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Illinois Governor Signs Initiative to Protect Personal DNA Data

Illinois residents’ genetic testing results will now be protected under a new state law passed by state Senator Rachelle Crowe (D-Glen Carbon) and signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Friday.

“As technology advances, we have to update our laws to reflect ways it can be improperly used, and the personal data of private citizens is being used inappropriately every day,” Crowe said. “Keeping genetic information confidential is crucial to protecting a person’s right to privacy.”

The Genetic Genealogist Answers 9 Common Questions about DNA Testing

If you are unsure about all the facts surrounding DNA testing to prove the origins of your family tree, you need to read Sunny Morton’s interview of DNA expert Diahan Southard published in the LDS Living web site at: http://bit.ly/2Z8k0Uk.

It will be time well spent.

One comment: Read carefully section #2: How accurate are those ethnicity results?

“Ethnicity results are the most popular feature of DNA testing. However, they’re also the weakest part of the test, scientifically speaking. The good news is that ethnicity results are gradually getting more accurate and more specific. These changes sometimes cause confusion, though.”

MyHeritage Expands to Health; Launches New DNA Test Offering Powerful and Personalized Health Insights for Consumers

MyHeritage today announced the MyHeritage DNA Health + Ancestry test, a major expansion of its DNA product line. The following is the announcement:

The new MyHeritage DNA Health + Ancestry test provides comprehensive health reports for conditions affected by genetics including heart disease, breast cancer, type 2 diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease

Tel Aviv, Israel & Lehi, Utah — MyHeritage, the leading global service for family history and DNA testing, announced today a major expansion of its DNA product line with the launch of the MyHeritage DNA Health + Ancestry test. The test provides a new dimension of genetic insight with comprehensive health reports that can empower future health and lifestyle choices. It is a superset of the current MyHeritage DNA Ancestry-Only test, and includes its pillar features: a percentage breakdown of ethnic origins and matching to relatives through shared DNA. MyHeritage is now the only global consumer DNA company to offer an extensive health and ancestry product in over 40 languages.

The launch of the Health + Ancestry product distinguishes MyHeritage as the only major service that bridges consumers’ past, present, and future: MyHeritage’s integrated suite of products enable users to discover their family history and ethnic origins, find new relatives, and receive valuable insights to help manage choices regarding their health that may impact their future well-being.

23andMe Moves into Researching in Medical Data, not just DNA

According to an article by Christina Farr that has been published in the CNBC web site:

DNA-testing start-up 23andMe is experimenting with a new way to collect a lot more health data from millions of its users than just their DNA.

The company is now asking a subset of customers if they’d be willing to incorporate their lab results, prescription information and medical history, after they’ve received the results from the genetic test. 23andMe, which has sold about 10 million at-home DNA testing kits, will be able to access that data if users let the company connect outside medical providers using a third-party medical data network called Human API.

16 Gigabytes of Wikipedia Saved onto DNA Strands to Demonstrate New Storage Tech

From an article by Stephen Shankland in the C|Net web site:

“Computer storage technology has moved from wires with magnets to hard disks to 3D stacks of memory chips. But the next storage technology might use an approach as old as life on earth: DNA. Startup Catalog announced Friday it’s crammed all of the text of Wikipedia’s English-language version onto the same genetic molecules our own bodies use.

“It accomplished the feat with its first DNA writer, a machine that would fit easily in your house if you first got rid of your refrigerator, oven and some counter space. And although it’s not likely to push aside your phone’s flash memory chips anytime soon, the company believes it’s useful already to some customers who need to archive data.”

Beware of the Websites Selling Fake DNA Kits

An “epidemic” of counterfeit products being sold online is duping millions, according to the Better Business Bureau.

One woman thought she was buying a real AncestryDNA kit online, a gift for her parents and her 100-year-old grandmother in Puerto Rico. She found the DNA-testing kits on a website called ZoooDeals.com. After she paid $200 on her debit card, her relatives actually received authentic-looking kits. They followed instructions, filling vials with saliva and mailing them. But when she called the company to check on results, Ancestry told her the vial numbers were already used to test someone else’s DNA.

MyHeritage DNA Kits Now on Sale in Costco in the UK and in Iceland

MyHeritage’s simple to use, at-home DNA tests to uncover ethnic origins and discover new relatives — are now on sale in 30 different Costco stores across the UK and Iceland. The kits are being offered in special new packaging designed specifically for Costco stores.You can read more in the MyHeritage Blog at: http://bit.ly/2ZCIaqd.

