of your SNP markers that allow you to view your results on the Block Tree, which is in essence a migration map back through time. You can read about the Block Tree here.
- Your test contributes to building the phylotree – meaning the Y DNA tree of man – which benefits all genealogists. In just the first 10 months of 2019, 32,000 new SNPs have been placed on the tree, resulting in about 5,000 new individual branches. All because of Big Y-700
- New people test every day and your DNA tests fish for you every minute of every day.
Mitochondrial DNA Q&A
If you’ve previously taken lower level mitochondrial HVR1 and HVR2 tests, now is the perfect time to upgrade.
Q – I have 5,000 <or fill in large number here> HVR1 level matches. Will upgrading reduce the number of matches to those that are more meaningful?
A – Absolutely! Your most genealogically relevant matches, meaning closest in time, are those that match you exactly at the full sequence level.
Q – I don’t know where my ancestor was from. Can a full sequence test help me?
A – Yes. You can use the Matches Map and see where the ancestors of your closest matches were from. That’s a huge hint. You can also utilize your haplogroup, which, in some instances, will point to a specific continent such as Africa, Europe, Asia or Native American and Jewish populations.
Q – If I have no matches at the HVR1 or HVR2 level? Will an upgrade help me?
A – Possibly. Both the HVR1 and HVR2 (now obsolete) tests only allowed for one mutation difference to be considered a match. The full sequence allows for many more differences. If you were unlucky and your mutations just happened to fall in the HVR1 or HVR2 levels, it would prevent a match which will occur at a higher level. Either way, you’ll receive information about your rare mutations – which may well explain why you don’t have matches (yet)! You’ll also receive a full haplogroup which will be useful, allowing you to use the mitochondrial haplotree to track back in time, which I wrote about here.
There are so many ways to obtain useful information. I wrote a step-by-step guide to using mitochondrial DNA, here.
Please note that if you are considering an upgrade, it maybe beneficial to upgrade to the maximum test available for either the Y or mitochondrial DNA, especially if you cannot obtain more of the sample. Of course, if it’s your own sample, you can always swab again, but others can’t.
Every time a vial is opened for testing, more DNA is used, until there is none left. Additionally, DNA degrades with time, depending on the quality of the original scraping and the amount of bacteria in the sample. Generally, the sample is viable for at least 5 years, but not always. Some older samples remain viable for many years. There’s no way to know in advance.
|Test||Sale Price||Regular Price||Savings|
|Y-12 to Y-37||$79||$109||$30|
|Y-12 to Y-67||$149||$199||$50|
|Y-12 to Y-111||$169||$359||$190|
|Y-25 to Y-37||$49||$59||$10|
|Y-25 to Y-67||$119||$159||$40|
|Y-25 to Y-111||$149||$269||$120|
|Y-37 to Y-67||$69||$109||$40|
|Y-37 to Y-111||$119||$228||$109|
|Y-67 to Y-111||$69||$99||$30|
|Y-12 to Big Y-700||$359||$629||$270|
|Y-25 to Big Y-700||$349||$599||$250|
|Y-37 to Big Y-700||$319||$569||$250|
|Y-67 to Big Y-700||$259||$499||$240|
|Y-111 to Big Y-700||$229||$499||$270|
|Big Y-500 to Big Y-700||$189||$249||$60|
|HVR1 to mtFullSequence||$99||$159||$60|
|mtDNA Plus to mtFullSequence||$99||$159||$60|
Tovana – A New Limited Availability Exome Medical Report
Recently, FamilyTreeDNA did a limited announcement about a medically supervised health exome health test for a subset of customers, specifically customers who:
- Don’t live in Pennsylvania, New York, California or Maryland, due to state law restrictions.
- Took the Family Finder test since October 2015 – meaning no transfers. The Family Finder test is used in conjunction with the exome chip to generate the customer report.
If you took the Family Finder test before October 2015, you are eligible but the rollout is being done in stages and your kit will be eligible in December.
This Tovana Genome Report is focused towards people who are health and wellness conscious. Meaning those who don’t want to die a premature death that might be preventable.
All genetic health tests focus on predispositions. You may or may not develop the condition, with a few notable exceptions, but forewarned is forearmed.
You might, however, be VERY interested in intervening, one way or another, BEFORE you develop potentially life-threatening conditions, or taking preventative actions to avoid developing those conditions. At the very least, you can be aware and monitor your health to catch them early, when they are treatable, manageable or potentially curable.
It only takes one, ONE, terrifying experience to convince you that health testing might make a difference.
Once you’re embroiled in that health nightmare, there is no going back in time to take a test and enact preventative measures.
