AncestryDNA Traits – Is it worth it?

Steven Frank Headshot
By Steven Frank
CIDIG Contributor

 

Ancestry.com has begun to roll out a new feature to some customers who have purchased DNA kits.  The feature, AncestryDNA Traits, provides genetic traits regarding appearance and other physical features based on your DNA results.

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The new banner ad for Ancestry Traits appearing on many users’ DNA pages

There are currently 18 traits included in AncestryDNA Traits: Sweet food preference, Savory food preference, Bitter food preference, cilantro aversion, asparagus metabolite detection, male pattern baldness, straight vs. curly hair, hair color, hair thickness, iris pattern, eye color, freckles, cleft chin, unibrow, finger length, skin pigmentation, earlobe shape, and dry vs. wet earwax.

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These traits are largely the same as those offered by 23andMe (included in the $199 Ancestry + Health option), as well as by FamilyTreeDNA’s Factoids Addon (which costs $129).  Of note, these are not health reports.  Although AncestryDNA promises to add additional traits, it is unlikely these will include any significant health reports in the foreseeable future. This is because, like 23andMe, AncestryDNA would need to seek FDA approval prior to offering health reports.  Such a process would likely take up to a year to complete.

Another feature of the traits is the ability to compare traits with your DNA matches.  However, this is only available if your DNA matches have also purchased the AncestryDNA Traits feature.  You can however see how prevalent each trait is within the various ethnic communities in you Ancestry Report.

AncestryDNA Traits is available for existing customers as a $9.99 addon.  For future test takers AncestryDNA Traits will be offered as an addon at the time of purchase.  According to this blog article, AncestryDNA is preparing to drop its regular price for kits to $79, at which time AncestryDNA Traits will be offered as a $19.99 addon for new kits.  This update is expected sometime before the end of the year.

So is it worth it? I expect a lot of customers will be underwhelmed by the information contained in AncestryDNA Traits.  The current 18 traits do not convey any useful information, certainly nothing people would not already know about themselves.  However, it is a relatively low cost for those interested in learning these factoids.  The other options – 23andMe, FamilyTreeDNA, and even Promethease – cost more to access this same information.  Plus the promise of additional traits in the future may make it worth it for many customers.  There are a few notable traits Ancesty could offer that might be of more interest to customers. For example, genes responsible for lactose intolerance, muscle performance, longevity, caffiene metabolization, and alcohol and nicotine dependence are all sampled by the chip used by AncestryDNA.  These tests are borderline health related, but are not likely to trigger FDA review as a health product (FamilyTreeDNA offers all of these as addons without FDA approval).

My current recommendation is to wait and see what additional traits are offered by Ancestry.  Should additional traits show up with any regular frequency over the next few months, I will start recommending this product as a good way to gain more information from your DNA tests.

CIDIG presents “Who Do You Think You Are” style event in Greenwood

 

Can’t get enough of shows like “Who Do You Think You Are?” and “Finding Your Roots”?  CIDIG is teaming up with the Johnson County Public Library to bring you “Our Heritage Revealed.”  This event will present the diverse ancestry of two well-known Johnson County leaders – Cherie Lowe (The Queen of Free) and Maj. Gen (retired) R. Martin Umbarger (president of Umbarger Agribusiness and former Adjutant General of Indiana). JCPL staff and researchers from the Central Indiana DNA Interest Group will use genealogy resources, including DNA testing, to uncover the family stories and varied backgrounds that make up our Johnson County community! A short workshop on using DNA in genealogy research will follow the presentation.

This event is free but registration is required as space is limited. Register here today!

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October DNA Events

We have a busy calendar full of opportunities to learn about DNA this October, including stops in Plainfield, Brownsburg, and Middlebury as well as multiple workshops in Hamilton County.

October 2nd

     Brownsburg Public Library, 1:00p.m.

     DNA Basics: Adding DNA To Your Genealogy Toolkit

  • Are you thinking about purchasing a DNA kit? Want to learn more about how it can help you with your genealogy research? Ann Raymont will provide an introduction to DNA testing and go over the features of commercial DNA testing.  This event is free but registration is required: (http://brownsburg.evanced.info/signup/Calendar)

October 6th

    Middlebury Community Public Library, 9:30a.m.-12:30p.m.

