FAQ: Privacy

  1. Will any of the DNA or data be shared between the project and Family Tree DNA or other private genetic testing companies?
  2. Do I have to register to see my results?
  3. What’s the difference between the Geno 2.0 Next Generation test and the previous tests?
  4. Is this a genealogy study?
  5. How recent is the ancestry revealed in the Geno 2.0 Next Generation test?
  6. Does National Geographic make a profit from the Genographic Project?
  7. What is the Genographic Project’s relationship with Family Tree DNA?
  8. What is the Genographic Project’s relationship with Helix?
  9. How do I contact the Genographic Project?

  1. Will any of the DNA or data be shared between the project and Family Tree DNA or other private genetic testing companies?

    This answer applies to Geno 1, Geno 2.0  and Geno 2.0 Next Gen kits but does not apply to Geno 2.0 Next Gen Helix co-branded kits:  As a partner in the project, Family Tree DNA does have access to some of the DNA and data to assist in the analytical research. However, the DNA belongs to participants, and Family Tree DNA has signed a contract with National Geographic legally committing that it will not use the DNA for any other purposes. Other than a service provider carefully selected by National Geographic, such as Family Tree DNA, no other private genetic testing company would have access to any of the DNA and nonpublic data. After joining the Genographic Project, you can choose to transfer a copy of your results to our laboratory partners at Family Tree DNA who offer products to help you pursue a genetic genealogical study.

    If you have purchased a Geno 2.0 Next Gen Helix co-branded kit, please refer to Helix.com and the Geno 2.0 Next Gen Helix Product Privacy Policy for information on how Helix and National Geographic will treat participant DNA and genetic information.

  2. Do I have to register to see my results?

    Yes, for the Geno 2.0 Next Gen Helix co-brand kits (these kits were made available for  purchase on November 21, 2016), online registration with both National Geographic and Helix is required. If you purchased a prior version of the Geno kit (kits sold before November 21, 2016), you can access your results without registering by using your Genographic Project ID (GPID). We encourage all participants to register so we can keep you up to date on exciting announcements and help you retrieve your results in case you misplace the credentials.

  3. What’s the difference between the Geno 2.0 Next Generation test and the previous tests?

    The first-generation Genographic Project Participation Kit (Geno 1.0) gave participants the choice to trace either their maternal or their paternal results but not both (only males can test their Y chromosome since women do not carry one). Results determined each person’s haplogroup, or ancient line of descent, at a relatively low level of genetic resolution. Genographic 2.0 gave participants their paternal and maternal lineages in a single higher-resolution test, as well as a breakdown of their ancestral geographic components and an estimate of how much Neanderthal and Denisovan DNA they carried.

    The Geno 2.0 Next Generation test leverages what we learned from the first two phases of the Genographic Project to give participants an even richer and clearer picture across their genome of their genetic makeup and ancestry. Our revolutionary Geno 2.0 Next Generation test has been enhanced to offer the most up-to-date ancestry available and includes improved results based on a higher-capacity DNA-testing chip and more accurate regional ancestry. There are more than double the number of regions as compared to the prior version of our kit (now including Great Britain, Scandinavia, and Asia Minor, among others) and 60 reference populations (including German, Russian, and African American), as well as improved mitochondrial and Y chromosome DNA haplogroup calls and more than 20 new ancestral stories.

    Geno 2.0 Next Generation runs a comprehensive analysis to identify more than 3,500 genetic markers on your mitochondrial DNA, which is passed down each generation from mother to child, to reveal your direct maternal deep ancestry. In the case of males, we also examine more than 15,000 markers on the Y chromosome, which is passed down from father to son, to reveal your direct paternal deep ancestry. In addition, for all participants, we analyze a collection of more than 250,000 other markers from across your entire genome to reveal the regional affiliations of your ancestry, offering insights into your ancestors who are not on a direct maternal or paternal line for both males and females.  The National Geographic and Helix co-branded kit now includes even more regions than the prior versions of the Geno kit.

    Included in these markers is a subset that scientists have recently determined to be from our hominin cousins, the Neanderthals, who split from our lineage around 500,000 years ago. As modern humans were first migrating out of Africa more than 60,000 years ago, Neanderthals were still alive and well in Eurasia. It seems that our ancestors met, leaving a small genetic trace of these ancient relatives in our DNA.

    Through our partnership with Helix, we will use cutting-edge sequencing technology via Helix’s world-class laboratory to analyze DNA submissions from Geno 2.0 Next Gen Helix co-brand kit for this unique anthropological effort. And, once a consumer’s DNA is sequenced with Helix, they can access it for years to come.

    Helix’s sequencing product is called Exome+. The “exome” is comprised of all the DNA that encodes for proteins—and because proteins are the machinery of your cells, the exome represents the most important and well-studied pieces of your DNA. Exome+ is the largest and richest data set available to consumers today and represents 100x more data than previously available products; it uses the latest, most advanced technology and is the same technology used by hospitals and researchers around the world. By participating, consumers contribute to the larger community, taking part in a real-time research project and, in the process, learning something new and fascinating about themselves.

    You can view sample results in the Buy the Kit page.

