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Thread: MyHeritage DNA Health+Ancestry kit now available

  1. #1
    Gold Class Member
    Birmingham, UK
    Indian - Punjabi Jatt
    Y-DNA (P)
    mtDNA (M)
    Y-DNA (M)
    mtDNA (P)

    England United Kingdom India Punjab India

    Lightbulb MyHeritage DNA Health+Ancestry kit now available

    YFull: YF72440 (FTDNA - IN41220)

    Ancestral Haplos (Punjabi Jatt):
    * Father: R2-M479 > M124 > V1180 > SK2142 > Y1379 > Y1383 > Y154920* (xZ6135) - M5a1a-G9064A (185G)
    * Maternal Uncle: R1b-M343 > M269 > Z2103 > Z2109 > Y14416 > Y35099 > Y84821 - U7a3a-A9852G > G6150A > C15433T
    * MGMs MGF: R1a-M420 > M198 > Z93 > L657 > Y7 - ?

    Hidden Content

  2. #2
    Registered Users
    mtDNA (M)

    I think it is overpriced. They say a lot of negative things about 23&me, but at least 23&me provides free updates, unlike MH where you need to buy a health subscription. No, thanks.

  3. The Following User Says Thank You to Geborgenheit For This Useful Post:

     SecretExplorer (05-28-2019)

  4. #3
    Registered Users

    Where does it say you need (or can get) health subscription? Because I don't see mention of that anywhere. If they're going to hit you with a subscription with no indication of it anywhere on the marketing, that's pretty bad. Of course, the other question is... do they have FDA clearance for this? There's no indication of that either, so are they just hoping FDA won't go after them because they're based in Israel? In addition to health regulation, MyHeritage is on record for one of the largest data breaches (In fact, at the time I believe it was THE largest data breach, in terms of number of people affected, in western countries) - best hope lightning doesn't strike same place twice.

    And, uh, what are the worse things implied about 23andMe in this context? I thought the objection is (mainly) specifically that they're providing health reports - FDA vetted, analytically & clinically validated and understandability-tested/proven reports, unlike MyHeritage. And selling access to the DNA data of consenting users to researches - just as MyHeritage does, or would do if they could find any buyers: (In fact, there IS a strong argument that MyHeritage's users don't know about this and may consent by accident, which is constantly claimed about 23andMe, but 23andMe has always been clear and vocal that offering the data of consenting users to researches was the whole point: and 2010 paper "Web-Based, Participant-Driven Studies Yield Novel Genetic Associations for Common Traits" for example).

    In a way, the more companies offer these sorts of analysis, the better it actually is for genetic literacy & making carrier status and polygenic risk "household words". In some ways it's going to be a rough ride until then, and any companies which don't work with FDA run high risk of having to discontinue/suspendd services to customers. And even experts seem to be having hard time telling the difference between medical tests like 23andMe, literature lookup like Promethease, and recreational tests. In fact, it's not really clear which MyHeritage is intended to be right now.

    Some major over-hyping?
    "29 personalized health reports are generated based on rigorous scientific research.
    The only major test offering polygenic risk reports for heart disease, breast cancer, and type 2 diabetes."
    Rigorious scientific research = had intern copy references from 23andMe's tests, more likely, or does MyHeritage actually have a single scientific research done?
    The only major test = Myriad Genetics, Ambry Genetics, Color Genomics and Phosphorous must be minor tests then?
    polygenic risk reports for heart disease, breast cancer, and type 2 diabetes = Maybe because you can't do actual polygenic risk score from a microarray like they claim to?

  5. #4
    Registered Users

    I thought 23andMe doesn't call their Diabetes II risk report Polygenic Risk Report, but the blog and white-paper do make mention of those terms: Oddly enough the White Paper's changelog has 'April 2019: Clarifications added throughout the text that the "PGS" is a purely genetic model.' which, oddly enough, doesn't seem to clarify anything but seems to be an admission it's not "true" PGS.
    "Unlike its other genetic health risk tests, 23andMe developed its diabetes report under the FDA’s guidelines for low-risk general wellness devices, products that promote a healthy lifestyle—which can be beneficial for all people regardless of their genetic disposition. ”Like all of our reports, we hold this report to high scientific standards,” said a 23andMe spokesperson, who also noted that a type 2 diabetes test was one of the reports most often requested by customers. “It’s built using data from 2.5 million individuals, which we believe to be the largest cohort ever used to develop a genetic model for type 2 diabetes.”'

