News Article | May 15, 2017
May 24, 2017, 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at The Roof at ROC, 604 Arizona Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90404 -- Actress and reality star Rolexis Schinsing is appearing at The Roof at ROC in Santa Monica on Wednesday, May 24, serving as a judge for "The Pitch," a talent competition sponsored by the international streaming app Live.me. Schinsing most recently starred in season 2 of BYUtv's "Relative Race," an award-winning reality series competition, and HBO's "Treme."Schinsing is a big supporter of the Live.me app, where she is a verified user with more than 45,000 of her own followers, fueled by her popularity on "Relative Race" and her commitment to staying connected with viewers of the show."The Live.me app has helped me gain more of a following, and I have been able to carry these fans over to my other social media platforms," she said. "I love to inspire others and feel this app helps me communicate more with my fans."She is certainly a fan favorite on "Relative Race," where she and her husband Leo Schinsing worked together as a team to compete against three other couples for a $50,000 grand prize. The show is a hybrid of "The Amazing Race" combined with a genealogy treasure hunt – where in 10 days, couples race across the country, completing challenges and meeting unknown relatives along the way."Relative Race" was developed in partnership through BYUtv and AncestryDNA, and has become a stand-out in a now crowded and analogous reality TV landscape. This past February, the show was named the "Best New Reality Series/Competitive"by the National Cynopsis TV Awards.Although the Schinsings came close to winning the competition narrowly missing coming in first place by only five minutes, the real reward has been experiencing the personal and professional effects of the show."Appearing on "Relative Race" has been such a wonderful journey, having an incredible impact on the fans and on us…meeting relatives that we've never met, stepping foot in their homes, not knowing what to expect," Schinsing explained."The show demonstrates the true importance of family, and although the competition was challenging, the experience was well worth it. "Relative Race" is not your typical reality show–it's an amazing series that brings family together."Follow Rolexis Schinsing on:Live.Me @officialrolexisTwitter: https://twitter.com/ officialrolexis Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ officialrolexis Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ OfficialRolexis
News Article | May 25, 2017
Danny Dyer discovering he was related to King Edward III was one of the stand-out moments of Who Do You Think You Are last year, but David Nicholson uncovers family secrets every day at Living DNA. “I remember working with one woman who had been abandoned at two months old,” he says. “Through DNA testing she found her second cousin and could reconstruct her family to identify who her father and later her mother actually were.” The public’s fascination with ancestry has led to a boom in businesses specialising in DNA. The world’s consumer genetic testing market was worth $70m (£53m) in 2015, and is expected to rise to $340m (£261m) by 2022. It’s expanded beyond the ancestry sector and into beauty, health and fitness, and even dating. Some firms in America provide DNA testing for pets so dog owners can pinpoint the exact breed makeup of their four-legged friend. It’s a market largely dominated by large firms, such as AncestryDNA, which recently announced they’d reached four million users on their database (a 25% increase from three months before), and 23andMe, which is part owned by Google. But SME owners are breaking new ground in this field. Nicholson, launched his Frome-based business Living DNA in 2016. An expert in DNA testing, he also owns the parent company DNA Worldwide, which has been running since 1999. Their latest consumer offering promises to give customers “twice the detail of other ancestry tests”. Users pay a one-off fee of £120 for a swab kit that arrives and is returned via post. Typically, the results take 8-12 weeks to arrive and come with lifetime access to an online report – this is at odds with larger competitors, many of whom only provide access while you are a paying subscriber. The main difference in the tests, Nicholson says, is more detailed results that are easier for customers to understand. “We’ve developed algorithms that can map a person’s DNA mix across 80 world regions,” he says. “People tell us they’ve had tests done elsewhere and couldn’t understand the results. They’ve