    DNA Basics: DNA Testing and Genealogy

  • CIDIG Presenter Ann Raymont will present two sessions providing an introduction to DNA and Genealogy:
    10:00 -11:00 Session 1: Adding DNA to Your Genealogy Toolkit
    11:15 – 12:30 Session 2: My AncestryDNA Results are In. Now What?
    Cost: $20 advance registration by October 1. $25 registration at door. More details available here.

    CIDIG@Fishers, 10:00a.m.-12:00p.m.

    Getting the most out of AncestryDNA

  • CIDIG’s monthly series of workshops at the Hamilton East Public Library in Fishers returns with an in-depth exploration of AncestryDNA.  Steven Frank will guide you through some of the recent changes and hidden features within AncestryDNA.  This lecture is appropriate for those who have already attended one our DNA Basics lectures.

October 13th

    Indiana State Library

    One-on-One DNA Consultations

  • On the second Saturday of every month the Indiana State Library, the genealogy room staff is available to help with your genealogy questions.  CIDIG also provides DNA experts if anyone requests an appointment to discuss DNA results. Registration is required. 

October 17th

    Carmel Clay Public Library, 1p.m.-2p.m.

    DNA Basics: Tests and what to do with the results.

  • As part of Carmel Clay Public Library’s ongoing Genealogy series, DNA expert Ann Raymont will present a workshop on the latest in DNA testing in the world of genealogy.

October 20th

    Noblesville Hamilton East Public Library 9:30p.m.-12:30p.m. (EVENT FULL)

    DNA and Genealogy

  • CIDIG Presenters Angela Guntz and Andrea Ackermann present two in depth presentations on DNA: “How to Connect a Family Tree to DNA Results”: Creating and uploading Gedcom files and DNA raw data to various testing companies to identify potential matches and expand family lines. “Getting the Most Out of Your AncestryDNA Matches”: Discover tips and tricks for navigating AncestryDNA pages. You’ll learn more about your matches and how they may be related to you!  Registration is required.  The event is currently full. However, you may join the waiting list at the link above.

October 21st

    Muncie Carnegie Library, 2:00p.m.-4:00p.m.

    Genealogy Information Fair

  • The Muncie Public Library and Delaware County Historical Society are hosting a Genealogy Information Fair on Sunday, October 21st at the Carnegie Library in downtown Muncie.  CIDIG will be one of the groups present with information.

October 27th

    Indiana State Library, 10:00a.m.-3:30p.m.

    Indiana Genealogy and Local History Fair

  • The Indiana State Library will host the annual Indiana Genealogy and Local History fair in downtown Indianapolis. Admission is free and open to the general public.  CIDIG will be one of over 30 organizations and exhibitors in attendance.

 

One on One Consultations

Do you have a DNA mystery you need expert help to solve?  The Central Indiana DNA Interest Group offers one-on-one consultation sessions to help guide you through the process of using DNA testing to solve your genealogical problems.  Sessions are 20 minutes in length and are available between 10:30a.m. and 12:30p.m.

The consultations are free, but registration is required.  Click the links below to reserve a spot at your preferred session.

Upcoming sessions:

 

  • July 13th, 2019 – Indiana State Library 10:30a.m. to 12:30p.m.  — Registration opening soon!

Please bring a computer or tablet device and any information you wish for the experts to review.  If you wish to meet with a particular expert, please note that in the comment section when signing up (note: it may not always be possible to accomodate everyone’s preferences).

DNA Workshop @ Plainfield Library

Curious about your family history DNA? CIDIG will be hosting a 4-hour workshop (12:30 – 4:30pm) on November 3rd, 2018 at the Plainfield-Guilford Township Public Library.  The event will include three DNA sessions, as well as a Question & Answer session at the end. Presented by members of the Central Indiana DNA Interest Group (CIDIG). This program is free, but registration is required. Register Now!