DNA test “pin­points Bri­tish an­ces­try”

Us­ing the lat­est ge­netic test­ing tech­nol­ogy, the Liv­ing DNA ser­vice can re­veal a per­son’s an­ces­tral con­nec­tions to 80 world­wide re­gions, in­clud­ing 21 in the UK

Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine - - ON THE RECORD -

A new con­sumer DNA test claim­ing to be able to pin­point a per­son’s an­ces­try to spe­cific re­gions of the UK has gone on sale.

De­vel­oped in part­ner­ship with more than 100 ge­net­ics ex­perts, Liv­ing DNA ( liv­ingdna.com) draws on find­ings from the Peo­ple of the Bri­tish Isles project (PoBI), which saw the pub­li­ca­tion of the first fine-scale ‘ge­netic map’ of the na­tion in 2015.

Us­ing a vast data­base of re­sults col­lected from the study, the test com­pares a per­son’s ge­netic mark­ers with those com­monly found within 21 dis­tinct ar­eas of the UK, such as Corn­wall, Nor­folk and North Wales.

The re­sults are then made avail­able to view via an on­line plat­form, which also has the abil­ity to iden­tify con­nec­tions to a fur­ther 59 world­wide re­gions.

How­ever, rather than just dis­play­ing per­cent­age break­downs, the Liv­ing DNA web­site of­fers a map show­ing how far back each com­po­nent of ge­netic m ma­te­rial comes from. As a re­sult, ge­neal­o­gists may be ab able to ver­ify find­ings from their pa­per-based re­search.

Uni­ver­sity of Bris­tol aca­demic Dr Dan Law­son, w who co-wrote the PoBI study and helped de­velop the Li Liv­ing DNA soft­ware, sug­gested that the ser­vice was a “w “whole new ap­proach to DNA an­ces­try test­ing”.

“No other method – ei­ther in sci­en­tific lit­er­a­ture or in the field of per­sonal ge­nomics – can iden­tify the an­ces­try of a sin­gle per­son to the level of re­gions w within the UK,” he said.

The Liv­ing DNA test cur­rently costs £120, which in in­in­cludes re­turn de­liv­ery of a cheek swab kit for sub­mit­ting the DNA sam­ple it­self, along with “life­time” ac­cess to the re­sults on the web.

Thanks to a spe­cially de­signed chip that is used in the test­ing process, the Liv­ing DNA ser­vice not only pro­vides an au­to­so­mal pic­ture of a per­son’s her­itage, but also in­cor­po­rates Y-DNA (pa­ter­nal line) and mtDNA (ma­ter­nal line) anal­y­sis. On ri­val ser­vices such as Fam­ily Tree DNA, these three types of tests have to be or­dered sep­a­rately.

Although Liv­ing DNA does not yet of­fer users the chance to con­nect with po­ten­tial rel­a­tives on­line, the com­pany’s man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, David Ni­chol­son, con­firmed that it was a fea­ture that would be en­abled in the fu­ture – both in­ter­nally through the web­site and via part­ner­ships.

“Our view is that you own your DNA, so we will be let­ting users down­load their re­sults and put it into dif­fer­ent sys­tems,” he told Who Do You Think You Are? Mag­a­zine. “We’re also look­ing to work with part­ners so you can quickly trans­fer it over into other data­bases with­out hav­ing to be a tech­ni­cal ge­nius.”

Deb­bie Ken­nett, hon­orary re­search as­so­ciate at Uni­ver­sity Col­lege Lon­don and au­thor of DNA and So­cial Net­work­ing, said the launch of Liv­ing DNA was an “ex­cit­ing” devel­op­ment in con­sumer ge­nomics.

“Ac­cess to the PoBI dataset is what we’ve all been wait­ing for and I’m sure that ev­ery­one is go­ing to be keen to see how their re­sults com­pare,” she said. “This is a very wel­come ad­di­tion to the ge­netic an­ces­try mar­ket­place, and I look for­ward to see­ing some in­ter­est­ing new de­vel­op­ments in the fu­ture.”

This is a very wel­come ad­di­tion to the mar­ket­place

The Liv­ing DNA test has been de­vel­oped in part­ner­ship with more than 100 ge­net­ics ex­perts

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