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The Raw Thing

Ancestry.com should not filter the results of its AncestryDNA autosomal DNA testing service, according to a number of customers and industry observers.

Ancestry.com debuted its genetic genealogy service earlier this year and customer samples are processed using Illumina SNP chips. While it advertises the service as a means to find distant cousins or trace one's deep ancestry, it does not yet provide users with access to their raw tests results.

On The Legal Genealogist blog customer Judy G. Russell writes that there is "only so much you can do with a system that's built around matching family trees that people have uploaded," and argues that by having access to the raw results of her test, she could upload it to third-party utility sites, such as GedMatch, and "get much more benefit out of having tested my autosomal DNA."

In her post, Russell also notes that Ancestry.com's competitors 23andMe and Family Tree DNA do allow customers to upload their raw data results.

Though "most people don't download their raw data from these services ... it seems to be the ethical thing to do to at least give people the option," says Razib Khan at his Gene Expression blog. "I'm not opposed to paternalism in all cases, but this is ridiculous. What reason does Ancestry.com have to not provide raw data downloads when their competitors do?"

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