How 23andMe Will Mine its Giant DNA Database for Health and Wealth

Since the launch of DNA testing service 23andMe, around 10 million people have spit a half-teaspoon of saliva into a 23andMe plastic tube and mailed it in to get their ancestry or health-risk results. Nearly 5 million customers did so last year alone, generating an estimated $475 million in revenue for the company, which has yet to turn a profit. It’s also made CEO Anne Wojcicki (No. 33 on this year’s list of Richest Self-Made Women) worth an estimated $690 million, almost entirely from her roughly 30% stake in 23andMe, which is valued at $2.5 billion by investors.

While it might make interesting cocktail conversation to reveal that you are 5% Scandinavian and have a genetic disposition to sneeze in the sun, 23andMe’s ambitions are much grander.

National Geographic Society’s Genographic DNA Project to Shut Down

The National Geographic Society’s Genographic Project is shutting down. The project’s web site at https://genographic.nationalgeographic.com/ states:

Genographic Project Update

The Genographic Project was launched in 2005 as a research project in collaboration with scientists and universities around the world with a goal of revealing patterns of human migration. Since then, nearly 1 million people have participated in The Genographic Project through National Geographic’s “Geno” DNA Ancestry kits. The public participation phase of this research project is ending and, as a result, effective May 31, 2019, Geno 2.0 DNA Ancestry kits are no longer available for purchase. If you have already purchased a kit, you may still send it in for processing in accordance with the Terms and Conditions of sale.

Struggling Care Worker Becomes Lord of $60 Million English Estate After DNA Test Proves He’s an Heir

Did you ever wish to inherit a fortune from a rich uncle who had recently passed away? That happened to Jordan Adlard-Rogers. He received a roughly $60 million inheritance from an uncle that previously Adlard-Rogers was not certain was his relative.

Adlard-Rogers — who reportedly grew up in a council house and suffered long periods of financial hardship — has now quit his job and moved into the estate. The 1,536-acre Penrose Estate is said to be where King Arthur was mortally wounded and died.

You can read a lot more in an article by Phil Boucher in the People web site at: http://bit.ly/2JEZyq3.

Announcing the MyHeritage DNA Health  and Ancestry Test

The following announcement was written by MyHeritage. You can also read more details and look at a number of additional images in the MyHeritage Blog at https://blog.myheritage.com/2019/05/introducing-the-myheritage-dna-health-ancestry-test/.

MyHeritage Expands to Health; Launches New DNA Test Offering Powerful and Personalized Health Insights for Consumers

The new MyHeritage DNA Health+Ancestry test provides comprehensive health reports for conditions affected by genetics including heart disease, breast cancer, type 2 diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease

TEL AVIV, Israel & LEHI, Utah—MyHeritage, the leading global service for family history and DNA testing, announced today a major expansion of its DNA product line with the launch of the MyHeritage DNA Health+Ancestry test. The test provides a new dimension of genetic insight with comprehensive health reports that can empower future health and lifestyle choices. It is a superset of the current MyHeritage DNA Ancestry-Only test, and includes its pillar features: a percentage breakdown of ethnic origins and matching to relatives through shared DNA. MyHeritage is now the only global consumer DNA company to offer an extensive health and ancestry product in over 40 languages.

Follow-up: Ancestry.com is under Fire as new DNA Algorithm Drastically Changes the Ethnicity of Some Users

The following is a follow-up to my previous article at: http://bit.ly/2DN6o8y:

In the earlier article, I wrote:

“Ancestry.com is updating its databases and altering the results for some users. The new findings of ethnic origins has sent some users into a full-blown identity crisis. If you previously had your DNA tested by Ancestry and have already found your family’s ethnic origins, you might want to go back to the AncestryDNA web site and check again. The results may have changed.”

Some readers posted comments posted at the end of the article by newsletter readers questioned whether or not this was a new update to Ancestry.com’s DNA databases. However, that question seems to be cleared up by the following information written by the Ancestry Team and published in the Ancestry Blog at https://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2019/05/02/understanding-your-new-ethnicity-estimate/ on May 2, 2019:

Findmypast DNA Test Available For Just $59 in Mother’s Day Sale

The following announcement was written by Findmypast:

  • Save $30 on a Findmypast DNA kit for Mother’s Day 2019
  • Currently available to buy at findmypast.com/ancestry-dna-testing/ – for just $59
  • Full 3-in-1 upgrade also available for an additional $20 – discounted from $29

Find out what Mum is really made of with a discount on Findmypast DNA testing kits.

Findmypast DNA – the only test specifically designed to help make British & Irish family history discoveries – is currently on sale at Findmypast for just $59.00 (USD) in celebration of Mother’s Day 2019.

