Open Letter to DNA Testing Companies

Competition in DNA testing can only be good for the genetic genealogy world. Please, someone come up with a product to rival AncestryDNA!

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AncestryDNA recently began selling DNA test kits in Canada and Australia. That’s great—but I’m not ready for Ancestry to literally take over the global testing market.

An open letter to DNA testing companies

Dear Family Tree DNA, 23andMe, MyHeritage, and FindMyPast—

Please, please, please start putting your heads together and working together to come up with a product that could rival that of AncestryDN!. We all know from basic economics that a monopoly usually only benefits one person or company. With Ancestry’s newest launch into Canada and Australia, their plan for world domination marches forward, almost uncontested. While I am all for world domination by the genetic genealogy industry, we must not let this torch be carried by only one company. 

You all have services that individually can give AncestryDNA a run for its money. Family Tree DNA, your genetic-genealogy minded customer base, your YDNA and mtDNA testing, and your genetic tools are all good reasons to choose your DNA testing service. Likewise, 23andMe, with your superior admixture interpretation and the promise of health reports, you are also a wise choice. But, the two of you are severely lacking in anything that looks like a good genealogical tool.  It is like the cafeteria that serves just gravy with no mashed potatoes.  We really need some good genealogy tools to add substance to our DNA matches. 

What about our genealogy record providers? MyHeritage has excellent record collections (especially outside the United States) and search tools that certainly rival that of Ancestry. FindMyPast, you have a subset of records that no one else seems to posses. But honestly guys, DNA is moving to the forefront of genealogy. You must have more than a passing presence in this field to really capitalize on this market.

We need you. We need your combined efforts to add depth and breadth to this field. 

We are struggling genetic genealogists, trying to make sense of our DNA test results. I applaud AncestryDNA for trying to integrate these two fields so fully, but they are making a lot of mistakes. Eventually they will fix those big mistakes (theoretically) and make smaller mistakes that will be harder to see if someone else isn’t trying to duplicate their methods.

We are used to living in a free market that naturally provides these checks and balances for us. We need healthy competition that will make all companies perform better and innovate faster. There are many of us out here willing to support you- your bench is deep! So get in the game! 


Diahan Southard

Your DNA Guide

UPDATE: As of 2019…MyHeritage DNA has a viable DNA test and its DNA matching algorithm is improving. Findmypast is partnering with Living DNA to create a DNA test especially strong for British Isles ethnicity. And Family Tree DNA continues to strengthen its YDNA product and offer the only mtDNA testing in the genetic genealogy market.

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