    So I guess 23andMe (re-)started this "PGS doesn't need FDA approval" idea. FDA may still show them otherwise, but a lot might depend on just how it's presented to customers. I'm on V3 platform on 23andMe and thus actually don't get the Diabetes II PGS. Another thing of note, MyHeritage doesn't have access to 23andMe's data, so how did they do their PGS? There are several public ones, but they're not validated on MyHeritage's DNA chip. Of course they're not going to advertise the science doesn't quite add up - and I might note that back in the day I'd accepted this from 23andMe too. But there IS a higher standard now.

  6. #5
    Registered Users
    mtDNA (M)

    Quote Originally Posted by Donwulff View Post
    Where does it say you need (or can get) health subscription?
    Over there:

    Health Subscription
    We also offer a Health subscription as an optional add-on for the kit, priced at $99 US per year, which gives you access to all new health reports as they are released, without the need to re-test your DNA. The Health subscription also grants you access to all of our advanced DNA features for genealogy that previously required a MyHeritage site subscription (such as viewing family trees of DNA matches, viewing shared matches and ethnicities, and shared ancestral places).

    As a special gift to celebrate the launch, customers who purchase the MyHeritage DNA Health + Ancestry test or upgrade a MyHeritage DNA test to receive health reports, and add the Health subscription, are currently entitled to receive the first year of the Health subscription for free. The Health subscription can be canceled at any time.

    Their 'comparison' to 23&me can be found in the same article.

  7. #6
    Registered Users

    Okay, that's even more sucky, their health product is already much higher price than 23andMe and topping it off with subscription for updates (Aka correcting incorrect results!) without saying so up front is unethical at the highest level. (I should add here that I speak only of my opinion as a private individual, I'm sure people have differing opinions, but consider the facts & evidence).

    I did see that blog post before, for starters in their sample report it says "People like you have 2.2 times higher risk..." which is ambigious due to the common usage of the phrase. The context makes me believe they actually mean "2.2 times as high risk", not "2.2 times higher" which would bw awkward way of saying 3.2 times the risk. But yeah, I can't actually tell for sure which one they mean... The graphical representation of risk has exact same look as 23andMe, although I'm sure that's common enough to not be protected. You can find example of 23andMe's Diabetes II report at (From I hope the links work) which has much more visual aids, and no mention of Polygenic Risk Score.

    23andMe appeals to FDA's "General Wellness: Policy for Low Risk Devices" at for their Diabetes II report. That policy requires, among other things, "Does the product have an intended use that relates to sustaining or offering general improvement to functions associated with a general state of health while making reference to diseases or conditions, and where it is well understood and accepted that healthy lifestyle choices may play an important role in health outcomes for the disease or condition?" Heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes are explicitly mentioned (Although not in the context of genetic tests, which might lend them the air of medical advice), however My Heritage's breast cancer report is almost certainly not covered under FDA's Low Risk Devices excemption. Whether one agrees with that distinction by FDA or not, it means that FDA might shut down MyHeritage's health service.

    MyHeritage's blog page's 23andMe comparison is pretty bizarre sludgefest, however, playing to the common misconceptions and outright lies, worded in mostly ambigious way. "In the USA, MyHeritage provides built-in physician oversight, and genetic counseling (if required), whereas 23andMe does not." They further state "When a report indicates an increased risk for a specific condition, the physician will further determine whether genetic counseling is advised. If genetic counseling is recommended, a phone or video consultation with a genetic counselor from PWNHealth is included at no additional cost." but I'm curious to know what possible information beyond the genetic report (ie. automated) the physican reviewing millions of reports could use, and how commonly MyHeritage actually invokes the free genetic counseling. I do agree the purely genealogical features of MyHeritage are better, and if they can leverage that to get customers to upgrade to health, all the better.
    "Last but not least, in terms of privacy, MyHeritage has never sold user data and has pledged to never do so without the user’s explicit informed consent." Er... because that's the law, just like 23andMe, that is? Except that MyHeritage's probably not yet succeeded in selling the data, although they have leaked it out without consent, and due to them being genealogical company many people likely actually don't realize they're consenting. "MyHeritage has likewise pledged to never share user data with insurance companies under any circumstances." Er... just like 23andMe, perhaps, except that MyHeritage only writes it in a blog-post and has a track record of backing out of pledges in their blog? (Ref: for example)

    Healthy competition in this area is great, but it should be healthy & not lies and misrepresentations, and frankly MyHeritage will have hard job selling at that price + subscription unless they can paint 23andMe as inherently evil. Unfortunately that's a story that sinks well to the public, even if MyHeritage is doing just the same, and that will only hurt the overall home DNA test market. I was raking my brain trying to think HOW they could make this look appealing, but I think leveraging people who are already MyHeritage customers (Unfortunately it needs new DNA test chip) and undercutting 23andMe's price should be the main ways. I'd say higher quality reports, particularly on conditions that aren't covered by 23andMe (Ie. innovation & features), but that'd difficult due to the data and investor disparity. Higher price + subscription for fixing errors in their reports and badmouthing 23andMe with misrepresentations is NOT a good look.