The limited time offer will be available to all who visit findmypast.com/ancestry-dna-testing/ before Monday May 13th. Order today to ensure your kit arrives by May 12th.

Leonardo’s Hair to be DNA Tested

Italian experts have found what they say is hair from Leonardo da Vinci and are set to do a DNA test on the Renaissance genius’s locks.

You can read more in an article in the ANSA.it at: http://bit.ly/2DI2P3t.

My thanks to newsletter reader Neil Barmann for telling me about this story.

Ancestry.com is under Fire as new DNA Algorithm Drastically Changes the Ethnicity of Some Users

It may be time to trade in your German lederhosen for a Scottish kilt!

Ancestry.com is updating its databases and altering the results for some users. The new findings of ethnic origins has sent some users into a full-blown identity crisis. If you previously had your DNA tested by Ancestry and have already found your family’s ethnic origins, you might want to go back to the AncestryDNA web site and check again. The results may have changed.

Some patrons are seeing their prior genetic and ethnic histories undergo an entire transformation, leading users to somewhat jarring realizations.

You can read more in an article by Liam Mannix and Alexandra Gauci in the Sydney (Australia) Morning Herald at: http://bit.ly/2vvGdig.

Comment by DickEastman:

Ancestry.com Sued for ‘Misleading’ Customers About DNA Data

Genealogy information provider Ancestry.com has a “longstanding practice” of failing to get sufficient informed consent agreements from customers who submit medical and DNA information, a new lawsuit alleges.

Lori Collett sued the Utah-based company’s subsidiaries—Ancestry.com DNA LLC and Ancestry.com Inc.—for allegedly “misleading and deceiving patients in California and across the country about what Ancestry was actually doing with their DNA.”

Bloomberg news has a brief radio report about the lawsuit at http://bit.ly/2VAn7Gt.

Ancestry’s IPO Talk Shows How Consumer DNA Testing Has Matured

Anastasia Ustinova is a freelance business writer based in Seattle who often writes about business news. She has now written about Ancestry.com’s rumored future IPO, focusing on the popularity of home DNA kits that enable consumers to uncover secrets of their ancestry and health risks.

Ustinova sees good financial news in Ancestry.com‘s future. She writes, “Direct-to-consumer DNA testing sales are projected to reach $310 million by 2022 from $99 million in 2017, according to market researcher Kalorama Information.”

She also has a short quote from me in her article.

You can read Anastasia Ustinova’s article in the Karma Network web site at: http://bit.ly/2Duxm4L.

Newly Discovered DNA Quirk Could Reveal Mysteries of Newfoundland’s First Settlers

A Newfoundland genealogist has stumbled onto a rare and mysterious DNA quirk that he says could tell the untold story of the island’s first European settlers. David Pike, a mathematics professor and genealogist, said the rare mitochondrial DNA profile caught his attention over a decade ago when it began popping up frequently in test results for a Newfoundland and Labrador genealogy project.

The profile — called H5a5, plus another unnamed mutation — is likely European in origin. Only a handful of people from Europe — fewer than 10 — have been found to test positive for the specific profile, and almost all those have roots in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Test Your Dog’s DNA

Why should humans be the only ones to test their DNA in order to discover their family trees? Shouldn’t ALL family members be tested? After all, your dog is practically a family member also, right?

Seriously, several companies are now offering DNA test kits for dogs. With a simple cheek swab, you reportedly can identify your pet’s canine ancestry, including from wolf, coyote, or village dog ancestry.

Here is a quote from Embark, one of the companies selling a $129 US canine DNA test kit on Amazon:

Press Release – Free DNA Test For Leiden Pilgrim Descendants

The following announcement was written by Tamura Jones:

LEIDEN – 19 April 2019
On Thursday 25 April (DNA Day), genealogy expert Tamura Jones will organise a large-scale DNA Test of Pilgrim descendants in Leiden, the Netherlands. Such investigation has not been done before, not even in America. The goal is to try and discover something interesting about the group and their ancestors.

Mayflower Pilgrims

The Mayflower departed from Plymouth, but the Pilgrims came from Leiden, a city they called home for more than a decade. When they left for the New World, they took Dutch ideas such as religious tolerance and civil marriage with them. Thanksgiving even has roots in Leiden’s 3 October Celebrations, the annual commemoration of the Relief of Leiden in 1574.

Nowadays, Leiden does not only celebrate 3 October, but has an annual Thanksgiving Service as well. This Thanksgiving Service is held in the late-Gothic Pieterskerk (Peter’s Church), where the Pilgrim’s pastor, John Robinson, was buried. Two Mayflower descendants speak during this service, an American descendant and a Dutch descendant.

Searching for Descendants in Leiden