  4. Is this a genealogy study?

    The Genographic Project is not a genealogical study, and your DNA trail may not lead to your present-day location. Rather, your results will reveal the anthropological story of your ancestors—where they lived and how they migrated around the world over tens of thousands of years. The autosomal results will reveal insights into recent admixture over the past several generations—for instance, if you have one parent of Asian descent and another from Western Europe, this mix will be reflected in your results. If you purchased a Geno 1.0, Geno 2.0 or Geno 2.0 Next Generation kit (these kits were sold before November 21, 2016 and use a cheek swab DNA collection method as opposed to saliva collection), after joining the Genographic Project, you can chose to transfer a copy of your results to our laboratory partners at Family Tree DNA who offer products to help you pursue a genetic genealogical study.

  5. How recent is the ancestry revealed in the Geno 2.0 Next Generation test?

    For the regional genetic affiliation testing, the Geno 2.0 Next Generation test analyzes DNA identifiers, called markers, across your entire genome to reveal the regional affiliations of your ancestry, giving you insights into your ancestors who are not on a direct maternal or paternal line. You will be able to see what percentage of your ancestry is affiliated with specific regions of the world, with estimated percentages as low as 2%.  In other words, the percentage will be able to detect events on the autosomal side as recently as 200-500 years ago, and reflect roughly the genetic mixture that you are going back at least the past six generations, through both your mother and father.  It represents the information that those ancestors have been carrying with them over the generations.

    For direct paternal and/or maternal deep ancestry, depending on what your haplogroup is, the ancestry revealed can be as recent as 1,000 years ago; other haplogroups are much more ancient than that.

  6. Does National Geographic make a profit from the Genographic Project?

    The National Geographic Society is an independent, non-profit, tax-exempt scientific and educational organization. NGS funds research and educational efforts as part of its various grant initiatives.  National Geographic Partners, LLC is a taxable limited liability company which is a joint venture of NGS and 21st Century Fox.  A portion of all funds received by National Geographic Partners is distributed to the National Geographic Society and helps support its work in conservation, exploration, scientific research, and education.

  7. What is the Genographic Project’s relationship with Family Tree DNA?

    Family Tree DNA (FTDNA), a leading DNA testing company, and partners with National Geographic processed all Geno 1.0, Geno 2.0 and Geno 2.0 Next Generation kits (these kits were sold prior to November 21, 2016 and use a cheek swab DNA collection method as opposed to saliva collection). Moving forward, FTDNA will process all Educator and International (non-USA) kit sales. Family Tree DNA also works with the Genographic Project to help address individual questions from public participants from the earlier versions of the kit, regarding participation and results. More information on Family Tree DNA can be found at www.familytreedna.com.

  8. What is the Genographic Project’s relationship with Helix?

    Through our partnership with Helix, their lab will use cutting-edge sequencing technology via our world-class laboratory to analyze DNA submissions from the Geno 2.0 Next Gen Helix kit for this unique anthropological effort. And, once a consumer’s DNA is sequenced with Helix, they can access it for years to come.

    After you place your order for Geno 2.0 Next Gen Helix Kit, you’ll receive a DNA collection kit from Helix.  Because Helix sequences your DNA, your purchase and use of the Product is subject to any applicable terms, policies or rules of Helix, including, but not limited to Helix’s Privacy Policy, Helix Terms of Service and Helix Platform Consent (collectively the “Helix Policies.”).  Other governing Helix Policies may also apply and would be posted to or linked to at www.helix.com.

    To use the Geno 2.0 Next Gen Helix Product and receive the results, you will have to create an online account with National Geographic at genographic.com and with Helix at helix.com.  A unique kit identification number printed inside your DNA collection kit is required to create an account.  If you lose the kit ID number prior to registering at helix.com, you will not be able to create an account unless you purchase a replacement kit.  Once you’ve been sequenced, you can access your DNA insights through Helix and National Geographic for years to come.  

  9. How do I contact the Genographic Project?

    If you are having trouble registering your Geno / Helix Kit (this kit has the word “Helix” on the lower left corner of the box cover and contains a saliva collection tube, as opposed to a cheek swab), please call 844-211-2070.

    If you have questions about your Geno / Helix Kit results, please email us at genographichelix@natgeo.com or call us at 888-557- 4450.

    If you would like to place an order for a kit, you can order online or call 800-437-5521 to reach the National Geographic catalog. If you have questions about an order you have placed, please call 888-557-4450 to reach National Geographic Store & Geno customer service.

    If you have a Geno 1.0, Gen 2.0 or Geno 2.0 Next Generation kit (this is a kit where you rubbed swabs on the inside of your mouth), and have questions about your DNA analysis, kit or your results, please email us at genographic@ngs.org or call 713-868- 1807.

    Please note that due to the nature of the project, you must call the company you purchased from to receive updates about orders, billing, or shipments.

    The Genographic Project has a valuable collection of genetic and geographic data that can be accessed by researchers through an application process. We encourage qualified researchers to contact our Lead Scientist, Dr. Miguel Vilar (mvilar@ngs.org) for information on grants and on the Genographic Project database.

    For Press Inquiries, contact Meg Calnan at 202.912.6703 or meg.calnan@natgeo.com.