Posted by Ancestry Team on May 12, 2016 in DNA Tech

The science and technology powering the AncestryDNA test, which helps people better understand themselves and where they come from, is always evolving. We are constantly seeking new and better ways to provide insights into your past and to help you uncover the stories and relationships that have come together to make you who you are. As part of that focus on continual improvement, starting next week, we will begin to use a new DNA test chip for the AncestryDNA test.

The new chip, with approximately 700,000 DNA markers, has been designed to help us refine our ability to provide insight into your ethnic and geographic origins and your family’s genetic history. In the four years since we launched AncestryDNA, we have learned that some markers, also known as SNPs, in DNA are better indicators of ethnic and geographic origins than others, so we have created this new chip to focus on those signals and enable further refinements to the results. This will provide further improvements to the ethnicity results we provide. For example, many of the markers that were picked for the new chip were selected because they provide greater insight into non-European populations. In addition, they strengthen our ability to provide matches to cousins who have also taken an AncestryDNA test. Altogether, the changes we have made to the new chip will enable us to provide more of the ethnicity and family story insights you have come to expect from us.

The new chip also includes some markers associated with health. Although we don’t currently offer health or diagnostic products to our customers, DNA data is used to improve our products and develop new ones, and for customers who have explicitly agreed, in external research to further understand human history and improve human health. We continue to explore the possibility of developing health products in the future, and may do so with proper regulatory and legal approval.

The data derived from this new chip is backward compatible with the tests that were done on the prior chip. This means that features like DNA cousin matching will work seamlessly for all our customers. It also means that if you’ve already taken an AncestryDNA test, you don’t need to take a new test for the existing features of our service to continue to work.

We are excited to be taking this step with AncestryDNA. We are confident that it will help us continue to refine the value we provide to our customers, offering more insights into the history of your families and connecting you with relatives you never knew before. We’re also excited by the possibilities it opens up for new products in the future.


  1. Jason Lee

    How can customers check to see if they have “have explicitly agreed” to external research? What do customers need to do to withdraw consent?

    • Sara Chevako

      So, have you enlarged your “reference population?” Would it be as if our previously-submitted “answer sheet” is now graded against against a more refined score sheet? Whatever, sounds good.

    • Melissa Garrett

      Hi Jason – You can check whether or not you consented to participate in external research when you activate your AncestryDNA kit on your DNA settings page. You can change your consent at any time and review the full Informed Consent document from the settings page.

  2. Vicki Edge

    “The data derived from this new chip is backward compatible with the tests that were done on the prior chip.” But that does not mean that the new SNPs will be tested on old chips, right? It seems that the only way to be tested for the new markers on the new chip is for the samples Ancestry already has from those already tested to be retested on the new chip or for those of us who have already tested to submit new samples. Is that correct? If not, please explain further.

  3. Hasani Carter

    “The data derived from this new chip is backward compatible with the tests that were done on the prior chip. This means that features like DNA cousin matching will work seamlessly for all our customers. It also means that if you’ve already taken an AncestryDNA test, you don’t need to take a new test for the existing features of our service to continue to work.”

    So…..will our existing test receive the new features? Will all existing customers be retested using the new chips?

  4. Ellen Belcher

    Do we old testers get to try the new chip? Maybe offer it to us at a discount? I would like to use it since my test was so long ago.

    • Leighna

      The last name used on your test will not matter, Shirley. Use your maiden name in your Family Tree, however.

  5. Melissa Garrett

    We’re not reprocessing customer DNA samples at this time as we have ensured that data from the old and new chips are compatible so that services like DNA matching and ethnicity estimates will continue to function for all AncestryDNA customers. So, current customers don’t need to do a thing. If we develop a new service that is only available through the new chip, we will let our customers know so that they can determine whether or not they wish to take a new test at that time.

    • Mary Yetter

      It was my understanding when I got Ancestry DNA that whenever there are updates, we wouldn’t have to do anything—that we would automatically get updated and not have to give additional samples or pay more money. The way it was explained, it would be like Christmas, and we would automatically see our updates when we sign in. Now it sounds like you are saying we might have to pay money for some updates in the future. That isn’t what we were told to begin with.

      • Leighna

        Hi Mary, I tested a few years back, and receive updates to my DNA matches whenever Ancestry rolls out new updates. Updates are a little different than new testing protocols on DNA, however.

  6. Jan_Noack

    Ancestry recived my 2 kits for my Father and I this week. They don’t say processing as yet. Is there any way I can get them on the new test? or if they don’t say processing does this mean you held them til next week? I’d love all the things the new test is offering (actually I thought ancestry was already doing it as I’d seen comments on it around)

  7. Ruth Cottrell

    Where is the labortory that does the testing located? What is the name of the laboratory and is it accredited by CMS and have a CLIA number? That information is readily available from Family Tree DNA and 23andme.

  8. Jacob

    The paper trail tells me I’m a mix of British, Irish, and German. But, my paternal grandfather’s brother and maternal great grandmother did Ancestry DNA.
    My paternal grandfather’s brother’s results were:
    33% Europe West
    23% Great Britain
    17% Scandinavia
    10% Ireland
    6% Europe East
    4% Italy-Greece
    4% Iberian Peninsula
    3% Caucacus
    My maternal great grandmother’s results were:
    40% Great Britain
    18% Scandinavia
    14% Europe West
    13% Europe East
    7% Ireland
    7% Italy-Greece
    <1% Iberian Peninsula
    I know I will get lots of people saying "you need to take the test yourself" or "that's not how DNA works," but at this time I cannot afford the test and was wondering if someone could tell me what this portion of my ethnicity would be from these relatives. I know it won't be exact, I just want an approximation. Thank you so much!

