Thursday 29 January 2015

Ancestry launches AncestryDNA service in the UK and Ireland

Fairly major news from Ancestry ( in the UK:


Revolutionary DNA test utilises advanced science to pinpoint genetic ethnicity and help people discover family origins
  • AncestryDNA test examines a person’s entire genome at over 700,000 different genetic locations
  • Service will help people discover and connect with new relatives – linking their DNA results to a network of over 15 billion records and 60 million family trees
  • New technology targets more relevant and recent family history

AncestryDNA, the market-leading genetic family history DNA testing service, has launched in the UK and Ireland today – revolutionising the way that people can discover more about themselves and their family history and also connect with relatives they previously didn’t know existed.

AncestryDNA is offered by a subsidiary of Ancestry – the world’s largest online family history resource – and uses advanced DNA technology to reveal genetic ethnicity and uncover new family connections with other people who have taken the test. When combined with Ancestry’s existing database of over 15 billion records and 60 million family trees, this creates the ultimate family history resource.

Following its US release in 2012 AncestryDNA now has a database with DNA samples from 700,000 people who have discovered fascinating and sometimes surprising information about their own heritage. This international database is of huge benefit to UK and Irish users and will become even more so as it grows with the addition of DNA from the UK and Ireland. The database is expected to grow even further when AncestryDNA launches in other international countries later in 2015.

The AncestryDNA test uses microarray-based autosomal DNA testing, which surveys a person’s entire genome at over 700,000 locations via a simple saliva sample. Analysis of the DNA data provides a prediction of the locations of ancestors from 26 separate world-wide populations including Great Britain and Ireland, Europe, Scandinavia, Asia and South and North Africa.

In contrast to Y-chromosome or mitochondrial DNA tests, which only test one line of your family and generally provide information about ancestry several thousand years ago, the AncestryDNA autosomal test targets the last few hundred or thousand years. This enables people to learn more about their more immediate family history.

AncestryDNA can also help people identify relationships with unknown relatives through a list of possible DNA member matches. These results are a great starting point for additional research, collaboration, or to help people expand their family trees.

Ancestry subscribers in the UK and Ireland will also have the opportunity to use new online interface tools to link their DNA results with their existing family trees and research. With millions of family trees online at Ancestry, more people than ever before will now be able to connect with new relatives and share their results.

Catherine Ball, Vice President, Genomics and Bioinformatics at Ancestry, comments: “While family history research is most often focused on discovering more about the past, the AncestryDNA test uses the best modern technology to help users find out more than ever before about who they are and where they came from. When used in conjunction with existing Ancestry services, it also provides an exciting opportunity to discover and connect with new relatives – in fact the vast majority of customers from the UK and Ireland can expect to connect with 3rd or 4th cousins in the US immediately. As more customers from across the globe are added to the network, it will provide an exciting opportunity to connect some of the major migrations from the UK and Ireland.”

Dan Jones, General Manager International at Ancestry comments: “AncestryDNA provides people with a unique and engaging experience that helps them make amazing discoveries about their family history. The product has been a great success since it launched in the US and I am excited that it is now available in the UK and Ireland and in time will be offered in other International markets.”

Costing £99, plus shipping, AncestryDNA kits are dispatched within six days of an order, with the test results taking from 6-8 weeks to be delivered. Tests are available for purchase at

COMMENT: Ancestry are kindly sending me a kit so that I can work through the experience of an autosomal DNA test, which I will blog about in due course. I'm looking forward to this as I have had a few requests from known cousins in recent months to take such a test - though obviously the key advanatage will be in searching for unknown cousins! (I have previously been tested for Y-DNA through FamilyTreeDNA, and mitochondrial DNA through the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation).

In the meantime, Debbie Kennett, a member of the International Society of Genetic Genealogy, and Honorary Research Associate attached to the Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment at University College London, has posted her initial thoughts on the new test (which she has previously undergone when made available in the United States) at

(With thanks to Bryony Partridge at Ancestry)

UPDATE: 30 Jan - see


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