Oxford Ancestors began in 2000, after Professor Bryan Sykes discovered that all Europeans descended from one of the seven theoretical ancestors. The public lawsuit forced him to expand his research lab to a fully-fledged genetic testing service. The company provides a number of genealogy and haplotype testing resources. The company is overseen by a board, which still includes Professor Sykes, as well as a number of other Oxford professors and graduates. The company offers a small variety of genetic testing services, which have been reviewed below. This review of Oxford Ancestors exposes the most important facets you should be concerned with before engaging with this company.
Brief Overview of Oxford Ancestors
If you do not want to read our extended review of Oxford Ancestors, see the executive summary below.:
- Created by a professor who helped establish haplotype genetic testing
- Sample processed with internal laboratory in the United Kingdom
- The DNA sample is not stored
- The company will not test ethnicity, from a moral and scientific point of view of validity
- The haplotype test is very thorough.
- It corresponds to several books written by the founder, which can help explain the results
- Do not test for genetic markers of disease, health, or ethnicity
- Use STR tests, which may be less accurate than SNP tests
- Quite expensive, considering that other companies can perform more tests for less
- Media bad reputation sometimes
Conclusion: although the Oxford Ancestors DNA test is probably one of the best testing services for deep ancestry and haplotype testing, its services are expensive. However, the results are supported and controlled by prominent members of the Academy, who also serve on the board of Directors of the company. Professor Sykes, the founder of Oxford Ancestors, is the editor of several books on ancient ancestry. These texts can give you additional information about your personal results.
Oxford Ancestors Summary and Basic Data
|Can be used for||Genealogy, Maternal and Paternal Ancestry Testing|
|DNA collection||Cheek Swab|
|Number of SNPs tested||Not Applicable, use STR marker testing|
|DNA sample stored||No|
|Availability||Worldwide, though focused on UK|
|Price||$250 – $465|
|Platform matching for family||Yes, a kit gives you access to your database search tools.|
|Geographical analysis of ancestry||Yes|
|Special Features||It claims to be one of the most accurate and comprehensive maternal and paternal services. It also has its direct headquarters in the laboratories of the University of Oxford.|
|Number of users||Unknown, reference database has around 50,000 contributors|
|Ownership||Privately owned, spinoff from University of Oxford|
|Client Reviews||Sparse, but several positive testimonials can be found on the company’s website.|
Company Fund for Oxford Ancestors
Oxford Ancestors first began as part of Professor Bryan Sykes ‘ genetic research laboratory at Oxford University. After publishing Eve’s seven daughters, there was a huge public demand for mitochondrial DNA testing. Therefore, professor Sykes extended laboratory operations to a private company that allowed more genetic testing to be processed. Sykes oversees the board of directors, which has a number of other scientists from Oxford and the Academy.
A few years after escaping from Oxford University, Sykes also found a relationship between Y-DNA and the surname, and launched chromosome and mass tests. The company now also offers a test of “tribes of Great Britain”, which states that it can trace its roots to the Vikings, the Celts or the Saxons.
In early 2018, the company nearly closed due to a restructuring of some local laws and regulations in the UK. By June, they had announced that they were not closing their doors, and would continue to provide genetic testing and expand their offerings. Below is a general description of your current offers.
Oxford Ancestors’ Review Deals
Oxford Ancestors offers a number of products, focusing mainly on deep ancestry and haplotype determination. As one of the first companies to offer such a test, they have a deep database and can offer information that other companies cannot. This is especially true for customers who have ancestors from the UK, as the company can prove Viking, Saxon and Celtic ancestry. Their offerings are divided into three general categories: Maternal Ancestry, Paternal Ancestry, and Genealogy.
MatriLine Classic DNA Service is a testing service for mitochondrial DNA (Mtdna). Only his mother can transmit the ADNmt, and Professor Sykes of Oxford Ancestors was one of the first researchers to establish this connection and study the relationships between different haplogroups or ancient lineages. The MatriLine service will analyze part of your ADNmt and provide results that show which ancient group your ancestors probably belonged to.
