29 November 2006

Are DNA test prices changing?

Perhaps you've seen news about DNA breakthroughs, technologies that mean analysis of what previously took the dedicated effort of major labs can now be done by a high school student in her bedroom. Maybe things haven't gone quite so far yet, but the trend is right. So are prices for DNA tests likely to fall? Let's start by checking the history of commercial Y-DNA tests, specifically those marketed to the genealogy community by Family Tree DNA.

Family Tree DNA became the first company to target the genealogy market in North America with a Y-DNA test, 12 markers for $US 219, in mid 2000. By early 2002, much delayed from the original announcement, Oxford Ancestors were offering a 10 marker test for $US 220. In June 2002 FTDNA, having captured the early adopter premium, reduced the price to $US 149. In August 2002 FTDNA started offering 25 marker tests for $US 209.

In Spring 2003 FTDNA prices were increased, by $US 10 for the 12 marker test and $US 20 for 25 markers. A 37 marker test was added in February 2004 for $US 289.

In April 2006 the FTDNA range was expanded again to what was eventually set as a 67 marker test for $US 349. At the same time the price for the 12 marker test was reduced by $US 10, and for the 37 marker test reduced by $US 30.

That's two decreases and one increase. Do you see a price trend? Note that the prices quoted are the rates for those not testing through a group project.

Come back for a second part to the analysis in the next post.