Over the past eighteen years, it has been my privilege to have you send me your DNA from all over the world. We started way back in 2000 because I wanted people to be able to share in the excitement of the research being done in university laboratories like my own in Oxford but rarely reaching beyond the halls of academe. That has all changed and nowadays cheap DNA tests are widely available, even if their meaning is sometimes dubious. The popularity of ‘ethnic testing’ is a case in point, where even religious persuasion is given a genetic foundation by some companies. Have they never heard of the outrages of ‘racial purity’ and the eugenics movement or is it just one more business opportunity? We have never pretended that the genetic makeup of the world is anything but straightforward. We are simply not a collection of entirely separate and biologically defined ethnic groups and to pretend otherwise is scientifically invalid, misleading, divisive and dangerous. I am optimistic that genetics, used properly, will serve to dispel this falsehood and Oxford Ancestors will never offer tests that divide the people of the world into categories defined by race, ethnicity or religion.

Bryan Sykes MA PhD DSc

May 24th 2018
A reminder that Oxford Ancestors is open for business as usual.

As you may know the laws governing privacy are changing and organisations are no longer allowed to retain personal information without permission. Fortunately, Oxford Ancestors already complies with most of the provisions of the legislation. For example, we do not bombard customers with emails nor have we ever distributed customer details to third parties. We have always known that your genetic data is highly personal and confidentiality has always been a top priority. However, we are making a few changes to make sure we comply with both the letter and the spirit of the new legislation. These mainly concern the searchable databases which are popular with customers who want to communicate with their genetic relatives. We already ask customers for their specific consent to add their genetic data to these databases. No contact details are shown.

From now we will not retain any personal details of customers who have not consented to join the databases. Also in future we will not allow access to these databases by anyone other than the sample donor. This makes it particularly important for customers to retain their results and access details including username, customer number and password so that they can establish their identity.


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