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Will AncestryDNA have 20 million people in their database before July 1st 2019?

The direct-to-consumer personal genomics industry has entered an exponential growth phase.

AncestryDNA is one service in this industry. It is offered by Ancestry.com, a genealogy website with Mormon roots. The AncestryDNA database reached 10 million individuals at some point over the summer, a fact advertised on their website. And a press release four days ago (November 29th 2018) states that they have sold "14 million DNA kits", although it's not clear if this number has a one-to-one relationship with the number of people whose genetic information is 'in their database'. (From experience, there can be quite some time between buying a kit and your results being accessible.)

AncestryDNA is also stepping on the toes of more human biology–oriented services such as 23andMe – it recently launched a product called AncestryDNA Traits, which attempts to quantify your genetic propensity to curly hair, a cleft chin, and other such frivolous characteristics.

While customers may buy their kits simply to find out what percent Native American they are, the growth of direct-to-consumer genomics has broader implications for medical research, criminal justice and family relationships.

This question asks the following:

Before July 1st 2019, will Ancestry.com announce that they have 'stored' or 'tested' (or similar language) the genetic information of at least 20 million individuals?


  • Credible sources, materials on the official Ancestry.com website, and press releases or documentation unambiguously attributed to Ancestry.com or its official subsidiaries can be used for positive resolution

  • AncestryDNA refers often to the number of people 'tested' or to 'kits sold'; I assume that this is partly because the matter of whether they 'have' or 'own' the data is a fairly complicated legal matter. It seems that AncestryDNA owns 'licenses' over the genetic data of the individuals who sign up to the service, and the individuals themselves maintain ownership over their own genetic data. For this reason, it's hard to predict precisely what language they will use to describe the number of people 'in their database'. Fortunately, the precise verb they use in relation to the number of individuals will probably not lead to contestable ambiguity in the question resolution. But with regards to the matter of 'kits sold', see below:

  • The statement used to confirm positive resolution should ideally be focused on the number of people; if the statement mentions instead the number of kits sold, and it is not unambiguously clear that the same number of people have been 'tested' by AncestryDNA or that their genetic information is 'in the database', or similar language indicating that they have actually generated the digitised genetic data of this number of people, then the statement cannot be used for positive resolution, unless the community consensus decides otherwise, for instance due to the statement's context

  • In the event that Ancestry.com in some way 'acquires' another genetic database, and the new number of individuals 'in AncestryDNA's database' goes above 20 million, the question resolves positive only if these new individuals are somehow integrated into the system, for instance such that these new individuals are searchable in AncestryDNA's genetic relative–finding service

  • If Ancestry.com starts offering a service which allows people to upload onto their site genetic data generated from other sources, in the manner of other services like MyHeritage, any statement used to support positive resolution must convey unambiguously that the number mentioned is the number of individuals whose digitised genetic data was generated by, from DNA samples gathered by, Ancestry.com, its subsidiaries, or registered contractors


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