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Familybuilder sparks price war by cutting DNA tests

September 25

Social genealogy service Familybuilder, the company we profiled in June as “Possibly the largest online genealogy service you’ve never heard of” has started a price war in the DNA testing market by offering tests from $59.95.

Starting October 15, paternal (YDNA) and maternal (mtDNA) tests will be $59.95 each, or combined a low $119.90. This compares to $149/ $179 (total $328) on AncestryDNA or $399 (combined test) from the Google backed 23andme.

Familybuilder will combine its social networking genealogy network of over 20 million family tree profiles on Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, Orkut and Hi5 to promote the now cheaper DNA tests, in what it calls an effort to bring DNA testing to the mass market.

To use, consumers receive the Familybuilder DNA kit by mail and collect a DNA sample. The process takes less than a few minutes to complete, and the return postage is prepaid. Results from the test are provided online and via email.

The price offered by Familybuilder is a long way from 23andme’s original price of $999 less than 12 months ago, and could well spark a serious price war in a competitive market where no company yet has the upper hand. The net result either way is that having to be well off to get a DNA test is now a thing of the past, and these tests are open to nearly everyone.

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