DNA News and Updates: January 2019

Are you wondering what to expect over the next few months in the DNA world? Curious about the updates or changes that DNA testing companies and other sites have rolled out recently? In this post, you’ll learn about the most important DNA news and updates for January 2019.

Major DNA testing company changes and updates

Want to know what’s new with the top DNA testing sites?

My Heritage now charging for ethnicity estimate and chromosome browser access

One of the most substantial updates for this month is that My Heritage is now charging for complete access to results from uploaded DNA data.

This is probably one of the most inevitable changes that we’ve seen over the past few months. My Heritage has an excellent and very helpful website for exploring DNA results and DNA matches. Up until recently, you could upload your DNA data received from another testing company and get My Heritage DNA results completely for free, which included access to DNA matches, ethnicity data, and a chromosome browser.

As they say, all good (free?) things must come to an end. While you will still get a DNA match list for free, you will have to pay $29 to unlock access to the complete DNA results (including ethnicity estimate and chromosome browser) for all of the kits on your account.

Ancestry DNA updated ethnicity estimates and website features in 2018

If you haven’t checked in to your Ancestry DNA results lately, you might want to take a few minutes to do so. Many people are unaware that they can update their ethnicity estimates using the latest technology – and it’s free.

On your DNA match list, you will notice that you don’t have to click on the match to find out how much DNA or how many DNA segments you share with your match. You can also see your DNA matches on a map – how cool is that?

Plus, now when you scroll through your DNA match list, you will now see “Unlinked Tree” for those matches who have family trees on their profile but have not linked them to their DNA results. This saves an incredible amount of time.

Updates to DNA analysis sites and new services to help you learn from DNA results

New services, updates, and changes to sites we use to analyze and learn from DNA for genealogical purposes.

Gedmatch Genesis now has genealogy tools available

As part of the ongoing transition from the classic Gedmatch site to Gedmatch Genesis, they have now made genealogy analysis tools available on Gedmatch Genesis.

As you might know, the best way to learn about your connection with a DNA match is by comparing your shared DNA and your family tree, so I am happy to see some of the helpful tools from the classic site migrated to the new Gedmatch Genesis site.

To The Letter Offers DNA extraction from envelopes

In a very exciting development, an Australian company called To The Letter has begun to offer DNA extraction and genotyping from stamps on letters. This is a really cool idea, and will be very handy for those people who have collections of old letters around.

I’ve always wondered about the genetic makeup of my ancestors, and now I know that if I can find a stamp that might have been licked by one of them, I might be able to get a concrete answer.

For those who are interested, it is going to be expensive (about $570, depending on currency exchange rates) and it won’t work in all cases. If you are interested in learning more about it, definitely check out the To The Letter website.

Celebrity DNA results – Elizabeth Warren and George R.R. Martin

Since Elizabeth Warren has officially announced that she is exploring the idea of a presidential bid in 2020, I thought it fitting to mention that she responded to a question in a press conference yesterday that she had her DNA analyzed in order to “put it all out there.” Of course, she had her DNA done a while back, but I’m sure this is going to be a topic of discussion for much more time to come.

You can read more about Elizabeth Warren’s Native American heritage in two posts here on this site:

Also in recent news on celebrity DNA results, the author of the Game of Thrones series, George R.R. Martin, has discovered that he is about 25% Jewish.  I wish him the best of luck exploring his unexpected Jewish roots!

Genetic Genealogy in the news – highlight reel

  • CeCe Moore, one of the most well-known genetic genealogists, was honored was one of the top 100 most influential residents of Orange County, California
  • Genealogists turned crime-fighters continue to amaze people with their detective skills by using DNA and family tree information to solve cold cases
  • Within a few years, up to 90% of people with primarily European background will be identifiable through DNA analysis, even if they haven’t done a DNA test themselves.

Genetic Testing for Health News Highlights

  • It seems as if that having access to health information from DNA tests might cause unnecessary anxiety, but researchers have concluded that patients usually don’t overreact when they get their genetic test results back. Awesome!
  • Should babies have their DNA sequenced? Some scientists think that this might be a good idea.
  • Instead of commercially-available genetic testing, some doctors recommend discussing medical histories with family members in order to find out what might run in the family. (Personally, I think it’s a great idea to talk to your doctor about any concerns)


I hope that this post helped you get a good idea about the most recent updates and changes that we have experienced in the DNA world. It’s definitely going to be an exciting year as DNA technology changes and improves.

What are you hoping to learn this month about your DNA and family tree?

Got DNA news?

Do you know something newsworthy about a DNA testing company or a website that offers a product or service related to DNA analysis? Let me know by sending me an e-mail: mercedes @ whoareyoumadeof.com. I would love to include it in my monthly DNA News and Updates series.

Share the knowledge!