and AncestryDNA Genetic Testing

In a previous article, we talked about DNA testing company 23andMe which can tell you all about your genetic makeup through a simple saliva test that you mail to the company. You can also choose to have 23andMe compare your DNA to the 1 million other people who have taken the same test to see if you’re related to anyone. This “ancestry” component of the test is the most interesting one as it can reveal some very surprising information and instantly expand your extended family. One other company that is competing in this space is AncestryDNA , and they claim to be “The leader in DNA testing for family history“.

About AncestryDNA

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AncestryDNA is a service offering provided by, the world’s largest online family history resource. was founded in 1983 as Ancestry Publishing, a company focused on publishing genealogical books and magazine titles. In 1996 they launched and now have 1,300 employees with 2014 revenues of $620 million. had an IPO in 2009 but was acquired by Pemira funds 3 years later for $1.6 billion. In case providing information on family trees wasn’t lucrative enough already, in the same year, unveiled their DNA service offering called AncestryDNA.

Similar to the  23andMe ancestry test , the AncestryDNA test will tell you where you fall within 20 worldwide geographical and ethnic categories, including six regions in Europe, five regions in Africa, and Native American.


The AncestryDNA test is sold at a $99 price point, and like 23andMe, has tested around 1,000,000 people. What’s unique about the AncestryDNA test is that you can then leverage the database which includes millions of family trees and over 15 billion historical records. Even without the DNA test, provides a wealth of information about where you came from. The 2.2 million members of have created more than 70 million family trees containing more than 6 billion profiles and 300 million pictures.

These two companies appear to be going head-to-head. Surprisingly, publishes their financials and their second quarter 2015 revenues were $169.4 million compared to $156.1 million in the second quarter of 2014. If stays on that same trajectory, this would mean 2015 revenues of $676 million. They also appear to be targeting 23andMe with the below statement taken from their Q2 2015 financial results:

On July 16th the Company announced the beta release of AncestryHealth, a new website aimed at providing consumers with important health insights to help promote wellness, prevent illness, and lead healthier lives. The AncestryHealth initiative is being led by the Company’s newly appointed Chief Health Officer.


If you recall, 23andMe was initially providing health reports until the FDA prevented them from doing so as they did not receive the required approval (Update: As of 2015 23andMe resumed providing FDA approved genetic health tests). It will be interesting to see what direction 23andMe takes given that AncestryDNA seems to have an advantage in “family history” testing with the complimentary service offering. Given that Google’s Calico decided to collaborate with AncestryDNA on analyzing family history and genetics, it could mean that has the edge in the genealogy  DNA testing market. Doesn’t it make sense though for these two companies to share their DNA test result databases? If they did, the database of potential matches would double for users of either service.

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