RootsTech 2018 DNA News


RootsTech 2018 DNA news includes DNA Quest for adoptees; MyHeritage’s Big Tree and on-its-way Living DNA matching technology. It’s a great season for genetic genealogy!

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There were plenty of announcements over the course of the RootsTech week, especially if you are interested in DNA, which, of course you are!

DNA Quest for adoptees

First up was MyHeritage, showing their support for the 7 million adopted individuals in the United States with their new DNA Quest campaign. MyHeritage will provide 15,000 free DNA test kits to eligible adoptees to help them use DNA to reunite with their biological families. With this initiative they “hope to make this project a shining light for corporate philanthropy and an example to be followed by other commercial companies in their own lines of expertise to make the world a better place.” MyHeritage has assembled an advisory board of genetic genealogists and genetic counselors to help drive this project and ensure it meets the needs of the community. If you or someone you know is interested in participating, you can head on over to the DNA Quest website to fill out an application. But you’d better hurry: the application deadline is April 30, 2018.

MyHeritage Big Tree

Next, addressing the biggest problem in genetic genealogy, namely the looming What Next? question facing millions of newly swabbed participants, MyHeritage announced the Big Tree – a giant network of genetic and genealogy results that will automate much of the match comparison and tree searching to replace your head-scratching with light-bulb moments. They have already made significant headway on this project, as shown in a Science journal article in which MyHeritage’s chief scientific officer, Yaniv Erlich, participated. The article reports that the MyHeritage science team successfully extracted public family trees from (a MyHeritage daughter company), and then used a computer program to clean up and link the trees together. It sounds like MyHeritage will be adding genetic data to this kind of tree data for their Big Tree project.

Living DNA matching is coming

MyHeritage isn’t the only company out to improve the DNA matching experience. U.K.-based Living DNA announced that they plan to add DNA matching to their popular origins test by third quarter 2018. When they launched in October of 2016, Living DNA was not offering cousin matching, but opted instead to focus all of their resources on providing very detailed origins reports, including breaking down the U.K. into 46 ethnicity categories. In the months since their launch, they have been working on a genetic matching system, called Family Networks, that will appeal to a wide range of users and will “reduce the risk of human error and take away the tedious task of figuring out how each person on a user’s list are related to one another.” They are promising an experience that provides “a level of relationship prediction and specificity beyond anything currently on the market.” 

If you are currently struggling with turning your DNA matches into genealogical discoveries, our testing companies want you to know you are not alone, and they are working hard to provide solutions to these problems!

If you’re ready to take your own DNA learning to the next level, consider subscribing to the DNA Guide video library. One low fee gives you a full year’s access to more than 30 DNA video tutorials for you to access in your own time, at your own pace. Check it out!  


Originally published March 2018 on