Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Thursday, February 16, 2012

MyHeritage adds DNA testing

There is one fundamental thing about DNA testing and genealogy; you can't get too accurate without a large pool of participants and particularly, you need a sample from any target area. For example, if you want to try and identify a common ancestor, you need another person who can prove a relationship to the remote person as a "control" to show the DNA markers from the remote person. You also need a large number of examples from different ethnic groups in order to establish a high probability of relationship to a group.

All of these are helped immensely by having a very large database from which to make comparisons., the huge international family tree organization has launched a new program for DNA participation by its users. I received the following directly from Daniel Horowitz at MyHeritage today:

MyHeritage brings DNA testing to the global community
World’s largest family network offers DNA testing to a new global audience - enabling millions of families to discover their ethnic roots and previously unknown relatives

PROVO, Utah & LONDON & TEL AVIV, Israel – February 16, 2012: MyHeritage, the most popular family network on the web, announced today the integration of DNA testing into its core family history offering. The move adds genetic genealogy to the company’s suite of tools for researching family history, used by millions of families around the world.
With more than 62 million registered users and 21 million family trees, MyHeritage has become the trusted home on the web for families wishing to explore their family history, share memories and stay connected. With the new biological layer added to the MyHeritage experience, users can now enjoy a service combining science, intuitive web features and social networking for discovering and sharing their family legacy.

“DNA testing provides a fascinating new way to discover one’s origins and find previously unknown relatives”, said MyHeritage Founder and CEO Gilad Japhet. “Offering the highest quality DNA tests to our tens of millions of users around the world in 38 languages, and providing DNA matches with hundreds of thousands of people who have already had their DNA tested, significantly advances our mission of bringing family history to the masses. By combining DNA with our innovative Smart Matching™ technology, families will be closer than ever before to constructing a more complete picture of their history”.

DNA is the hereditary material in humans and almost all other organisms. By purchasing a simple cheek-swab DNA test, users can now use information contained in their DNA to find present-day relatives who share a common ancestor up to many hundreds of years ago. A DNA test can also reveal ethnic origins such as Native American, African or Jewish descent on paternal or maternal lines, as well as uncover ancestral information for those who were adopted.  While DNA tests can break through brick walls in family history research by revealing biological relations, MyHeritage’s flagship Smart Matching™ technology then steps in to help piece together the paper trail by uncovering how the family trees of related people actually connect. In addition, people with the same paternal surname can get together via MyHeritage to see if they’re related by DNA.
MyHeritage is introducing today a wide range of DNA tests to meet different research objectives and budgets, with special discounted prices for MyHeritage subscribers starting from as low as $84. Users can identify the deep ancestral origins of their direct paternal line (Y-DNA), of their direct maternal line (mtDNA), find relatives across all lines via autosomal DNA (Family Finder), receive a percentage breakdown of their ethnic roots and confirm or disprove whether someone is a close relative. View the full list of the DNA kits on MyHeritage and a list of Frequently Asked Questions about DNA tests on MyHeritage.
For the analysis of users’ DNA tests and the DNA matching, MyHeritage is working with long-time partner and global leader in genealogy DNA, Family Tree DNA. Pioneers of genetic genealogy and with a state-of-the-art laboratory, Family Tree DNA has established the world’s largest DNA database for genealogy and is well known for its work with National Geographic on the Genographic Project. All information is kept strictly confidential and is never shared.
Bennett Greenspan, President and CEO of Family Tree DNA said “We’re proud to work with MyHeritage to bring DNA testing to a much wider, global audience. The phenomenal size and reach of the global MyHeritage family network will create new horizons in collecting DNA data, helping many more people discover their ancestral origins”.
About MyHeritage
MyHeritage is the most popular family network on the web. Millions of families around the world enjoy having a private and free place for their families to keep in touch and to showcase their roots. MyHeritage’s Smart Matching™ technology empowers users with an exciting and innovative way to find relatives and explore their family history. Following the November 2011 acquisition of FamilyLink in Provo, Utah, MyHeritage offers billions of historical records through its website With all family information stored in a secure site, MyHeritage is the ideal place to share family photos and preserve special family memories. The site is available in 38 languages. So far more than 62 million people have signed up to MyHeritage. The company is backed by Accel Partners and Index Ventures, the investors of Facebook and Skype. For more information visit

1 comment:

  1. There are many misconceptions about what YDNA analysis can show.

    It can show probability that two persons have a common male ancestor, but not who that ancestor is.

    "For example, if you want to try and identify a common ancestor, you need another person who can prove a relationship to the remote person as a "control" to show the DNA markers from the remote person."

    You cannot identify the precise remote ancestor without DNA samples from that person. Any woman can bear children by a person not her husband. A paternal uncle or father of that person could have sired children by women married to male relatives of the first woman's husband. YDNA can not differentiate these relationships and cannot prove that a husband was the male parent. It can show that two ~paper~ descendants of supposed patrilineal ancestor AB are not closely enough related to have a common male ancestor within the past few hundred years, but not necessarily in what generation the different YDNA was added.