My mother might still be with us had we known she was susceptible to blood clots. My sister had metastatic breast cancer.
Let me show you something from a Tovana report.
This portion of a page from an actual customer report shows this individual is positive for a mutation for a clotting disorder where clots are formed that can cause strokes, pulmonary embolisms and DVTs (deep vein thrombosis).
I’d give anything, any amount of money – to have had advance warning so we could have watched my mother more vigilantly and taken simple proactive measures that might have prevented her stroke and resulting death.
What would another 10 or 15 years with her have been worth?
We could have and would have discussed this with her doctors and asked about preventative measures, like taking aspirin or other measures as indicated by her health and other medications. (Please do not self-diagnose or medicate without discussing with your physician as drugs interact in ways patients may not be aware of.)
Compared to hospital (or funeral) bills, not to mention the sheer agony…the cost of this test at $799 is irrelevant. What better way to say, “I love you”?
I would pick up bottles by the side of the road, if I needed to, to be able to purchase this test for my Mom 15 years ago. Sadly, this type of testing wasn’t available then, but it is now.
Ignorance is not bliss.
I want to know if I or my children carry these predispositions so that we can take action.
The Tovana Test is Different
The Tovana test is different from and much more comprehensive than the tests offered by Ancestry, MyHeritage and 23andMe that utilize only your autosomal genealogy test.
To begin with, the Tovana test is run on an exome chip that tests over 50 million locations in addition to the 700,000+ locations tested in the Family Finder test.
The completed report that I viewed was 128 pages in length, with lots of graphics. This explain explains autosomal dominant inheritance.
The report is very user-friendly, including drawings, a risk-meter for polygenic conditions that involve more than a simple yes or no answer, explanations and recommendations for each condition reported.
And yes, in case you’re wondering, the report also includes the fun traits like ear wax and such that you can discuss if you’re bored beyond imagination at a cocktail party.
Each report is centered around and tailored to the family information you provide, such as known Jewish heritage, or known cases of cancer.
I’ve compiled a chart with some comparison details – although this test is in a class by itself where the other three tests compete directly with each other.
I’ve personally taken the other tests, except for the Ancestry upgrade. I also took an early exome test a few years ago, but THAT ONE CAME WITH NO REPORT OR EXPLANATIONS.
|23andme||Ancestry Health Core||MyHeritage||Family Tree DNA Tovana Test|
|# DNA locations tested||About 700,000||About 700,000||About 700,000||>50 million plus the 700,000 in the Family Finder test|
|# Results Provided to Customer||78 health + polygenic diabetes +34 traits such as freckles||84||88+ polygenic heart, diabetes, breast cancer||3000+ including many polygenic diseases including heart, diabetes & 35 genes associated with breast cancer|
|Personal Clinical Analysis||No||No||No||Yes|
|Analysis, Interpretation by board certified geneticist||No||No||No||Yes|
|Genetic Counseling||No||Yes, limited||Yes, limited||$50 for 30-minute session|
|Updates||Yes, episodic depending on test level, may not receive, sometimes have to purchase new test||No, one time results only||Yes, free for first year then with $99 per year subscription||Not at this time, but under consideration|
|Cost – Initial Purchase||$149||upgrade only after DNA test||$199 new purchase -combined health plus ancestry||$799 introductory price|
|Upgrade if Already Tested||No||$49 upgrade if have already tested||$120 to upgrade if already tested, plus $99 year subscription after year 1||Not relevant|
|Requirements||None||This is an upgrade from an existing Ancestry test||Must test with MyHeritage, not a transfer kit|
Are You Eligible?
To see if you are one of the customers eligible to purchase the Tovane Genome Report, sign in, here, and then check your personal page under “Additional Features” to see if the Tovana Genome Report is available. If so, click for more information or to order.
- If you want to order this report and you aren’t a FamilyTreeDNA customer or have not taken the Family Finder test, now is a great time to order the Family Finder test, on sale for $59, then you can order the Tovana report.
- If you transferred a kit to FamilyTreeDNA from elsewhere, you’ll need to take the Family Finder test at FamilyTreeDNA.
- If you took a Family Finder test before October 2015, your link will be activated about December 1st.
You’ve probably guessed what my family is receiving for Christmas😊. No one else is going to suffer from or die from something preventable if I can help it.
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
- MyHeritage DNA only
- MyHeritage DNA plus Health
- MyHeritage FREE DNA file upload
- 23andMe Ancestry
- 23andMe Ancestry Plus Health
- Legacy Tree Genealogists for genealogy research