Family Tree DNA
Type Ltd
Industry Genealogy, DTC Genetic Testing
Founded 1999
Founder(s) Bennett Greenspan
Headquarters Houston, TX
Area served International
Products mtDNA Tests, Y-STR Tests, Y-SNP Tests, Autosomal Testing

Family Tree DNA is a commercial genetic genealogy company based in Houston, Texas with its partner laboratory, Arizona Research Labs, housed at the University of Arizona. Family Tree DNA offers analysis of YDNA, mtDNA, and autosomal DNA to individuals for genealogical purposes based on DNA samples collected using a cheek swab method with a kit supplied by Family Tree DNA to its customers. All samples once submitted are stored at Arizona Research Labs for future testing and archiving of DNA samples collected from family members.[1] In February 2009, Family Tree DNA announced that they, in partnership with the National Geographic Genographic Project, have tested over 500,000 kits.[2]


Family Tree DNA was founded in 1999 by Bennett Greenspan, an entrepreneur and lifelong genealogy enthusiast. Greenspan now serves as President and CEO of Family Tree DNA.

Family Tree DNA became widely known for its Y-chromosome STR testing for the Cohen Modal Haplotype. Family Tree DNA includes among its scientific staff, Dr. Michael Hammer (PhD), one of a team of scientists that first published on the Cohen Modal Haplotype in 1997 in the journal Nature.[3]

Scientific background[]

Scientists employed by Family Tree DNA or who serve on the Scientific Advisory Board of Family Tree DNA include: Michael Hammer (PhD), Bruce Walsh (PhD), Doron Behar (MD, PhD), Theodore G. Schurr (PhD), Alan J. Redd (PhD), Connie Bormans (PhD), Thomas Krahn (Msc), Matthew Kaplan (PhD cand.).[4]

DNA Testing[]

Y-Chromosome DNA[]

Family Tree DNA offers the analysis of Y-DNA for identification of the ethnic and geographic origin of the paternal line. Also, it is used to affirm or disprove a genealogical connection on the direct paternal line. A haplogroup is determined and backed by Family Tree DNA's SNP Assurance Program.[5] In addition Family Tree DNA has a test performed at their "advanced lab" led Dr. Thomas Krahn that seeks the discovery of new SNPs in accepted customers who participate, this test that customers can buy as a service is named Walk Through the Y (WTY)[6].

Mitochondrial DNA[]

Family Tree DNA offers the analysis of mitochondrial DNA, mtDNA, which is found in both men and women. mtDNA traces the direct maternal line. Family Tree DNA offers the testing of the HVR1 region, HVR2 region, and the Full Genome Sequence of the mitochondrial DNA. Results identify the ethnic and geographic origin of the maternal line.[5]

Autosomal DNA[]

Family Tree DNA offers analysis of autosomal DNA STRs based on the CODIS system developed by the FBI. Family Tree DNA offers this product to existing customers based on their DNA samples stored and archived at the University of Arizona Laboratories or to new customers who wish to submit a cheek swab sample. This test is used for informal paternity, maternity, and siblingship testing.[5]

With the recommended use of OmniPop software, recognized and used by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology, Family Tree DNA indicates that autosomal DNA is useful to analyse ones genetic ancestry in comparison to global populations.[7]


African DNA[]

Founded by Henry Louis Gates, African DNA[8] combines DNA testing with genealogical research.[9]

DNA Ancestry & Family Origin[]

DNA Ancestry & Family Origin[10] is a genetic genealogy testing partnership between Family Tree DNA and Eastern Biotech & Life Sciences. Their website is available in both English and Arabic.[11]


Family Tree DNA has a European partnership with iGENEA[12]. Their website is available in English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish.[13]


A dynamic partnership with myHeritage was launched in November 2008. myHeritage is a genealogical and family social networking website that produces online and PC based genealogy software.[14]

National Geographic Genographic Project[]

Family Tree DNA is the testing company for all public participation in the Genographic Project.

Press Reviews[]

  • February 2008 David Paterson, Lt. Governor of New York, was interviewed on “New York Now” about his experience with genetic genealogy. Family Tree DNA provided the testing.[18]
  • November 2008 In a New York Post article, they were the testing company used by Latino youths who were exploring their diverse genetic heritage.[19]


  1. ^ Family Tree DNA, Homepage
  2. ^ Family Tree DNA Website, Press Release February 11, 2009
  3. ^ Skorecki, K; Selig S, Blazer S, Bradman R, Bradman N, Waburton PJ, Ismajlowicz M, Hammer MF (1997). "Y chromosomes of Jewish priests". Nature 385: 32.
  4. ^ Who's Who At Family Tree DNA, Family Tree DNA
  5. ^ a b c Products and pricing, Family Tree DNA
  6. ^ Walk Through the Y (WTY)
  7. ^ Advanced Test Results, Family Tree DNA
  8. ^ African DNA
  9. ^ Harvard Professor Joins Forces with Family Tree DNA Michigan Chronicle, December 6, 2007
  10. ^ DNA Ancestry & Family Origin
  11. ^ DNA Ancestry Website, Homepage
  12. ^ iGENEA
  13. ^ iGENEA Website, Homepage
  14. ^ myHeritage Website, Blogs & Press Releases November 2008
  15. ^ Family tree project helps trace deep history MSNBC November 21, 2005
  16. ^ Famous Haplogroups ISOGG
  17. ^ Family Tree DNA Website, News
  18. ^ The Lt. Governor’s DNA: A Citizen of the World Times Union, February 12, 2008
  19. ^ Shirley Valasquez, What's In Your Genes: DNA Testing is the Rage Among Latinos New York Post, November 12, 2008

See also[]

External links[]