had to download files and compare centiMorgan [a unit for measuring genetic linkage] lengths. We provide something that’s simple and user-friendly.” He’s not surprised by the rise in interest in DNA and says the relatively low cost of tests today has opened the science up to everyone. “The one question that societies through the ages always ask is what is our purpose: why are we here and how did we get there? Held within our DNA code is the history of humanity.” Beyond burning questions about mankind’s origins, the popularity of DNA testing has also opened up new possibilities in the beauty and fitness sectors, particularly when it comes to the personalisation of products. “Our research shows that skin ageing is 60% influenced by your genes and 40% by your lifestyle,” says Dr Martin Stow, Group CEO of GENEU, which launched in 2014. “The DNA is tested at our London laboratory and we analyse genes associated with antioxidant protection and collagen breakdown, which determine the rate at which skin ages. “After the test and a consultation, we prescribe personalised GENEU skincare serums to optimise and future-proof the appearance of the customer’s skin.” Skincare is a lucrative niche, with the UK market worth an estimated £465m in 2015. GENEU’s starter kits range from £200 to £1,800, while the at-home DNA sample kits costs £89, plus any prescribed serums. Customers can also provide a DNA sample for analysis in store – the brand has a flagship store off London’s New Bond Street and a pop-up in Selfridges on Oxford Street. Stow hopes to eventually be able to provide results straight away. “Genetic testing is starting to impact the healthcare space in personalised medicine, but its real potential lies in consumers being able to take a simple on-the-spot test so they can make more informed product choices,” Stow says. If our genes reveal how fast our skin is going to age, it stands to reason that they can also tell us how to exercise. That’s according to Andrew Steele, from DNAFit. He is a recently retired Olympic athlete who competed at the Beijing Olympic Games (his relay team finished fourth in the final but were upgraded to bronze after the Russian team was retrospectively disqualified for a doping violation). Athletes Greg Rutherford and Jenny Meadows are also said to be fans of the approach. DNAFit was founded by South African life sciences entrepreneur Avi Lasarow in 2013. Previously, he was the owner of Trimega Laboratories, one of the world’s first businesses to commercialise hair testing for alcohol and drug abuse. DNAFit’s genetic test, which is available from £99, uses a mouth swab sample to screen for gene variants. These are then evaluated to devise a personalised training plan. “What led me to meet Avi and join DNAFit were my own experiences of using DNA to better understand what exercise and diet worked best for me,” Steele, DNAFit’s head of product, says. ‘The tests tell people which foods they need and are intolerant to [and] also show what exercises best suit their body. “DNAFit was created to take this level of genetic data out of the lab and … [was the first] to really help people understand their genetic data in relation to their exercise or nutrition response. We created the market for what we do.” But do these tests work? DNAFit commissioned an independent study conducted by the University of Central Lancashire, did find an improvement among those who trained to their genetic strengths versus those on unmatched training programmes. But some scientists, such as Dr Helen Wallace, are sceptical of the commercialisation of DNA testing. Wallace is the director of Gene Watch UK, a not-for-profit organisation that monitors developments in genetic technologies. “Sciona began selling [gene tests directly to customers] in the Body Shop in 2001, with dietary advice,” she says. “But those tests were exposed as misleading in 2002. “As well as having a viable business model, the DNA-test-based product and service providers of the future will have to comply with regulations and maintain consumer trust. Consumers should be aware of the limitations of the tests and know that new regulations to check companies’ health claims are not yet in force.” Those banking on DNA testing to find their perfect mate may be disappointed. “Scientists have not been able to confirm any links between genes and behaviours or personality types, for example, so [something like] genetic matchmaking would have no scientific basis,” Wallace adds. Sign up to become a member of the Guardian Small Business Network here for more advice, insight and best practice direct to your inbox.