The test results are printed on a certificate, signed by Professor Sykes himself. The certificate shows their maternal ancestry, and more research can be done in the company’s database after receiving their results. Several maps show possible migration routes his family took out of Africa. The Service MatriLine also provides users with a copy of The Seven Daughters of Eve, written by Professor Sykes. This book details how genetic testing can reveal your ancient heritage and help you understand what the results say.
MatriLine service starts at $ 250. Additional certificates and updates to the package can also be purchased. The combined package includes the paternal ancestors Service, which is detailed below. Because only men carry the Y chromosome, and parental services are only offered to men. Women who seek to understand their paternal ancestry can present the DNA of a male relative for the test, and look at their results.
The ancestral Paternal test, called Y – Clan Classic, is also available. This test analyzes portions of DNA-and, only carried by men. From this, one can determine the paternal ancestry. The results of this test are also packaged in a nice box, with certificates showing their paternal lineage. This test is also $ 250. An additional test, the analysis of the tribes of Great Britain, can be performed for an additional $ 50. This test compares their DNA with that of the Vikings, Saxons and Celts from different parts of the United Kingdom. If it is known that their ancestors come from the UK, this test is unique among testing companies and may be of some value to a true genealogist.
If you have already purchased the test and want to upgrade to the combined package to include your maternal ancestry, it is an additional $ 215. Or, buy both at the same time for $ 465. Since there is no discount for the purchase of the upgrade, it may be advisable to start with a test and see if the results are attractive and easy to understand before going all in.
The use of services of paternal and maternal descent, the database can be searched for family coincidences. However, Oxford Ancestors offers a unique product in the form of the Surname Project, a register of surnames and DNA-and large-scale and collaborative
To join the project, a minimum of 4 members are required, at a price of $ 910. Per person, this makes the price about $ 225. The project analyzes DNA-and of the 4 or more male participants, and provides relationship information and shows how their surname is related to other surnames in the project. The results include a certificate, which shows the results and access to the database with search capability.
What Separates Oxford Ancestors From Other Companies in That Regard?
Unlike many other companies, Oxford Ancestors refuses to test race, ethnicity, or even specific geographic location. The reason for them is both moral and scientific. According to a disclaimer from professor Sykes on the first page of the web site, asserts that the genetic composition of an individual is much more complex than a simple breakdown of percentages. He claims that his evidence of Deep Descent promotes an understanding of the similar origins of all people, and does not divide them into false categories such as race, ethnicity or religion.
The company is also one of the first established for descent testing. The book that comes with the kit, written by Professor Sykes, is written in a common language and can help you understand the meaning of its results. Unlike many DNA testing organizations, the company is still run by Sykes and a number of other academics committed to science behind his tests.
In testing with Oxford Ancestors, he will also present his anonymous genetic data to the data set used by Oxford researchers. These aggregated data have led to some surprising discoveries about the origins of human life and its way around the world. Research like this led to The Tribes of Britain test, and can lead to more informative tests in the future.
How does it Work, What will Your Kit Include?
Upon receiving your kit in the mail you will find 2 cheek swabs. The company sends 2 for redundancy, to ensure a good sample is taken. Gently sponge the inside of the cheek, covering the cotton swab with cheek cells. Repeat, and send both swabs back to the lab in the sealed container, following the company’s instructions. After 4-6 weeks, the company will have your results and will send you the certificates. You will also have access to the database, allowing you to search and contact potential family members within the database.
Understanding the Results of Oxford Ancestors
With these services, your result package will include a number of elements. First is a certificate of its findings, detailing the findings of the company. There will also be Maps, or several maps, showing the theoretical routes your ancestors took when they left Africa hundreds of thousands of years ago. The results then correspond to Professor Sykes ” Daughters of Eve”, the 7 theoretical populations that established Europe and other deep clan relationships.
The result package will also come with the teacher’s book, Eva’s seven daughters. This book details the human expansion outside Africa and in other parts of the world, and will help you understand its results.
