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PROVO, Utah, May 3, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Ancestry.com (Nasdaq:ACOM), today announced the launch of its highly anticipated AncestryDNA™ service, a new affordable DNA test that enables purchasers of the DNA test and subscribers of Ancestry.com to combine new state-of-the-art DNA science with the world's largest online family history resource and a broad global database of DNA samples.
The new DNA test analyzes a person's genome at over 700,000 marker locations, cross referencing an extensive worldwide DNA database with the aim of providing exciting insights into their ethnic backgrounds and helping them find distant cousins who may hold the keys to exciting family history discoveries. By combining these genetic matches with Ancestry.com's 34 million family trees and 9 billion records, AncestryDNA intends to provide a differentiated experience that helps find common ancestors dating back as far as the middle 18th Century.
"We've worked hard at Ancestry.com for more than a year building, testing, and reinventing our approach to genetic genealogy," said Tim Sullivan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Ancestry.com. "We think AncestryDNA has created a unique and engaging experience that will provide existing Ancestry.com subscribers with an entirely new way to make amazing discoveries about their family history. We are excited to be making AncestryDNA available to loyal Ancestry.com subscribers first…but we look forward to eventually opening up this service to everyone. We think it will allow us to extend our mission to help people discover, preserve, and share their family history to an even greater audience."
AncestryDNA helps determine geographic and ethnic origins by comparing test-takers' unique DNA signatures to the DNA of people from across the globe — drawn from the preeminent collection of DNA samples assembled by the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation. The current version of the test includes 22 worldwide geographical and ethnic categories, including six regions in Europe, five regions in Africa, and Native American.
"We think the newest DNA technology will dramatically change family history research. For the experienced genealogist it will help break down brick walls and for the casual family historian it will make it easier than ever to get started," said Ken Chahine, Ph.D., J.D. Senior Vice President and General Manager of Ancestry.com DNA, LLC. "While the science is cutting edge, the new online experience is simpler and more intuitive than ever before. We've already had overwhelming response and positive feedback from beta users as they discover relatives and uncover the treasures their ancestors passed down through DNA. DNA picks up where the paper trail leaves off. Genomic science can extend family history research into parts of the world where few paper records are available."
Interest in exploring family history is rising quickly, especially on the scientific front, and that interest extends all the way back to the "old country," wherever it may be. In fact, 56 percent of Americans recently surveyed by Harris Interactive are interested in taking a DNA genealogy test, up from 42 percent less than a year ago*. What's more, people's family history interests reach back beyond arrival in America — nearly two in three respondents told Harris that learning about pre-U.S. family members is one of the most important benefits of researching family history.
Pricing and Availability
Due to very strong early interest and demand, AncestryDNA will initially be made available by invitation-only to Ancestry.com subscribers for $99, with the expectation that the service will be made available to the general public later this year. To learn more about AncestryDNA, or to sign up to be notified once it's available, please visit www.ancestrydna.com.
In preparing to bring AncestryDNA to market with the best science and a broad set of research assets, AncestryDNA has organized a distinguished and independent Science Advisory Board and has also acquired access to DNA samples, many of which had been assembled by the non-profit Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation. AncestryDNA will be offered through Ancestry.com DNA, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Ancestry.com.
Science Advisory Board
With the continued focus on developing a solid DNA platform that stays ahead of the genetic genealogy trends, AncestryDNA has assembled a well-respected Scientific Advisory Board that can advise the company on best practices in the emerging field of DNA and genomic testing. The board consists of:
- Carlos D. Bustamante, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Genetics at Stanford University School of Medicine
- Mark J. Daly, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Medicine Harvard Medical School Center for Human Genetics
- John Novembre, Ph.D., Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Los Angeles
- Jeffrey R. Botkin, M.D., M.P.H., Professor of Pediatrics and Medical Ethics, Associate Vice President for Research, University of Utah
- Philip Awadalla, Ph.D., Director of the CARTaGENE BioBank, Saint Justine Hospital, Montreal, Canada
Addition of DNA Assets from the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation
In March, Ancestry.com DNA, LLC acquired access to an extensive collection of DNA assets from Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation, a non-profit organization. Founded by molecular genealogy pioneer, James LeVoy Sorenson, this organization has been dedicated to building the world's foremost collection of DNA samples and corresponding genealogical information. Over the last 12 years, the Sorenson Foundation collected a one-of-a-kind DNA database of tens of thousands of DNA samples with documented family histories in more than 100 countries on six continents. This DNA database gives AncestryDNA test-takers an expanded family history genetic resource, and should enable new levels of discovery about people's family backgrounds.
Jim Sorensen, President of Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation, added, "We are pleased to bring this far reaching, unique DNA collection to AncestryDNA. My father, James L. Sorenson, envisioned creating a genetic map of the peoples of the world that shows relationships shared by the entire human family and with the shared vision and resources of AncestryDNA his legacy will greatly expand. We are confident in the capabilities and dedication of the team to realize the potential of genetic genealogy faster than anyone else in the field. We see this as a great benefit to consumers as well as the scientific community by combining some of the best science with the leader in family history."
Ancestry.com Inc. (Nasdaq:ACOM) is the world's largest online family history resource, with more than 1.8 million paying subscribers. More than 9 billion records have been added to the site in the past 15 years. Ancestry users have created more than 34 million family trees containing approximately 4 billion profiles. In addition to its flagship site, Ancestry.com offers several localized Web sites designed to empower people to discover, preserve and share their family history.
About Ancestry.com DNA, LLC
Ancestry.com DNA, LLC is a subsidiary of Ancestry.com Inc. AncestryDNA uses a simple test to analyze an individual's DNA. AncestryDNA offers the potential of identifying new insights into people's ancient ancestry to help them collaborate with distant cousins and make even more discoveries in their family history. For more information visit www.ancestrydna.com.
This press release contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated by these forward-looking statements. Such forward looking statements include statements concerning the benefits we expect customers to gain from access to AncestryDNA's service offering and related database of genetic information, and the anticipated growth in interest of consumers in family history and genealogy services including genetic genealogy. Risks and uncertainties include the ability to make our new products and services easy to use, and accurate, the success of the DNA service in attracting and satisfying customers, our ability to retain existing and attract new subscribers by introducing new or improved services as well as our ability to integrate new products and services into Ancestry.com's on-going business. Information concerning additional factors that could cause events or results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements is contained under the caption "Risk Factors" in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2011, and in discussions in other of our SEC filings. These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing our views as of any subsequent date and we assume no obligation to publicly update or revise these forward-looking statements.
These surveys were conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Ancestry.com from March 13-15, 2012, among 2,211 adults ages 18 and older and from August 5-9, 2011 among 2,950 adults ages 18 and older. These online surveys are not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodologies, including weighting variables, please contact email@example.com.