Last week Ancestry.com announced the release of AncestryDNA. Ancestry said “the new DNA test analyzes a person’s genome at over 700,000 marker locations, cross referencing an extensive worldwide DNA database with the aim of providing…insights into their ethnic backgrounds.”
Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation simultaneously announced that Ancestry had acquired GeneTree and the DNA related assets from the non-profit Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation(SMGF). According to GeneTree, SMGF “has collected more than 100,000 DNA samples…from volunteers in more than 150 countries around the world.”
As a contributor to the SMGF DNA database, I must confess that when I donated a DNA sample, I never envisioned my DNA would be sold to a large commercial enterprise like Ancestry. The number of ways in which a DNA sample can be misused makes this an ominous announcement for anyone contemplating submission of a DNA sample to any organization. For information about some of the ethical issues of DNA testing, watch “Cracking Your Genetic Code,” a recent episode of the PBS TV series, Nova.
Will I participate in AncestryDNA? I declined participation in the beta. Will I now? Probably. But first I’ll have to carefully read “AncestryDNA Terms and Conditions,” “AncestryDNA Consent Agreement,” and “AncestryDNA Privacy Statement.”
The new service will cost $99. The announcement did not say if previous DNA contributors to Ancestry or SMGF will be given a discount in recognition of the value Ancestry is taking from their previous contributions.
To read the entire Ancestry.com announcement, visit http://corporate.ancestry.com/press/press-releases/2012/05/ancestry.com-dna-launches/.
To read more about Ancestry’s historical dealings with SMGF, read my July 2007 article, “Remember Ancestry.com’s 1st DNA Project?”
Access the service itself at www.ancestrydna.com.