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Most Popular Follow-On DNA Services Chosen by DNA Test Customers (New Survey)

Consumer DNA testing services like 23andMe and FTDNA have gotten more popular than ever.

As costs have come down, and it feels like every friend and family member has taken a DNA test, more people are sending in their spit to learn more about their ancestry, health, or both.

But these services are not growing alone. Following closely behind are follow-on DNA services like Promethease and GEDmatch that mine additional information from customers’ raw DNA data.


Seeking more Information

genealogy family tree

survey of 1,100 people who had used consumer DNA testing services found that 89% of them had downloaded their raw DNA data from a DNA testing service.

Of these, 94% had plugged it into a third party service.

It seems that most people are not satisfied with what they get from the main services they start with. And it’s understandable.

Companies like 23andMe, AncestryDNA, and Family Tree DNA don’t go all out when it comes to giving customers ancestry and health information.

It would probably affect their bottom line to put more resources towards mining all the data DNA holds. They may also be restricted by law about the information they can provide, particularly when it comes to health tests.

Third-party services, on the other hand, are less regulated and can provide much more information at less cost since they don’t have to test any samples.

They just take raw DNA data, run it through their analysis programs, and spit out loads of information.

So which services do most people prefer?


The Most Popular Follow-On DNA Services

Most Popular DNA Services

1. GEDmatch

GEDMatch

A majority of respondents (84%) took their data to GEDmatch.com.

GEDmatchwas created as a collaborative website for people who had taken a DNA test and wanted to learn more about their ancestry.

To use it, you download your autosomal DNA data from the service you tested with and upload it to GEDmatch.com. Uploading is free.

The biggest advantage of uploading your data to GEDmatch is the ability to find potential family members who have tested with other services.

So instead of being restricted to AncestryDNA’s database, you can also get matches from 23andMe, FTDNA, Living DNA, and others.

This makes it much more likely that you’ll find additional family members.

In addition to family matching, GEDmatch also provides tools to compare your DNA with that of others, detailed ethnicity reports, a chromosome browser, and many more resources.

Most of their tools and applications are free, but others such as triangulation and multiple kit analysis require a subscription to their $10 a month Tier 1 service.

2. Promethease

The next most popular third party service was Promethease. It was used by 63% of survey respondents.

Promethease is a program that generates a report based on SNPs (gene variants) found in one’s raw DNA data.

The report contains mostly health information — specifically, your propensity towards various diseases like Alzheimer’s and breast cancer.

It also contains information on likely physical attributes such as eye color.

Promethease accepts autosomal DNA data from all major services. Uploading your data is free, but you’ll need to pay a fee (currently $12) to generate a report.

3. DNA.land

DNA.Land

55% of survey respondents uploaded their data to DNA.land.

DNA.land started as a research project. But it later relaunched as a non-academic third-party DNA service to help people glean more from their DNA data.

DNA.land provides an estimated ancestry breakdown as well as physical and wellness traits predictions. They also generate tens of millions of SNPs that are missing from your original data through a process called imputation.

All DNA.land services are free.

Other Services

The above three are not the only third-party services that provide additional DNA analysis. Other options include Genomelink, MyHeritage, and Sequencing.com.

Remember to read the terms and conditions as well as the privacy policies of any third party service before you provide your data.

MyHeritage DNA TestGenomeLinkSequencing

Genetic privacy has become a major issue nowadays. Read up on what the company does with your data, whether they can share it with law enforcement, and what rights you retain.

It’s also important to keep in mind that the information you’ll get is not always accurate. Most of the details are estimates.

If you get a health report saying you are at risk of a serious disease, talk to a genetic counselor or your doctor for further advice.


 

About the Author Charles M.

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