New British-based DNA test firm sets its sights on the US

The founders of a pioneering new DNA ancestry service based in the UK are visiting the US for the first time to speak with genealogy enthusiasts about their new Living DNA product.

From 8th-11th February, visitors to RootsTech 2017 in Salt Lake City, Utah – an exhibition that showcases the best in DNA testing technology – will be able to meet the founders of the ambitious British firm that offers a unique HD view of family histories, compared to the standard resolution that other companies provide.

Living DNA offers over twice the geographic detail of other tests, giving American users the most in-depth and precise genetic map of their ancestry. It is the first in the world which can allow the many US citizens who have British ancestors to narrow down their roots to 21 specific regions of Britain and Ireland, showing them exactly where those ancestors were from. Living DNA can also break down a person’s global ancestry to over 80 worldwide regions throughout history.

David Nicholson, Managing Director of Living DNA, comments: “We are committed to using the power of DNA to help people understand the truth about their ancestry. We are all connected and all share ancestors with one another. Our goal is to put people’s past into context in a way that has never been done before.”

Living DNA has been developed in partnership with over 100 world leading genetics experts, including the team behind the People of the British Isles Study 2015 – the first fine-scale genetic map of Britain and Ireland. The new platform is designed to give people the most accurate and detailed estimate of their extended family tree, stretching back thousands of years.

From a simple saliva mouth swab kit, the new test uses the latest DNA testing technology to analyse over 680,000 DNA ‘markers’, and unlock a person’s genetic code to their past. Instead of looking at pieces of DNA in isolation, Living DNA analyses distinct sections of ‘linked DNA’, and then matches those findings to latest academic research using sophisticated software.

Living DNA’s product is the only one of its kind which allows users to look back over 10 generations to see their ancestry throughout human history, and discover when they shared ancestors with people throughout the world. Most other ancestry tests only look at people’s recent family history, typically going back 4 or 5 generations at most.

The ability for people to explore how their extended ‘ancestry family’ has changed over time is a key feature of the new product, according to Mr Nicholson: “A Living DNA test is unique in that it not only lets you look at the last 10 generations of your family ancestry mix using autosomal DNA, but it also allows you to look at the overall spread of your ancestry across the world, going right back to the point that we all shared common ancestors.

Our test also includes a detailed picture of your motherline and fatherline, both of which span back from the point modern humans first migrated out of Africa. Our team is committed to putting DNA into context for everyone that choose to use our service.”

One of the key academic collaborators Living DNA has worked in developing its new test has been Dr Dan Lawson, a professor at an English university and one of the authors of The People of the British Isles Study 2015 – the first fine-scale genetic map of Britain and Ireland. He comments: “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 within the UK.”

Living DNA’s test itself is run on a custom-built “Living DNA Orion Chip”. It is one of the first bespoke DNA chips in the world to be built using the latest GSA technology from market leader Illumina, and tests over 656,000 autosomal (family) markers, 4,700 mitochondrial (maternal) markers and 22,000 Y-chromosomal (paternal) markers.

A lifetime membership to Living DNA typically costs $149, including a swab kit, the DNA test itself and access to a personalised, interactive results platform – an exclusive show discount will be available to visitors at RootsTech.

Test results take approximately 8-12 weeks before they are available, and a bespoke coffee table book of the results costs an additional $69 plus postage and packing. A membership also includes free lifetime updates to people’s results as new genealogy research and population groups are added to the platform and as science evolves.

Visitors to RootsTech will be able to meet the founders of Living DNA at stand number 233.

ENDS