Ancestry testing, also known as genetic genealogy, is a method for assessing family history (genealogy) to verify the ancestral relationship of an individual. Evaluating DNA variations provides detailed information regarding the origin of the ancestors. Although genealogical DNA tests are not primarily intended for medical purposes, autosomal DNA testing can be used to assess the risk of hundreds of heritable medical conditions as some of the health conditions are deeply influenced by genetics. Based on the assessment, the physicians may recommend primary healthcare and design personalized medicines to tackle the condition. For instance, Hemophilia is a bleeding disorder and has its ancestral origin with Queen Victoria, who passed the hemophilia gene to the male heirs in royal families ruling in Russia, Spain, and Germany. The ancestry testing has helped the British royal family to prevent bleeding incidents.
Globally, the ancestral genetic is witnessing huge popularity, and it was valued at around USD 460 million in 2019. The genealogical enthusiasts are willing to pay over USD 20,000 per year in order to pursue the names that can be added to their family tree. The rising demand for ancestry testing is grabbing the attention of umpteen emerging players. For instance, MyHeritage, a genealogy site, has recorded about 80 million members performing ancestral testing every month. As per the Global Industry Analysts, in the U.S., the genealogical enthusiasts are spending between USD 1,000 to USD 18,000 a year on genealogy. By the end of 2019, about 26 million consumers added their DNA to leading ancestry and health databases, which is further boosting the market growth. The market is majorly driven by the growing desire to know about the family history, finding out any genetic diseases, solving paternity cases, and to know regional ethnicity and place of origin.
The growing popularity of ancestral testing has significantly reduced the costs of genealogical DNA testing products, which is subsequently increasing the consumer base in the field. Other key factors driving the market include the reduced size of DNA test kits, convenience to use, and rising FDA approval. Currently, a number of new genealogical DNA testing kits are available in the market, including AncestryDNA, FamilyTreeDNA, MyHeritage, and HomeDNA, which costs around USD 100, USD 79, USD 79, and USD 59, respectively. For the record, the tests are safe and painless and can be performed with a swab of saliva, which is further boosting the market growth.
The ancestral testing is also gaining popularity in the healthcare sector to determine any genetic variation before designing personalized medicines. The application of ancestry genetics testing in personalized and precision medicines has given rise to pharmacogenomics, which involves the optimization of drug therapies to reduce any adverse reactions. It also enables the physicians to predict the condition in advance using their unique genetic profiles. Some of the key players in the market include 23andMe. The company offers genetic blueprints of customer’s ancestry genetic profile and health traits markers using a small genotyping chip, which can be used in biomedical research to develop personalized medications.
Globally, the prevalence of genetic disorders, such as down syndrome, sickle cell anemia, and hemochromatosis, is growing at an alarming rate, which is subsequently increasing the demand for ancestral testing to assess the detailed information regarding an individual's unique genetic profile. The major factors for the growth of the ancestry testing market include the increasing emphasis on early disease detection and prevention and increasing application of ancestry tests in genetic disorders. As per the WHO, globally, 10 per 1000 people are suffering from genetic disorders. In the U.S., around 6000 babies are born with down syndromes every year. Similarly, over 70, 000 people are suffering from sickle cell anemia in the U.S. Some of the prominent genetic disorders are more prevalent in particular ethnic groups. For instance, sickle cell anemia is more prevalent in people living in the Mediterranean, and it is also common in African Americans. Similarly, Tay-Sachs disease is more prevalent among the Jewish and French Canadian ancestry. Lastly, lactose intolerance is more common in people whose ancestors were nomadic herders in Africa and the Middle East. Currently, around 36 genetic disorders are being identified in people with ancestry relationship with North Eastern Finns (ethnic to Finland), called as Finnish heritage diseases. Many other genetic diseases like Cystic fibrosis, GM1 gangliosidosis, spinal muscular atrophy, and Canavan disease needs earlier ancestry genetic testing, which will influence the market positively in the years to come.
Currently, the ancestry testing market is carried on using technologies like single nucleotide polymorphism, targeted analysis, and whole-genome sequencing. Single nucleotide polymorphism testing examines the large numbers of genetic variations (single nucleotide polymorphisms or SNPs) across the entire genome of an individual, which is why, it is extensively used in the forensic ancestry to identify suspects or victims in criminal cases. Since July 2019, the use of ancestry testing in Forensic, such as GEDMatch, has confirmed the presence of over 40 murder and sexual assault suspects in the U.S. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has established its own Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) database comprised of forensic genetic profiles of around 18 million people convicted in serial murder and sexual assault cases. Based on the database, around 57% of the serial killer share their ancestry with the white race, and about 29% are African American.