News Article | May 25, 2017
A leading genealogy service, Ancestry.com, has denied exploiting users' DNA following criticism of its terms and conditions. The US company's DNA testing service has included a right to grant Ancestry a "perpetual" licence to use customers' genetic material. A New York data protection lawyer spotted the clause and published a blog warning about privacy implications. Ancestry told BBC Radio 4's You and Yours its terms were being changed. Headquartered in Utah, Ancestry is among the world's largest for-profit genealogy firms, with a DNA testing service available in more than 30 countries. The company, which uses customers' saliva samples to predict their genetic ethnicity and find new family connections, claims to have more than 4 million DNA profiles in its database. Ancestry also stores the profiles forever, unless users ask for them to be destroyed. The company's terms and conditions have stated that users grant the company a "perpetual, royalty-free, worldwide, sublicensable, transferable license" to their DNA data, for purposes including "personalised products and services". In a statement to You and Yours, an Ancestry spokesperson said the company "never takes ownership of a customer's data" and would "remove the perpetuity clause". It added: "We will honour our commitment to delete user data or destroy their DNA sample if they request it. The user is in control." Joel Winston, a consumer rights lawyer and former New Jersey State deputy attorney-general, was one of the first to spot the legal wording and to warn of the possible implications. "Ancestry.com takes ownership of your DNA forever; your ownership of your DNA, on the other hand, is limited in years," he said. He added: "How many people really read those contracts before clicking to agree? How many relatives of Ancestry.com customers are also reading?" Mr Winston also warns that many consumers are unaware of the additional uses of the data. In its terms and conditions Ancestry makes reference to "commercial products that may be developed by AncestryDNA using your genetic information". One customer, Richard Peace, used AncestryDNA to learn more about his family history. He told You and Yours he "knew nothing" about the commercial use when he signed up for the test. "I'm not happy about it and today I will be emailing them to ask them not to use the information," he said. Ancestry told the BBC: "We do not share user data for research unless the user has voluntarily opted-in to that sharing." The company added: "We always de-identify data before it's shared with researchers, meaning the data is stripped of any information that could tie it back to its owner." The ambitious scale of Ancestry's plans does have support among some academics. Debbie Kennett, a genetics researcher at University College London, welcomed the aim of building a large, global DNA database. "For genealogy purposes we really want, and rely on, the power of these large data sets," she told You and Yours. "A DNA test on its own doesn't tell you anything at all." You and Yours is on BBC Radio 4 weekdays 12:15-13:00 GMT. Listen online or download the programme podcast.
News Article | November 3, 2016
LEHI, Utah and SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 03, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Ancestry, the global leader in family history and consumer genomics, today announced three new appointments to its growing leadership team. As the world’s largest consumer genomics provider, having genotyped 2.5 million DNA samples, Ancestry is continuing to add to its roster of talent as it seeks to help millions of consumers better understand themselves and the world around them by unlocking the secrets hidden in their genes. “Amy, Sarah and Todd are joining in three roles that will have immense impact for Ancestry as we’re focused on continuing to provide powerful insights to our community and they more than live up to the best of the best we strive for when bringing on new talent,” said Tim Sullivan, chief executive officer of Ancestry. “We are struck daily by how the insights we provide can powerfully reshape someone’s understanding of who they are and how they fit into the bigger puzzle of our species. We’re excited to have Amy, Sarah and Todd help us focus on bringing new insights, products and growth.” Gershkoff, South and Davis bring incredible track records in their respective fields, and will help Ancestry continue to grow and innovate while providing consumers unmatched insights into their identities derived from the Company’s unique combination of genomic and genealogical data. Amy Gershkoff was most recently the chief data officer at Zynga, a pioneer in social gaming. Previously, she built and led the Customer Analytics & Insights team and led the Global Data Science team at eBay. Before eBay, Gershkoff was the chief data scientist for WPP, Data Alliance, where she worked across WPP’s more than 350 operating companies worldwide to create integrated data and technology solutions. As the head of media planning at Obama for America for the 2012 campaign, she architected Obama’s advertising strategy and designed the campaign's analytics systems. Her work has brought numerous accolades, including being featured in The Washington Post as one of the nation’s most prominent innovators and being named one of the “Top 50 Women to Watch in Tech” and one of San Francisco's Most Influential Women in Business by the San Francisco Business TImes. She holds a Ph.D. from Princeton University. Prior to joining Ancestry, Sarah South was the vice