What’s in store for National DNA Day 2018? The DNA future is BRIGHT so get you’re sunglasses!
NOTE: You can download the PDF version of this article HERE. Genealogy societies and DNA genealogy groups are encouraged to share this information with their members.
Well National DNA Day is less than one week away, and while the week leading up to April 25th was a busy time for DNA test sales in 2017, get ready for an amazing 2018 campaign by the major DNA testing companies. And while 2017 has been called the “year of DNA,” 2018 is shaping up to be the year of “DNA and Health,” with an increased focus on DNA test results that go beyond ethnicity estimates and can be used to help manage your health.
My Sales Forecast for National DNA Day 2018
I make it my business to research and understand the business of DNA and personal DNA testing. In November 2017, I was extremely accurate on my predictions as to which of the Big 5 DNA testing companies (23andMe, AncestryDNA, Family Tree DNA, Living DNA and MyHeritage DNA) would have sales and offers . . . right down to the exact price and day!
Keep in mind that there are many “fly by night” or disreputable companies jumping on the bandwagon. You do not want to spend good money on a test and not get results useful for genealogical research. Here are my recommended vendors in alphabetical order (not ranked otherwise):
- 23andMe: the regular price is $99 USD for Ancestry Service (basic autosomal DNA test) and $199 USD for Ancestry Service + Health. My forecast is that 23andMe will drop the prices by 20%, meaning $79 USD and $159 USD However, pay close attention on April 25th, especially at Amazon! This is where 23andMe is likely to offer the Ancestry Service + Health test for 50% off – only $99 USD – for Amazon Prime members. Click HERE for the latest pricing on 23andMe.
- AncestryDNA: the regular price is $99 USD for AncestryDNA (basic autosomal DNA test). I forecast a $59 USD price, possibly with bulk purchase discounts such as “buy 4 get 1 free” or free shipping incentives. Click HERE for the latest pricing on AncestryDNA.
- Family Tree DNA: the regular price is $79 USD for Family Finder (basic autosomal DNA test). Based upon past performance, Family Tree DNA will lower the price for Family Finder to $59 USD and offer discounts of up to 30% on a variety of other DNA tests including mtDNA, Y-DNA and test bundles. Click HERE for the latest pricing on Family Tree DNA.
- Living DNA: the regular price is $159 USD / £159 GBP. Living DNA was the first DNA testing company out of the gate announcing their National DNA Day 2018 offer on Sunday, April 15th. The sale price is $79 USD for their 3-in-1 ancestry test (autosomal, mtDNA and Y-DNA). Click HERE for the latest pricing on Living DNA.
- MyHeritage DNA: the regular price is $99 USD. MyHeritage has just announced that MyHeritage DNA (basic autosomal DNA test) is just $69 USD for National DNA Day. Click HERE for the latest pricing on MyHeritage.
NOTE: Most of these sales are valid through the end of day on Wednesday, April 25th or Thursday, April 26th. Shipping is not included in the sales price. To save on shipping, use Amazon to make your purchase; 2-day shipping is FREE for Amazon Prime members. Click HERE to check the current prices on DNA tests at Amazon.
These vendors, for the most part, work with the genealogy community and listen to their research needs. Their test data can be downloaded and, in most cases, uploaded to other DNA sites. These vendors also, for the most part, offer “matching” with other customers who have tested their DNA.
Here’s To Your Health: DNA Testing and Health Information
As I note below in my general predictions for the DNA industry, 23andMe has led the way in terms of offering a DNA test, which offers health information. In late 2013, the Food and Drug Administration ordered 23andMe to cease marketing its Ancestry Service + Health test over concerns related to test subjects basing medical decisions on DNA test results. The Ancestry Service + Health test was approved for sale in February 2015, and since then 23andMe has dominated this segment of the personal DNA testing industry.
However, look for AncestryDNA – the leading personal DNA testing company – to jump into this segment of the industry perhaps as soon as this week! I predict that AncestryDNA will expand its offerings beyond the basic autosomal DNA test with “add on” products to test certain health aspects.
“What DNA Test Should I Take?” Here’s My Advice . . .
I am a firm believer in being an informed DNA consumer and that knowledge is power. That is why I have done a DNA test with each of the Big 5 DNA testing companies. Here are some tips:
- Determine your goals and treat DNA testing seriously. Remember, this is not some parlor game like a Ouija Board. Finding out your ethnic makeup does not mean you are “done” with your family history.
- An autosomal DNA test is the most common DNA test kit on the market currently and tests for DNA inherited from both of your parents. The test results will also include random DNA inherited from your grandparents, great-grandparents, etc. Autosomal tests are a good starting point for anyone who has not yet taken a DNA test.
- Other factors influencing which DNA test to use as well as which DNA testing company is best for your needs include: the age of the person being tested; whether the person being tested is on antibiotics, going through chemotherapy, or has had a recent organ transplant; and more.
Click HERE to download the FREE DNA Buying Guide filled with over 34 pages of useful information on DNA testing including a Resource List with over 100 tools and sites to help you get the most out of your DNA testing experience.
DNA Scams On The Rise: Buyer Beware!
