AncestryDNA is growing its services beyond offering a glimpse at your genetic makeup through at-home DNA testing. Now, it wants to offer you a deeper look at why you have certain traits, like a cleft in your chin or a distaste for cilantro, and how that connects you to others in your genetic line.
AncestryDNA Traits is an interactive platform that customers can purchase for $9.99 that allows you to see up to 18 different traits you’ve inherited that you can share with other members of your family. You can purchase this separately as long as you’ve already completed an Ancestry DNA test.
If you’ve wondered why you have green eyes when the rest of your family has brown eyes, this might provide some insight. Traits such as hair color, skin pigmentation, eye color, and even iris patterns can run in a family and connect to your ethnic origins. Your eye color can be traced to your genetic heritage through an interactive map with the new service. For instance, you can see if your green eyes are common among people with Irish ancestry. Or if you think cilantro tastes like soap, you can also trace this back to your genetic makeup.
Interestingly, customers have reported that Ancestry also asks you to confirm the physical traits that you possess while using the service, like the color of your eyes, to add to its comparative database. The landing pages for each trait include a few “fun facts” about the trait and lists scientific articles about the topic.
The new tool also asks you to connect your “matches” to AncestryDNA Traits, which are people in your family that have taken the DNA test but haven’t yet signed up for the additional service. It then compares your traits with others in your family.
Ancestry doesn’t provide health information or physical tendencies based on genetics like 23andMe, but rather provides a deeper look at the physical and sensory features you possess and allows you to share with other family members.
Ancestry and other at-home DNA testing companies have come under fire recently for their privacy practices, sharing customer DNA for research purposes with third parties without getting consent from those customers. Ancestry addressed this with the announcement of its new service, stating:
“As in everything we do, protecting your privacy is our highest priority, so we will continue to place you in control of your data – that means both you and your counterpart must consent to participate in any Traits Comparison.”
The service is available now via the Ancestry website.