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Ancestry to Discontinue NGS-Based AncestryHealth Service

NEW YORK – Ancestry has decided to discontinue AncestryHealth, its next-generation sequencing-based consumer genomics offering, to focus more on family history and genetic genealogy, the family history company said in a blog post on Thursday.

Lehi, Utah-based Ancestry called the move a "strategic but difficult decision." The product will no longer be available for purchase effective Jan. 15, and the firm will support users through July 2021.

Ancestry launched AncestryHealth in 2019, building on its successful AncestryDNA testing service, which has genotyped more than 18 million customers to date. The company said it in part decided to discontinue AncestryHealth to invest more in its AncestryDNA offering.

"AncestryDNA ... remains an important part of our family history success," Ancestry said. It pledged to "continue to innovate across our experience, delivering product improvements and more record collections to help make finding discoveries easier and faster."

Expanding into health was always a target for Ancestry since it launched AncestryDNA in 2012. An earlier iteration of AncestryHealth rolled out in 2019, and last year the company introduced a sequencing-based version of the test in partnership with Quest Diagnostics, Illumina, and PWNHealth. The product provided an extensive list of health and wellness reports. First-time customers could purchase the test for about $200, while AncestryDNA users could upgrade for $99.

In its post, Ancestry called the test a "trailblazing" product that helped democratize access to personal health information and raise awareness among physicians and customers of the potential of genomics for detecting risks for various conditions. Ancestry also said that Quest, which developed the technology underlying the test, plans to continue its work in the area with a "range of applications."

In a note to investors on Friday, JP Morgan analyst Tycho Peterson called Ancestry's decision the "latest sign of trouble in the consumer DNA testing industry." He noted that both Ancestry and 23andMe had trimmed their workforces last year due to a slowdown in the market, and that "initial consumer interest in DNA testing has continued to level off."