president of Laboratory Services at 23andme. She is certified in clinical cytogenetics by the American Board of Medical Genetics and Genomics (ABMGG). Previously, South was associate professor in the Department of Pathology at the University of Utah. She also served as a medical director at ARUP Laboratories and oversaw the Cytogenetic and Genomic Microarray Laboratories and directed the ABMGG clinical cytogenetics training program at the University of Utah. Sarah has also been the CLIA lab director for Lineagen. Her industry associations include, vice-chair of the American College of Medical Genetics Quality Assurance Committee; a member of the Clinical Laboratory Standards Institute Expert Panel for Molecular Methodologies and the ClinGen variant classification workgroup; a certified College of American Pathology Laboratory Inspector, and president of the American Cytogenetics Association. South also serves as an associate editor for the American Journal of Medical Genetics. She received her Ph.D. from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Human Genetics, and completed a postdoctoral research fellowship in prenatal genetics at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, and a clinical cytogenetics fellowship at the University of Utah. Todd Davis joins Ancestry from Dropbox, where he led global talent acquisition. Prior to Dropbox, Davis spent four years leading Amazon’s global efforts to find and recruit across the company. Before joining Amazon in 2012, Davis was vice president, worldwide recruitment at Warner Bros. Entertainment, where he led efforts to improve global recruitment and talent acquisition resources by leveraging "best practices" in talent assessment and selection. He has also held senior positions at Centene Corporation, West Coast University and Volt Information Sciences. Davis is a board member of CASY and MSCCN and holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of New Hampshire. Ancestry, the global leader in family history and consumer genomics, harnesses the information found in family trees, historical records, and DNA to help people gain a new level of understanding about their lives. Ancestry has more than 2.4 million paying subscribers across its core Ancestry websites and more than 2.5 million DNA samples in the AncestryDNA database. Since 1996, more than 19 billion records have been added, and users have created more than 80 million family trees on the Ancestry flagship site and its affiliated international websites. Ancestry offers a suite of family history products and services including AncestryDNA, Archives, ProGenealogists, Newspapers.com and Fold3.
News Article | September 27, 2016
Othman Laraki and Elad Gil were sitting on Twitter’s roof deck after their previous company Mixer Labs had been acquired. Gil had brought a small hard drive with him — which happened to contain data on his genome being sequenced — and Laraki wanted to take a look at the data. That led to the original hypothesis of Color Genomics: what if you could apply the same principles of data science and deep learning to analyzing the human genome, bringing the cost of scouring our information for signs of cancer and other potential problems and making it more widely available? Fast forward a few years later and the pair, along with co-founders Taylor Sittler and Nish Bhat have started and are running a genomic testing company, Color Genomics. The company today said it has raised an additional $45 million in capital in a round led by General Catalyst Partners, with new board members Hemant Taneja (of GC) and Susan Wagner (co-founder of Blackrock and also on the board of Apple). “We’re living through that transition into really starting to use this massive amount of data in the actual delivery of care process,” co-founder Laraki said. “It’s kind of funny when we take our cars to get an oil change they probably pick up more info from the car’s computer than our bodies when we go see the doctor. That transition I think is one of the big things that’s happening, what I think is really exciting about this timeline, we are living through that massive addition of data into how we think about care and prevention and such.” Right now, Color Genomics is focusing on testing for mutations that can lead to a higher risk for cancers, like ovarian, breast, prostate and colon cancer. If the patients know that they are higher-risk, they can practice the best-known methods to help prevent those cancers from getting worse, such as getting regularly tested — in the case of colon cancer, regularly getting colonoscopies. Color Genomics patients provide the company a saliva sample, which is tested with a combination of in-house scientists and software engineers that dig through the data available from those tests in order to find mutations that can lead to a higher risk of cancer. The data collected is shipped off to cloud servers to crunch through it. There’s an incentive for companies and other payers to get these kinds of tests. While the current test costs $249, if a payer ends up covering part or most of the cost, in the long run detecting risk for cancer and intervening can lead to an incredible cost savings for payers. If you’re a company covering medical insurance, it makes perfect fiscal sense to offer — and encourage — employees to regularly get these kinds of tests done. “For companies in many ways, they wear multiple hats,” Laraki said. “They’re payers, they’re covering the cost of cancer treatments which is very expensive. Preventing late-stage cancer once pays for an entire program. In addition