The ancestry testing market is segmented into ancestry test type, genealogic DNA testing, and distribution channel.
The ancestry test segment is divided into carrier testing, predictive testing, ancestry & relationship testing, nutrigenomic testing, and genealogic DNA testing. The genealogic DNA testing is further segmented into Y chromosome testing, mitochondrial DNA testing, autosomal DNA testing, and single nucleotide polymorphism testing. The distribution channel segment is bifurcated into online and offline channels. The carrier screening segment is witnessing significant growth on account of the increasing emphasis on early disease detection and prevention, rising demand for personalized medicines, and increasing application in genetic disorders, such as spinal muscular atrophy, cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, and others
Predictive testing includes the identification of risk of having genetic disorders prior to the onset of the symptoms. Many genetic disorders are detected early in pregnancy with the help of predictive testing. Hence, the segment is majorly driven by rising consumer awareness regarding genetic disorders. The nutrigenomic testing segment is expected to witness considerable growth due to increasing consciousness regarding food habits and rising incidences of lactose and gluten intolerance.
By genealogical DNA testing, the single nucleotide polymorphism testing is expected to hold significant market share owing to its extensive use in the determination of genetic variations associated with various genetic diseases, fast genotyping, and accuracy in detection of mutations using high-performance technologies. Based on distribution channels, the online platform segment is grabbing the largest market share due to the easy availability of DNA test kits on online platforms.
North America is grabbing the largest shares in the ancestry testing on account of the growing number of genealogical enthusiasts, heavy digital marketing, rising expenditure power, surging prevalence of genetic disorders, and growing awareness regarding personalized medicine. The region is backed with the presence of the U.S., where about 26 million people have performed ancestry testing, and the number is expected to double in the years to come. Additionally, the leading players in the region, such as Ancestry and 23andMe Inc., are actively working to develop technologically advanced products to gain a competitive edge, which is further driving the market growth.
Europe is second in the global ancestry testing market due to rising awareness regarding genetic testing and genetic disorders, increasing demand for personalized medicines, the presence of leading players, technological advancement, and government support. As per the AncestryDNA, in the U.K, about 80 million ancestry tests were performed to ensure the regional genealogy of the British residents. Moreover, in the U.K, Italy, and Spain, the rising prevalence of genetic disorders is driving the market growth. For instance, in Europe, over 30,000 people are suffering from genetic cystic fibrosis. Whereas, in the U.K., around 1,000 new cases of genetic cystic fibrosis are diagnosed each year, which is further boosting the market growth.
Asia Pacific is expected to grow at a significant pace during the forecast period. This can be attributed to the growing burden of genetic diseases among infants, increasing fertility rates, developing healthcare sector, and raising awareness among people regarding the benefits of ancestral testing. The market is also driven by new product launches, geographic expansion by local players, and government initiatives, especially in China and Japan. For instance, In April 2018, Prenetics acquired DNAFit to establish its hold in Asia pacific ancestral DNA testing market. Similarly, Veritas genetics has launched two new entire genome sequencing products, named myGenome Premium and myGenome Diagnostic, to extend its product portfolio and increase its customer base. In March 2016, the Chinese government unveiled a Precision Medicine Initiative to prioritize genomic research for better health outcomes and support ancestral genetic testing in the country.
South America is expected to witness considerable growth on account of the growing burden of chronic genetic diseases, increasing demand for personalized medicines and forensic testing, and rising prevalence of genetic disorders and congenital anomalies. Brazil is dominating the regional market due to the rising curiosity regarding cultural heritage, which is subsequently increasing the adoption of home DNA tests. Recently, Mendelics Genomic Analysis laboratories launched meuDNA, the first ancestral testing kit in the market. However, the rising racial discrimination in the region might hamper the market to some extent.
The Middle East is emerging in the ancestry testing due to the rising demand for diagnosis of genetic disorders and forensic studies. In 2017, the Middle East Regional DNA Project launched by Living DNA and Eupedia to map the regional genetic variations in order to study recent and ancient migration. Whereas, Africa is holding the least share in the market due to poor economic development, low expenditure power, and lack of awareness. However, the region is offering lucrative opportunities for the growth of the ancestral genetic testing on account of the rising prevalence of genetic disorders.
The global ancestry testing market is consolidated with the presence of 23andMe, MyHeritage, Helix genomics, LabCorp, Myriad Genetics, Ancestry.com, Quest Diagnostics, FamilyTreeDNA (Gene By Gene), DNA Diagnostics Center, Invitae, IntelliGenetics, Ambry Genetics, Living DNA, EasyDNA, Pathway Genomics, and Centrillion Technology.