After the ban on DNA testing for genealogy purposes continued in France, Filae and Geneanet, the two main French players in genealogy, seemed to be excluded from this genetic market. What was not the general surprise when he received an email from Geneanet to participate in the beta-test launch of their genetic platform. Analysis of Geneanet's approach to genetic genealogy.
The French legal approach
First question to Christophe Becker, CEO of Geneanet, how can a French company embark on genetic genealogy tests banned in France?tory
And it's all in the shade. Geneanet does not sell genetic testing, nor will it sell it, at least as long as French law prohibits it. The company has decided to offer an additional free service to its users. Those who have already tested genetic genealogy at foreign laboratories can download their genetic data called "raw data" from the Geneanet website, in the DNA section.
Christophe Becker assures him that the team of lawyers consulted by Geneanet guarantees this, since Geneanet offers only a service to compare the genetic data of users, on a server located in the European Union, the French restrictive legislation cannot apply.
MyHeritage by attacking the European and French market for 3 years has changed the game. This foreign start-up sells genetic tests, but above all a semi-annual or annual subscription to their genealogical services, the same genealogical services offered by Filae and Geneanet! The two French companies face a situation of almost unfair competition.
To meet the demand of their users, Geneanet had to offer the same services. Geneanet had no choice.
Beta test, a genetic genealogy service a minimumches"
In beta testing means that the service is being developed. You will therefore be disappointed with the results obtained in foreign genetic genealogy laboratories that have been running and operational for many years.
Geneanet's goal is to deploy the features as you go along. For now, the only ones available are the list of your genetic cousins, with the percentage of DNA shared, and the possible family link.
Christophe Becker reminds us, it's a new field, new tools, computing power to immediately compare all new profiles added to existing ones to improve results. Jonathan, an bioinformatician previously at the Pasteur Institute, joined them to bring these essential skills.
In the development drawers, improve the crossover of data, inform about the number of common segments with matches and the longest segment, haplogroups and of course, geographical origins.
For us French people, frustrated by the results of ethnic origins in the French regions, this is a project eagerly awaited!
Gradually, for now, the data is downloaded gradually, and Christophe Becker to be surprised. The information crossed borders, he thought he received the vast majority of the raw data from the French. And that's 50% of the data received, followed by the United States, Canada, Germany, Great Britain, Australia, Sweden, Belgium, Spain and the Netherlands. Statistics will vary and change as downloads are made.
Geneanet DNA's strengths
Geneanet emphasizes data protection: no use other than that of genetic genealogy, no rental or sale of genetic data, nothing but an additional free service offered, related to genetic genealogy.
Geneanet reminds us in their article on the launch of the service: It is a site based in Europe that complies with the General Data Protection Regulation (RGPD). In particular, this regulation prohibits Geneanet from making any use other than the one for which the user has consented. As with trees, you still own your data and can remove it at any time.
Essential mention for Geneanet, a French company, but changing almost nothing for us users. To the extent that we carried out a genetic test in a foreign laboratory, without guarantee and supervision of the French law of this data used abroad, we have already potentially endangered our genetic data. We would need to have the guarantee of the protection of the data on the genetic tests themselves, still prohibited by French law.
The real potential contribution of Geneanet DNA
What genetic genealogist was not disappointed in his early days, faced with the tantalizing promises of foreign genetic genealogy laboratories to easily rebuild his family tree through DNA.
With a little saliva, we're supposed to rebuild our family tree with one click. But in genetic genealogy, everything works by comparison, comparison of your DNA with that of your genetic cousins, and especially comparison of family trees. Without your genetic cousin's family tree, you can't do anything, nothing.
And here's one of our biggest pitfalls, the majority of people who have done a genetic test, and potentially have valuable information, have not made their family tree, do not know their family history, do not respond to emails (the response rate is estimated between 10 and 30% according to the laboratories). A message is sent, to which the genetic cousin in the majority of cases will not respond, or will respond two years later (lived!) to tell you that he knows nothing about his family history.
This is the major asset of Geneanet, a network of passionate European genealogists who have rebuilt their direct family tree but also often collaterals. A qualitative asset of interest to our European genetic cousins, with whom we share family connections. Thanks to the free digitized archives, thanks to the quality of our archives allowing us to easily go back to the 17th century (the administrative has good), thanks to all the other documents (cadastres, wills, family monographs, etc.), thanks to this rich documentary, we can help our European genetic cousins less happy with their own archives.
Geneanet therefore relies on the quality of their online data to distinguish itself from competitors already well established.
We can access the genetic cousin's tree, and by being a Premium member, we can use an existing automatic comparison tool for family trees to identify common genetic ancestors.
What about the future?
So I can only recommend the transfer of our genetic data, in order to improve Geneanet's genetic basis. In a virtuous circle where, thanks to this data, Geneanet will be able to improve its results, refine its techniques and features from which we will benefit. So, of course, this is frustrating for us compared to other services offered by competitors, but it is a free service that respects the use of our genetic data.