they’re obviously very deeply aligned with the well-being and the actual outcomes for their population. For them it ends up being this double-value where it has a very direct ROI but in addition the employees and families are very grateful and happy to have access to something like this.” AncestryDNA And Google's Calico Team Up To Study Genetic Longevity Ancestry.com Welcomes AncestryHealth To The Family MyHeritage Passes 5 Billion Historical Records, Adds 5 Million Daily 23andMe Ceases Health-Focused Gene Testing, Still Offers Raw Genetic Data And Ancestry Reports A recurring question during the meetings with Taneja as the company was looking into this recent financing round was how Color Genomics could make a test like this accessible to tens or hundreds of millions of people. That would prove the big question to the riddle as to whether a genetic testing company like this could be a profitable enterprise in addition to working to build tests that scan for dangerous mutations. “I don’t think you can subsidize your way to something that’s accessible to a full population,” Laraki said. “Having something that’s truly worthwhile from a payer standpoint, government or company, that if you invest X and get more than X back out — turning that and demonstrating it’s ROI positive, that’s a big piece there.” As part of extending the test’s reach into additional markets — and people — Color Genomics is launching a program that offers family members of people who have paid for tests an option to also get tested for $50. If someone ends up being a carrier of a mutation that can lead to a higher risk of cancer, that mutation came from somewhere in the family tree, and identifying who else possesses it can also help them potentially intervene before things get worse. Of course, relative to any kind of genetic testing — or any medical-related testing — is the overcast of the fallout from the Theranos scandal. What Laraki says is that the company applies many widely used standards and robotics, in addition to being highly transparent and publishing its validation data and working with well-known scientists. There are, of course, potential competitors that could arise. Genetic testing startups like 23andMe and Ancestry.com, which Laraki says focus more on “recreational” understanding of the human genome and a person’s background, could decide to branch into an area like this. Laraki says the company’s deep focus initially on detecting risks for cancer and application of data science is what will eventually lead Color Genomics to being a full-fledged company. And if they’re successful, they can potentially grow into other kinds of operations. “Part of the conversation was, what happens when you assemble truly world class software engineering team to work on this information, what can we do for people,” Laraki said. “If we can drop the cost of these tests by an order of magnitude, do we fundamentally change the math around clinical genetics. Not the recreational genetics, but clinical stuff. We’re really focused on building the infrastructure to make that possible, proving to ourselves that was something that would work.” Color Genomics launched its first product about a year ago, and has in total raised $60 million.
News Article | February 22, 2017
LEHI, Utah, Feb. 22, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Ancestry, the global leader in family history and consumer genomics, today announced its expected participation in the following investor conference: Tim Sullivan, CEO and Howard Hochhauser, CFO/COO will conduct a formal presentation and participate in one-on-one meetings. Ancestry, the global leader in family history and consumer genomics, harnesses the information found in family trees, historical records and DNA to help people gain a new level of understanding about their lives. Ancestry has more than 2.5 million paying subscribers across its core Ancestry websites and more than 3 million people in the AncestryDNA network. Since 1996, more than 20 billion records have been added to Ancestry's databases, and users have created more than 80 million family trees on the Ancestry flagship site and its affiliated international websites. Ancestry offers a suite of family history products and services including AncestryDNA, Archives, AncestryProGenealogists, Newspapers.com and Fold3. AncestryDNA is owned and operated by Ancestry.com DNA, LLC, a subsidiary of Ancestry.com, LLC.
News Article | November 3, 2016
LEHI, Utah, Nov. 03, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Ancestry, the global leader in family history and consumer genomics, today announced its expected participation in the following investor conference: Morgan Stanley Leveraged Finance Conference Wednesday, November 9, 2016 4:00 PM Central Time New Orleans, LA Howard Hochhauser, CFO/COO will conduct a formal presentation and participate in one-on-one meetings. Ancestry, the global leader in family history and consumer genomics, harnesses the information found in family trees, historical records, and DNA to help people gain a new level of understanding about their lives. Ancestry has more than 2.4 million paying subscribers across its core Ancestry websites and more than 2.5 million DNA samples in the AncestryDNA database. Since 1996, more than 19 billion records have been added, and users have created more than 80 million family trees on the Ancestry flagship site and its affiliated international websites. Ancestry offers a suite of family history products and services including AncestryDNA, Archives, ProGenealogists, Newspapers.com and Fold3.
