A topic that we have not yet touched upon is “Raw Data” with respect to DNA tests. Raw Data is essentially information from DNA which companies run through their databases.
In doing this, they can compare your DNA to the DNA of others in their databases. Some of the things Raw Data can tell a company is: ancestral origins, information about genetic health, traits, etc. Many DNA testing companies including AncestryDNA, 23andme, and FamilyTreeDNA to name a few, allow users to download their own Raw Data. While this Raw Data will look like a bunch of random numbers to the untrained eye, it is not only interesting, but also informative to download this Raw Data, and upload it to another company’s database. Examples of companies which accept Raw Data Uploads include but are not limited to: MyHeritage, FamilyTreeDNA, Gedmatch, We Gene, DNA LAND, etc. Some users may be wondering what the purpose would be for uploading one’s Raw Data to another company for their interpretation. While it is obviously not vital to do this, it can be beneficial for the following reasons:
- Uploading your Raw AncestryDNA or 23andme data to a place like Gedmatch or Myheritage for example, will allow you to find known relatives you have who took tests from different companies, if they have submitted their DNA to these companies for interpretation.
- Let’s say that the company you tested with is great, but they have not quite honed in on a particular population from where you suspect you may have some ancestry, while another company offering an upload has, they may do a better job of detecting that ancestry.
- By doing this, you are contributing to Ancestral DNA testing research, and enabling companies to have a larger database than ever before.