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AncestryDNA Adds Cutting Edge Science For Matching Ancestors

(AncestryDNA – May 2, 2016)

We’re excited to share some of the advances we’ve made to the science of finding your relatives through DNA, commonly referred to as DNA matching.DNA_Box_big

Today, we’re rolling out an update to AncestryDNA that improves the precision of our DNA matching. And good news for our AncestryDNA customers: this update is free and has already been applied to your results.

With the world’s largest consumer DNA database—1.5 million people and growing—plus the millions of family trees contributed by Ancestry members, we have been able to significantly improve the accuracy and quality of your DNA matching results.

What’s New:

  • More precise matching—We can identify DNA connections with a better level of precision and accuracy than was possible before.
  • More DNA matches—With this update, we have added more than 900 million cousin connections for DNA customers. And, you’ll continually get new connections since we have the largest consumer DNA database, which continues to grow.
  • More time saved—We are providing an email notification for new 4th cousin or closer DNA matches so you won’t miss a thing. 

What to Expect

We’ve improved the confidence levels in estimating relationships by extending the comparison methods to potentially find longer segments of DNA shared between individuals. Individual results will vary, but because of this, you may see some DNA matches that were previously predicted to be more closely related to you at a higher confidence drop down in your list or no longer appear. Also, you may have new DNA matches that you haven’t seen before. If you have taken notes or “starred” a DNA match that no longer appears on your new list, you can download information about that previous match for a limited time from the DNA test settings page, click here for step-by-step instructions

To learn more about the confidence score for your DNA matches, see our updated help article “What does the match confidence score mean?” You can find this article on your DNA matches page by clicking on the question mark in the right-hand corner of the page.

Help Screen on AncestryDNA Matches Page

Have more questions? Read our frequently asked questions on this update.

Don’t Miss a New Discovery

With this update, we have also added a new weekly email that will notify you of 4th cousin matches (or closer). So, as new people take the AncestryDNA test, you can find out if a new close cousin is found.

If you haven’t opted in for notifications, it’s easy to do through the settings for your DNA test. Get the step-by-step instructions on how to do this here. If you manage multiple AncestryDNA tests in your account, you can set your preferences for each test.

Advances in the Science

Phasing, trios, haplotypes, oh my. The AncestryDNA science team continues to make advances to the complex science of genetic genealogy. With this update, we’ve extended the areas in the genome that we analyze, so we can find larger areas of matching DNA. The new algorithm includes more diverse DNA than ever before, including many populations outside the United States. In addition to that, we have now added more known DNA-tested parent and child (duo sets) and known DNA-tested parents (both mom and dad) and child (trio sets) to the process to make our phasing even more accurate. A big thanks to the AncestryDNA customers who are not just taking the test themselves but also encouraging parents and other close family members to take the AncestryDNA test.

What Makes These Advances Possible?

The short answer is that the 1.5-million people taking the DNA test, plus the family trees they share, are enabling new findings in the science of how we’re all related. Each person who takes the DNA test is connected into the vast family network of people using AncestryDNA. With each observation of relatedness in that DNA network, along with the confirmation of the family connections, our scientists are finding new methods to better predict to whom and how we’re related.

We only know what we know with current data and research. As the database grows, what we know about our genetics and relationships grows with it.

To learn more about the science behind this exciting update, our team has shared more of the technical details on our Tech Roots blog. Read it all here.

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