Two major DNA testing companies, 23andMe and FamilyTreeDNA, are having sales. Their pricing is roughly the same for the first year. The problem with 23andMe is that you need to continue to pay a monthly subscription fee of $9 for a Personal Genome Service, or you risk losing access to your results and new genetic matches. This fee structure, which was not in place when I originally purchased my kits a year ago, is disappointing. I have not used the services of FamilyTreeDNA, but will strongly consider using their website for any future DNA purchases.
In addition to the fee structure, I am disappointed in the genealogical offerings of 23andMe. I have been fortunate enough to encounter several people who are serious researchers and are actively corresponding with me to find our common ancestors. Unfortunately, most of my genetic matches do not correspond with me at all. My father has over 600 genetic matches. Eleven of these people have outright declined contact. About 150 have accepted contact; few have researched their family trees and are unable to assist in identifying our link. The other 450 remain silent and do not respond to my requests to share information. The plentiful database of matches is meaningless if most matches are not interested in genealogy. 23andMe promotes both health analysis and genealogy, and some of its customers are more interested in one than the other. This is understandable but frustrating when someone who is not interested in finding relatives is added to the pool of matches. FamilyTreeDNA, as its name implies, has much more of a genealogical attraction.
The pricing over at FamilyTreeDNA is a one-time $199 with no subscription.
Although the kit from 23andMe costs only $99, you must pay a $9 monthly charge for a year, bringing your total to $207 after one year. If you stop paying $9 per month after a year, you may lose access to your results, making your new genetic cousins vanish.
In an upcoming post, I will detail my substantive experiences of using 23andMe for autosomal DNA testing.