News Article | December 1, 2016
LEHI, Utah, Dec. 01, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- December 7th will mark the 75th anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor, and the nation will pause to remember that tragic day in 1941. Fold3 will honor those who served at Pearl Harbor during the attack by showcasing the family and military history of 12 Pearl Harbor veterans. Everyone has a unique story of what led to them, and the heroes at Pearl Harbor are no exception. Featured stories include: To learn about all 12 featured survivors, visit www.fold3.com/pearlharbor. Anyone visiting the site can view the Fold3 USS Arizona interactive virtual memorial and receive free access to more than 113 million WWII records during the month of December. Fold3 hopes these resources can help each user discover their own military ancestors and the brave lives they led. The WWII collections contain 35 million WWII draft registration cards, including over 11 million young men’s draft cards available only on Fold3. Also included are the Pearl Harbor Muster Rolls with more than 1.7 million records of personnel assigned to ships based at Pearl Harbor for the years 1939-1947. A few of the WWII records available to view for free in December include: Visitors to the site can also receive $10 off AncestryDNA, and $30 off a Fold3 annual membership. Fold3 provides convenient access to military records, including the stories, photos, and personal documents of the men and women who served. The Fold3 name comes from a traditional flag folding ceremony in which the third fold is made in honor and remembrance of veterans who served in defense of their country and to maintain peace throughout the world. Digital images of original records at Fold3 help you discover and share stories about these everyday heroes, forgotten soldiers, and the families that supported them. On Fold3, you can combine records found on the site with what you have in your own albums and shoeboxes to create an online memorial for someone who served. Ancestry, the global leader in family history and consumer genomics, harnesses the information found in family trees, historical records, and DNA to help people gain a new level of understanding about their lives. Ancestry has more than 2.4 million paying subscribers across its core Ancestry websites and more than 2.5 million DNA samples in the AncestryDNA database. Since 1996, more than 19 billion records have been added, and users have created more than 80 million family trees on the Ancestry flagship site and its affiliated international websites. Ancestry offers a suite of family history products and services including AncestryDNA, Archives, ProGenealogists, Newspapers.com and Fold3.
News Article | November 2, 2016
LEHI, Utah, Nov. 02, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Ancestry, the global leader in family history and consumer genomics, today announced its expected participation in the following investor conference: J.P. Morgan Leveraged Finance Conference Wednesday, November 9, 2016 4:00 PM Central Time New Orleans, LA Howard Hochhauser, CFO/COO will conduct a formal presentation and participate in one-on-one meetings. Ancestry, the global leader in family history and consumer genomics, harnesses the information found in family trees, historical records, and DNA to help people gain a new level of understanding about their lives. Ancestry has more than 2.4 million paying subscribers across its core Ancestry websites and more than 2.5 million DNA samples in the AncestryDNA database. Since 1996, more than 19 billion records have been added, and users have created more than 80 million family trees on the Ancestry flagship site and its affiliated international websites. Ancestry offers a suite of family history products and services including AncestryDNA, Archives, ProGenealogists, Newspapers.com and Fold3.
News Article | November 21, 2016
Anne Wojcicki’s DNA testing company has rebounded from its 2013 FDA slapdown by concentrating on genealogy and slowly reintroducing health reports. It’s also working with researchers to help in drug discovery and development. The genealogy giant, which focuses on connecting customers with lost relatives, claims some 1.5 million genomes in its database, thanks to its AncestryDNA testing kit. Like Helix, this new service promises to bring down the cost of sequencing. Users will be able to peruse genetic insights online via a data-visualization tool. Founded by veterans of Google and Twitter, Color looks for common genes associated with a higher risk of hereditary cancers for a flat rate of $224. For $999, it puts your whole genome on a smartphone and offers information on health- and lifestyle-related genes. A version of this article appeared in the December 2016/January 2017 issue of Fast Company magazine.