Saturday, May 16, 2020

Another DNA Tool

Slowly, slowly, the various DNA testing companies add additional tools to help their customers sort through the tangled strands representing the lines of our family's tree. Just yesterday, I received a welcome email from Living DNA, the genetic genealogy company headquartered in the United Kingdom, alerting me of their progress in adding DNA matches. Of course, I immediately had to click through and take a look.

To say that all is completed would not be an entirely correct statement. Apparently, Living DNA is rolling out their innovations s-l-o-w-l-y. A while back, they had emailed the first tantalizing tidbit, but when I tried to access the new and improved development, a notice popped up on the screen explaining that it wasn't quite ready for the big reveal. Yesterday appeared to be more of the same.

With this email, Living DNA customers are one step closer to learning more about their matches. Clicking on the "Relatives" tab leads to "Family Networks," which explains that customers can "see matches as a list or a connected network of predicted relationships, providing more intuitive results."

True, the result was that, under the "list" option, I was automatically shown a list of user names, plus the details of shared DNA in both percentages and centiMorgan measurements. Each match's entry came with a possible range of relationship level, as well as a small icon resembling the flag of the customer's presumed residence.

Taking a look around the screen, I noticed my closest match, so far, shared only 51 cM with me, not a compelling amount. Of course, results can be sorted by closest match, as the default demonstration revealed, or by name, date added, or largest shared segment (a favorite option of mine).

Looking back toward the top of that screen again, I noticed the option to toggle from "list view," where I currently was set, to "tree view." I was disappointed to see the resultant screen grayed out, with a message, "this is an example of family tree." Presumably, in like fashion as before, Living DNA will roll out this feature in the near future. Believe me, I can't wait.

Likewise, I noticed when I clicked through to any of my matches, that the subsequent page, where I could view a list of matches held in common with this individual's profile, provided an option to view a chromosome browser. Despite what one other DNA company says about the utility of chromosome browsers, I do like to use this device, so I clicked through. Again, a gray screen advised, "Feature coming soon."

What more can I say at this point than that I'm looking forward to these features "coming soon." They can't get here soon enough for me.

One realizes, of course, that the utility of this set of matches will increase as Living DNA's customer base increases, especially for those with roots in the British Isles. The initial readout of ethnic estimates and the more closely-defined geographic regions of origin were a tempting call to participate when I first signed up, now almost two years ago, and as the company continues to update their ethnicity estimates (my most recent update arrived nearly three weeks ago). But for customers like me, the bottom line is that I view DNA testing as a utility assisting me to fine tune my family tree through cooperative effort with others who have tested and who match my own results—for which, apparently, we still need to wait a bit longer.


  1. I am exactly the same .. I keep waiting and checking in the hopes that the features are added. Seeing as my goal is to map as many ancestors to my chromosome segments as possible, a chromosome browser is imperative, especially considering this site is the only site with an identifiable Hobbs ancestor unable to upload to another site due to compatibility issues. It was the main reason I didn't even bother with a certain site out there.

    1. Personal research goals really need to be the main driver in option preferences, Xrystal, regardless of what any other companies may say. With your goal of chromosome mapping, that decision directs your choice of tools used. Hopefully, you will find some Hobbs links, once all these features are fully up and running.


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