    *"MyHeritage is unique in providing Polygenic Risk Reports for heart disease and breast cancer. MyHeritage also covers more BRCA variants." Those should probably not be called Polygenic Risk Reports because they use very limited variants and little or no non-genetic modifiers. I don't think MyHeritage has any publication out on these, so they could just pull them out of thin air, and indeed are not FDA compliant so the claim means very little. Broad Institute, which pioneered Polygenic Risks, does note their initial version was based on just 12 variants, so if we're playing fast and loose with the definition, 23andMe's Familial Hypercholesterolemia and BRCA1 & BRCA2 report are polygenic risk reports on heart disease and breast cancer, respectively. Regardless, clinical sequencing labs and every third-party analysis service offer these reports so MyHeritage's claim to be "unique" is false on its face. 23andMe doesn't provide them, but only because FDA stopped them. While that's still a definite competitive advantage for MyHeritage, FDA can easily go after them as well. There's been growing concern about errors in BRCA variant tests as well, but it's possible if not even likely that none of those tests were done by 23andMe. "More variants" means nothing unless they can prove analytical & clinical validity like 23andMe has had to do for the FDA approved BRCA report. And yes, 10 years ago we did accept less from 23andMe

  8. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Donwulff For This Useful Post:

     Geborgenheit (06-01-2019),  Luis (06-02-2019)

  9. #7
    Registered Users

    Do not mean to go anywhere near the depth of previous posts, but being a long time tester on MH I had the following doubt: They say I can just pay extra and have the "Health Upgrade" but do not mention any re-testing of the ADN (either with a new sample or the one they have in store as in FamilyTreeDNA). Does that mean they use the same 700k SNPs and just run software over it to provide the report? Wouldn't that be the same as Promethease just fancier?

  10. #8
    Registered Users

    They actually should be stressing THIS, because it's a Good Thing<tm>, provisional to how often they actually do it because all of these "and we also.."'s are conditional.
    "We take extra steps to reduce the chance of reporting false positives: for conditions with significantly increased genetic risk, such as cancers, we double-check all pathogenic findings with Sanger sequencing, which is the gold standard in molecular testing."
    If done, it of course negates some objections I had to unreliable SNP's, and sets this apart from Promethease etc. Also Promethease does not do any sort of polygenetic risk scores; multiple reporting of many causal risks (Ie. when different studies attribute the same risk to different variants) is a major issue with Promethease, as well as nobody actually being "responsible" for any of the reports.

    Anyway looked at the blog:
    "MyHeritage DNA customers who upgrade to receive health reports will receive them in a few days, if their genealogical DNA test was processed on the GSA chip (i.e. if they received their DNA results in April 2019 or later). Customers who upgrade a genealogical kit that was tested on the former Omni chip (i.e. they received their results in March 2019 or earlier) will need to wait 3–4 weeks because their DNA sample will need to be processed again on the new GSA chip (which MyHeritage will do at its own additional expense). However, the first customers who upgrade should also allow 4–6 weeks for processing. Note that customers who upgrade will also be required to fill out the health questionnaire, and they may also be subject to a 2-week delay if Sanger sequencing is required."

    Were people aware that their samples are being stored for easy re-testing? What if for whatever reason the sample is no longer viable/good quality though? In any case this DOES seem like a good deal for existing (MyHeritage tested) customers. I've only used the free raw data import on MyHeritage and therefore have not received upgrade/discount offer. However, also "Note that customers who upgrade will also be required to fill out the health questionnaire" WTF, what about consent and privacy? Fine if you're willing to do that.

    Reading the blog more closely, they say "We also offer a Health subscription as an optional add-on for the kit, priced at $99 US per year, which gives you access to all new health reports as they are released, without the need to re-test your DNA. The Health subscription also grants you access to all of our advanced DNA features for genealogy that previously required a MyHeritage site subscription (such as viewing family trees of DNA matches, viewing shared matches and ethnicities, and shared ancestral places)." I hope that this actually means that corrections and to existing reports come free, and the subscription is only needed for access to new reports, although that ought to be clarified because it's pretty important issue. That statement also won't be true when they introduce the next testing chip with new variants... 23andMe suffers from same problem though, with early joiners in perpetual limbo where they can't get all reports and aren't allowed to upgrade, but at least they aren't paying for updates.

    Edit: Added note on "Note that customers who upgrade will also be required to fill out the health questionnaire" because that was so flummoxing I forgot to comment first time MyHeritage is definitely hard-selling this health service & especially the forward-sellable part of it, though!
    Last edited by Donwulff; 06-04-2019 at 08:16 AM.

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