As personal DNA testing increases in popularity and there is also an increased focus from media on the topic of DNA and genealogy, you can bet that the opportunists looking to make quick money will come out of the woodwork! Here are some tips on how to avoid scams and how to get the most for your DNA testing dollars:
- Always stick with the Big 5 DNA testing companies if you want to use DNA test data for genealogy and family history research. Beware of “fly by night” companies that you’ve never heard of or that don’t provide a way to match and connect with other DNA testers on their site.
- Also, watch out for super low prices such as $29 or $39 for a DNA testing kit. Many of these tests are only for the DNA collection materials (spit or swab) and then you are required to pay extra to actually get your results! Remember, I predict that the lowest price we’ll see during National DNA Day is $59 USD for a basic autosomal DNA test (and that won’t include shipping)!
- Any reputable DNA testing vendor will provide an easy way for you to download the raw DNA data and let you keep it to use at other sites.
- Avoid DNA tests that say they can prove Cherokee or other Native American ancestry. There is no such technology or DNA test available at this point in time.
- In addition, remember, when it comes to DNA products and services, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
What about DNA Privacy? What You Should Know BEFORE You Take a DNA Test
We live in a curious and precarious time in terms of privacy. Due to technology making huge improvements in our everyday lives, we are more willing to give out our data in order to save time or provide convenience. This is more true with the Millennial generation as opposed to my Baby Boomer generation. Boomers tend to be more hesitant to share info about ourselves to the point whereby some won’t even take a DNA test.
Here’s a common sense approach to DNA privacy:
- Make sure you download your DNA test data once notified of your results and make sure it is backed up with all of your other computer data.
- Do DNA testing companies sell your DNA test data to other companies? The answer, right now, is a “qualified” YES. AncestryDNA, for example, works with Calico, “a company focused on longevity research and therapeutics” (according to a recent Ancestry press release) and provides DNA “metadata” gathered from its over 8 million DNA test subjects. Privacy is a double-edged sword when it comes to DNA: we want to know more about our ethnicity and our health issues, but we can’t reap the benefits of this knowledge without sharing the data with individuals as well as other companies and providers.
- If you “port” or use your DNA test results on other websites such as GEDmatch or Promethease, make sure you understand each sites’ privacy mechanisms and what other users can see in terms of your profile as well as your data.
- Check to see if a DNA testing vendor retains your DNA sample or destroys the sample after testing. On the plus side, storing samples allows you to upgrade to additional tests or reports; on the minus side, how secure is your sample?
New Developments in Personal DNA Testing
Over the next few months and even the next year, I believe we will see the following developments in the DNA industry (for better or for worse):
- A huge focus on health and DNA, especially testing to see how likely you are to develop a specific disease or condition such as breast cancer. It is likely that AncestryDNA will move its AncestryHealth website out of beta testing and take on 23andMe to capture part of the DNA and Health niche. On the downside, this will likely open up the doors to more opportunists and snake oil salesman in terms of selling DNA test kits that offer no real benefit in terms of health knowledge.
- More concise pinpointing on ethnicity estimates and better demarcation of regions and countries. The more people who test, the more accurate the “reference databases” become. For example, right now Italians and Greeks are often lumped together and those with French, Dutch or German roots are tagged as Northern Europeans.
- Increased media coverage on DNA privacy issues, with many exaggerated headlines and articles that don’t truthfully or correctly present all the facts. Many of these items–found in print on blogs and television programs–tend to be sensationalistic and border on “click bait.”
- Look for companies to pair DNA testing with travel . . . with offers to investigate the land of your ancestors based on your test results. Right now, we are seeing providers such as Go Ahead Tours partnering with Ancestry via ProGenealogists and I expect other established travel vendors to hop on the bandwagon. See my recent article Heritage Travel: Ready, Set, Go Ahead covering the Ancestry partnership.
- A greater focus on privacy issues and policies, especially given the recent Facebook/Cambridge Analytica fiasco and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which goes into effect in late May, 2018. In addition, Ancestry and other companies have in the past, worked with law enforcement on requests for user DNA data to help identify crime suspects via familial matches (see Ancestry Guide for Law Enforcement).
- And since this a mid-term election year, look for legislatures–both local, state and national–to try and handle the privacy and DNA issues through legislation which will likely be misdirected and only serve to make politicians appear responsive.
Where Will Your DNA Take You?
Get ready for a fun and wild ride starting National DNA Day 2018 through the end of the year. I promise we will see many new developments in the personal DNA testing field and by the end of the year we might even see a $49 USD price during the Black Friday / Cyber Monday sales period!
PLEASE NOTE: The post content above contains affiliate links. This means I make a percentage of sales via these links. This does not INCREASE the price you pay as a consumer. It simply supplements my income so I can continue providing as much free genealogy content as possible through my “abundance model.”
Disclaimer: All prices and offers are subject to change. Some items may be sold out and have limited inventory. Also check to see if you have automated purchase settings enabled, such as Amazon Buy with 1-Click: it is your responsibility to make sure you are getting the correct price for an item before you check out and finalize the transaction.
Disclosure statement: I have material connections with various vendors and organizations. To review the material connections I have in the genealogy industry, please see Disclosure Statement.
©2018, copyright Thomas MacEntee. All rights reserved.