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Ancestry will tell users which side of the family their matches come from

Ancestry will tell users which side of the family their matches come from


It’s an extension of the SideView feature, which can group genes by parental side

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Red and purple illustration of DNA.
Ancestry has an enormous genetic database.
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Customers of the consumer genetics and genealogy company Ancestry will soon be able to see which side of the family any DNA matches found through the service come from. The new feature, launching this week, builds on the SideView technology the company announced in April.

“We’re really excited to see what users can do with this parental matches feature,” says Caitlyn Bruns, a population geneticist at Ancestry. “I do think it will really help unlock an understanding of how you’re connected with your matches.”

The feature will let users more easily see where matches fall on their family tree. Previously, people could manually place people on one side of their family as they learned more about their matches. Now, it’ll happen automatically.

The SideView technology leverages Ancestry’s enormous DNA database to sort which parts of a person’s genome came from each parent. When it first launched, it let users see which parts of their ethnicity came from each parent. Ancestry says SideView can have 95 percent precision for 90 percent of customers.

Next, Ancestry plans to extend SideView to its communities feature, which connects people to groups of other users who might have descended from people who lived in the same area as their ancestors, Bruns says. It’ll group those communities by parental side.

Once it goes live, this new DNA match feature will be available to users automatically when they log in to their account.

“This is just something that we’re really excited about that that we can do with the size of our database and not something that other people are able to do at this point,” Bruns says.