AncestryDNA Provides No Chromosome Browser

AncestryDNA has the largest database of DNA sequenced for genealogy purposes. Despite years of customer requests, Ancestry does not provide this basic, fundamental tool for genetic genealogy research. Why?

I have been searching the Internet for some kind of answer to this question, without much success. Many searches point to a “guest blog post” by Linda Barnickel: Exploring Your DNA Results Further. Now, the blog post itself makes no mention of the lack of a chromosome browser. Many of the 50 comments on the post talk about / request a chromosome browser. Scroll down to a comment by Janet on December 26, where she refers to an article in Ancestry’s Help Section that describes the limitations of chromosome browsers [as a complete standalone genetic genealogy solution]. It is, at best, a straw man argument.

I can’t find the actual help section that she refers to. I have searched and searched and I have to conclude that either the search engine attached to their Help Section was written by a third-grader, or there is really no reference to a chromosome browser in their help pages. The fact that comments on that blog post were closed when a clamor of users demanding a chromosome browser is a little suspicious.

I suspect that Ancestry has their own internal reason for not providing a chromosome browser. They pride themselves at being part of the “bleeding edge” of genetic genealogy technology … I don’t believe that they can’t write a perfectly good chromosome browser. Perhaps they are concerned about the additional support calls that they will have to field from confused novice users. Maybe they are concerned that their customers will not feel compelled to spend their research dollars on Ancestry data subscriptions if they believe that they can find answers just by analyzing DNA (you can’t). Most likely they have such a low regard for the basic intelligence of their customer base that they feel their service would be too complicated for some people if they included it. Other than the hypothetical (and unlikely) loss of revenue, these can all be mitigated.

There is a cute cartoon I found in a FAQ list, which basically describes why you should download your raw DNA from AncestryDNA and upload it to GEDMatch.

I am hoping to test a large block of family members at some point in the future. I have been struggling to decide which service to use. At this time, without a chromosome browser, even with the largest database, Ancestry has taken themselves out of the competition.

 

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