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National Geographic

Ancestry testing, or genetic genealogy, is arguably the largest component of the direct-to-consumer genomics market, and is dominated by four companies and organizations with microarray-based offerings: 23andMe, Ancestry.com, Family Tree DNA, and National Geographic.

Two times in the past four months, members of National Geographic's Genographic Project have traveled to communities in Europe to collect specimens to be genotyped for ancestry informative markers using Illumina microarrays.

National Geographic may adopt another genotyping platform for use in its Genographic Project as soon as next year.

Illumina's microarray business continued to grow in the second quarter, with customer demand for its Omni and Core families of genotyping arrays, contributions from recent addition BlueGnome, and sales to direct-to-consumer genetics firms such as 23andMe and Ancestry.com pushing

Ancestry.com has processed 120,000 samples since it launched its SNP microarray-based AncestryDNA service last year, and is planning new upgrades to the service, according to a company representative.

Illumina's microarray revenues increased 1 percent in the first quarter due to demand from consumer genetics companies, researchers running genome-wide association studies, and clients of BlueGnome's chips for cytogenetics and pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, the company said

2012 was a year of profound change for the microarray market, a year when one of the industry's major vendors decided to shutter most of its chip business and others abandoned hopes of a large "second wave" of genome-wide association studies that would match the first in scale.

Illumina BeadChips will power the next stage of National Geographic's Genographic Project, which is mapping the migratory history of humans by analyzing DNA samples from hundreds of thousands of people from around the world.

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