If you took the evidence of paternal descent, you will receive a package with similar content. There will be a certificate of the results, showing their connections to paternal ancestry. Maps and other materials may pose the hypothesis of his paternal haplotype, and the possible migration routes of his paternal ancestors. Although women cannot take the paternal ancestry test, they can test the DNA of their closest living male relative (brother, father, or grandfather) to approximate their paternal ancestry.
By participating in The Last Name Project, you will receive interesting results. You and at least four other male samples should be analysed together. The results will show you how your Y-DNA relates to the other samples, and you can use the surnames database to understand how your surname connects with others using this platform. Women interested in exploring their surname only need to find a male relative with the surname to participate in the project.
Will your Data be Shared?
Media Coverage and User Opinions
Oxford Ancestors received a large amount of media coverage from approximately 2006 to 2008. Some stories were broken about customers who received different results from different testing companies, and many reviews were paled into genetic testing in general. Oxford Ancestors stood firm by his process, and the science behind him. Much of the coverage seemed to focus on a single consumer who received different results, so it is not clear how valid any of these claims can be. It should also be noted that on your media coverage page, there are also Articles of 3 that counter claims of “useless genetic testing”. These articles are all from 2008.
In more recent years, several articles have been published by Oxford researchers, exploring different human relationships. Although the data they used are certainly from Oxford Ancestors, this is never revealed in scientific articles or articles. Due to their testing of Viking, Saxon and Celt, they received some interesting criticism for disrupting long-standing traditions and understandings. In early 2018, the company briefly announced its imminent closure, only to withdraw the statement and continue the business as usual. The following are several notable articles about the company and its research:
- Telegraph – DNA heritage tests ‘useless’
- The Daily Mail – the £ 200-a-time ancestral DNA test kits are a scam, experts say
- The Inquirer – online genetic testing exposed as a scam
- EMBO Reports – genealogy becomes global. Although useful in research on ancestry, the application of genetics to traditional genealogy could be abused
- Worcester News – which of Eva’s seven daughters are you descended from?
- Science Daily – complex genetic ancestry of discovered Americans: genetic fingerprints from the slave trade and colonization
- The Independent – genetic geography is wreaking happy havoc with ancient belief
Beyond the few user testimonials on your website, there is little or no customer comment on the web. The testimonies they provide are brilliant, but there’s only a small handful to go for. Your website also has 3 stories in depth, but could not be accessed without “login”. This option was apparently not even available on the website. The company does not sell its kits on any other platform, and apparently has no legitimate comments from customers. The few points observed by both testimonies and by bloggers and random reviewers can be seen here:
Users who are happy with Oxford Ancestors mentioned the following points:
- The ancient ancestry results are detailed and well explained.
- Readers of the book The Seven Daughters of Eve were able to see connections with the book.
- Users can find genetic relationships with deep ancestors, such as Iceman or Genghis Khan.
- The results are worth the money spent.
- Oxford Ancestors uses only solid scientific data, and tries not to speculate.
- The company rejects the idea of ethnicity testing, for moral reasons.
Users who give Oxford Ancestors a bad review mentioned the following worthy points:
- The service is only available through the Oxford Ancestors website.
- The results take a long time compared to some companies.
- The website, payment processing and user interface are archaic and obsolete.
- The company almost closed its doors in 2018, leaving customers uncertain.
- Although the company is run primarily by a teacher, it is more expensive and less intuitive than most.
- The company rejects tests of ethnic origin, which means that only the results of deep ancestry are available.
General Conclusions for This Review of Oxford Ancestors
We hope that this review of Oxford Ancestors has been useful. Oxford Ancestors can be a good choice for customers whose ancestors are definitely from the UK. Their maternal and paternal ancestry tests are one of the first, and they have a large database of reference users in the United Kingdom. This gives the company an advantage in this area, and allows them to test things like Viking ancestry. However, the company relies solely on STR tests, which may be less accurate than SNP tests, as they test fewer sites. It is also more expensive, with basic tests starting at almost $ 250. This is five times more than some companies do ancestry tests for. The company also has a poor website and a slow response time.