    • Leighna

      DNA doesn’t pass precisely like that, Jacob. Here is mine and then both parents.
      Eur East: 34%
      Gr. Brit. : 31%
      Eur West:14%
      Scand. : 6%
      Trace: 6% Ital/Gr, Iber. Pen
      Gr. Brit :41%
      Scan. : 28%
      Eur. East:20%
      Trace 10%. Eur. West/ Iber. Pen
      Eur. East : 49%
      Eur. Jew.: 17%
      Ital/Gree: 17%
      Scand. : 7%
      Eur. West: 6%

      You should see by looking at this that you can’t divine your approx. percentages by looking at Parents, let alone grands!

    • Robert Stewart

      You can’t estimate as you get a random amount of ethnic, not the expected 50% ethnicity from each parent’s ethnic results.

    • Bill S5

      As others have noted, you don’t exactly pass on 50% ethnicity from each parent.
      BUT that doesn’t mean you can’t calculate an estimate!
      Your paternal grandfather shared half his results with his brother. Half those, he shared with his son, and half again with you – so you have ROUGHLY 1/8 of your great-uncle’s results. You also have ROUGHLY 1/8 of your great-grandmother’s results. (and 3/4 unknown.)
      So, that comes to:
      8% Great Britain
      6% Europe West
      4% Scandinavia
      2% Ireland
      2% Europe East
      1-2% Italy-Greece
      0.5% Iberian Peninsula
      0.5% Caucacus
      75% unknown

      You can take that 75% unknown as:
      25% your paternal grandmother
      12.5% your paternal grandfather’s parents (not passed to grandfather’s brother)
      25% your maternal grandfather
      12.5% your maternal great-grandfather
      If you estimate them, you’ll estimate the 75% unknown.

  9. Leah Larkin

    How different are the old and new chips in terms of SNPs? That is, how many SNPs are the same between the two chips and how many are not?

  10. Mrs B

    I would appreciate having the upgraded chip as I have already purchased 7 DNA tests from Ancestry at quite a cost. At least let us re-test at a steep discount, we are your older loyal customers. And please give us the matching segment info, many of us are trying to map specific segments to particular lines in our trees. FTDNA, 23andme, and gedmatch all give this info, why not Ancestry? Thank you.

  11. Lettie Mae Lee

    Why can I not get into anything but the pages of explanation on Ancestry? I have been with since early 1990’s and all of a sudden I cannot get into anything, I am 84 years old and I do not understand. I am automatically signed in, but can’t get into anything. Why? Why? Frustrated.

  12. Angela

    My mother’s test started processing on 5/11 and was completed on 5/27/16. Was she done on the old chip or the new? Is there any way for people to tell which chip was used without contacting Ancestry customer support?

  13. Mitzae

    I would like to know more about the Hoyt project and how I can find out about what specific features pronounce the relationship.

  14. Sharon Stanfield

    Can you tell us which health sites are covered by the new chips, even though you can’t give us the results of hybridization to these sites yet?

  15. Nona Famous

    I can’t even…..imagine what exciting news is still ahead. Although I don’t understand a lot of what I’ve read so far I am sure I will eventually. I am very grateful for your continued effort to help us in our search and for leading the way in this fascinating backwards journey of self-discovery.

  16. Annie

    I feel kind of cheated. I just got my results back at the end of May and it’s version 1. Had I known about this I’d have waited. I currently have 5 family members’ tests in the pipeline which have only recently been sent off. They will presumably have the new version. How will my ethnicity results compare to theirs in terms of accuracy?

  17. Bill S5

    So, my 2013 V1.0 test lists 701,478 SNPs.
    (It’s about 0.02 – 0.03 % of all base pairs.) (1.36% no calls.)

    Can you even give us a GROSS summary of the changes?? Like, for example:
    – dropped 100,000 old SNPs that weren’t as useful as we’d hoped
    – dropped 5000 SNPs where we rarely got successful calls
    – added 40,000 new SNPs that expand ancestry matching for Eastern Asia and Africa
    – added 50,000 new SNPs that should refine our European ancestry results

  18. Naomi

    I live in South-Afrika in Cape Twoun seeking help from my fathers families as the Moolman’pleas reply to me we don’t now any one its only us thanks for the opportunity to connect with u.

  19. Griz Adams

    Anne – Reporting on the difference between V1 and v2. My wife and I took V1. We both showed up as 4% Irisih (which is low for both of us) When my son took the V2 chip, he showed up as 12% Irish. I think the new test is more accurate and I’m redoing mine.

  20. Linda Johnson

    I got my dad’s results recently and have been trying to upload his raw DNA with the new format to FamilyTreeDNA hoping to find more Swedish DNA matches. FTDNA can’t accept the new format. Is there a way Ancestry can provide me the 1.0 format so I can upload to FTDNA?

  21. Triangulation Groups would be highly beneficial to Block-busting with DNA. Having something in the shared matches that would indicate the specific segments and lengths shared and highlighting those in groups of possible triangles would go a lot further than the DNA circles which haven’t helped at all when I’ve got some. Without more information about the segments that match its extremely difficult to prove a lineage to follow as the most likely path to the most common ancestor.

    Please consider adding this information somewhere in the results for those who wish to delve deeper into the matches. Even if we are novices at Genetic Genealogy and prone to the occasional misunderstanding of what the data is actually telling us – the more information available, the better.

    Thanks for all you’ve done with the DNA processes to date. It’s a giant leap forward for genealogy and block-busting. I have found convincing evidence of the ‘right’ path to follow and have made some great discoveries with the availability of AncestryDNA – but the limitations make some of the work really challenging.

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