As many of you know, we announced last week that we’re retiring our Y-DNA and mtDNA tests.
Unfortunately, we didn’t explain clearly our rationale for our decision, which has led to confusion. We’d like to take this opportunity to share the thinking that went into our decision making process.
First, we’d like to clarify that we are not retiring our autosomal AncestryDNA test that we launched in May 2012. We are only retiring the Y-DNA and mtDNA tests* that we launched in 2007. While the Y-DNA and mtDNA tests launched genetic genealogy and led to many great discoveries, the autosomal test has opened even more possibilities for family history research. Therefore, our decision to retire the Y-DNA and mtDNA tests is a deliberate attempt to focus our resources on providing powerful family history research tools that use autosomal testing.
Second, as part of the decision to retire Y-DNA and mtDNA tests we were faced with another difficult decision of what to do with the customer samples. On the one hand, we understand the value of these samples to many of you. On the other hand, we take customer privacy seriously and, regrettably, the legal framework used to collect these samples does not allow us to retest or transfer those samples. Practically speaking, many of these samples are also no longer useable. For example, many of the swabs were exhausted of genetic material during our testing or the sample may be past its shelf life. In the end we made the difficult decision to destroy the samples and are committed to trying to find solutions to these roadblocks for future products
We understand that many of you have spent years using the Y-DNA and mtDNA products for genealogy and no amount of justification will offer you comfort in our decision. It is our hope that our future products will convince you that the autosomal test is a powerful and useful tool for family history.
*The genetic results from these tests are available for customers to download until September 5, 2014.
UPDATE JULY 1, 2014: Due to recent site issues, we will be extending the period that MyFamily, MyCanvas, Genealogy.com, Mundia, and the Y-DNA and mtDNA websites will be available. These sites will now retire on September 30, 2014. An email will be sent to all customers accordingly.
About Ken Chahine
Ken Chahine, Ph.D., J.D., has served as Senior Vice President and General Manager for Ancestry.com DNA, LLC since 2011. Prior to joining Ancestry, he held several positions, including as Chief Executive Officer of Avigen, a biotechnology company in the Department of Human Genetics at the University of Utah, and at Parke-Davis Pharmaceuticals (currently Pfizer). Ken also teaches a course focused on new venture development, intellectual property, and licensing at the University of Utah's College of Law. He earned a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Michigan, a J.D. from the University of Utah College of Law, and a B.A. in Chemistry from Florida State University.