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Legal Issues - Privacy Policy and Terms of Service

Family Tree DNA follows stringent policies for protecting your privacy according to state legislation guidelines. We control the Surname Database Library and genetic testing scores. Family Tree DNA only shares limited information with testing facilities. Both the University of Arizona testing lab and our Genomics Research Center follow strict guidelines to ensure your privacy.

In addition to the PRIVACY AND CONFIDENTIALITY STATEMENT below, Family Tree DNA also adheres to the following SAFE HARBOR PRIVACY STATEMENT in connection with the transfer and protection of "personal information" received from the European Union (EU) or Switzerland.

Family Tree DNA complies with the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor Framework and the U.S.-Swiss Safe Harbor Framework as set forth by the U.S. Department of Commerce regarding the collection, use, and retention of personal information from European Union member countries and Switzerland. Family Tree DNA has certified that it adheres to the Safe Harbor Privacy Principles of notice, choice, onward transfer, security, data integrity, access, and enforcement. To learn more about the Safe Harbor program, and to view Family Tree DNA’s certification, please visit

In compliance with the US-EU and US-Swiss Safe Harbor Principles, Family Tree DNA commits to resolve complaints about your privacy and our collection or use of your personal information. European Union or Swiss citizens with inquiries or complaints regarding this privacy policy should first contact Family Tree DNA using our online Feedback form linked from the menu bar at the top of any of our pages at

Family Tree DNA has further committed to refer unresolved privacy complaints under the US-EU and US-Swiss Safe Harbor Principles to an independent dispute resolution mechanism, the BBB EU SAFE HARBOR, operated by the Council of Better Business Bureaus. If you do not receive timely acknowledgment of your complaint, or if your complaint is not satisfactorily addressed by Family Tree DNA, please visit the BBB EU SAFE HARBOR web site at for more information and to file a complaint.

Family Tree DNA accepts the responsibility to keep your specific data private, at the same time, making enough general information public to allow us to build a Surname Database library usable for genealogical purposes.

To accomplish this Family Tree DNA allows you to do the following:

You may search the existing Surname Database Library to see if the surname you are searching is already there. If it is, you may order your DNA test kit and return to search to see that the database has increased under your surname. If the name you want to search is not there, you may order your test kit and then return to the database to see your surname registered. When you place your order, the order form will ask you to enter the surname for the direct paternal line.

Privacy and Confidentiality Statement

Your unique test kit number will accompany your collection tube to the testing lab. The computer-generated number and your surname is the only information about you that the testing facility will see. Once the lab completes your DNA test, Family Tree DNA enters the test results in a secure database. We then perform a comparison between your specific genetic results and those of others in the database.

If the matching program finds a genetic match between you and another person in the database and you have each signed the release form Family Tree DNA will notify you via e-mail.

If a genetic match is found between you and another individual who enters the library at some time in the future, both will be given the information that a potential match is in the database provided that BOTH of you have signed the release form. Only where both parties have signed the release form will we release contact information concerning the separate parties to the other party. In this way, all persons in the database will have the right to decide if they want to contact their genetic match(es).

Family Tree DNA maintains strict privacy and confidentiality.

Project Participation

Family Tree DNA provides the option to participate in one or more projects. This may help you learn more by working with others who may share similar ancestry. If you choose to participate in a project, the project administrator will be able to view your results and contact information so that he or she may best help members of the project learn about their ancestry.

So that members can share information more easily, projects often have a public website displaying member results. The free website that Family Tree DNA provides to projects lists member results by kit number. Results tables and maps on the free public website may include a participant’s oldest known ancestor, the ancestor’s country of origin, surname, and full name.

You may join or leave projects at any time at no charge. You can view a list of projects here.

It is important to note that while Family Tree DNA does not impose a limit to the number of projects one can join, we will not tolerate customers joining multiple projects with the purpose of data mining or finding information that is not relevant to one's personal ancestral origins. Family Tree DNA reserves the right to remove people from projects at our sole discretion or if it feels that a participant is abusing the system in a way that may infringe another participant's privacy.

The mtDNA full sequence test contains some genes in the coding region (CR). By default, these results are unavailable to the project administrators. You may choose to allow your project administrators to view your coding region results on the My Account – Results Display Settings page of your myFTDNA Account (personal page).

A "Relevant Match" as stated in the release form is one of the following:

Relevant Matches
Test Genetic Distance of Relevant Matches
Y-DNA 12 Exact Matches and (within a project) a genetic distance of 1
Y-DNA 25 0 through 2
Y-DNA 37 0 through 4
Y-DNA 67 0 through 7
Y-DNA 111 0 through 10
mtDNA Exact Matches
mtDNAPlus (HVR1 & HVR2) Exact Matches excluding positions 309 and 315
mtFull Sequence (HVR1, HVR2 & Coding Region) 0 through 3 including heteroplasmy, but excluding positions 309 and 315
Family Finder Immediate family through remote cousins

** Note: When a Y-Chromosome STR marker comparison differs by more than one, the matching program takes genetic distance rather than the number of mismatching markers into consideration. This is because for most STR markers, each step difference is as meaningful as mismatches on additional markers.

Privacy Document – Gene by Gene, Ltd.

Gene by Gene, Ltd (“Gene by Gene”) is in the business of providing DNA tests for genealogy, ancestry, medical, research and paternity.

Gene by Gene owns and runs its own lab, the Genomics Research Center in Houston, TX.

In addition, Gene by Gene owns and operates the websites,,, and

Purposes of this Document

This document is intended to explain how Gene by Gene manages the privacy of your personal data and other information that can be used to identify you, either alone or in combination with other information, including your DNA samples and test results (collectively, “Personal Information”).

We use your Personal Information to provide you with Gene by Gene services, customized reports and features. Customers of the different services provided by Gene by Gene are offered an opportunity to sign a Consent Form specific to each service which allows them to take full advantage of the services. In the absence of a specific Consent Form, this Privacy Document will prevail.

By using the Gene by Gene websites and the services offered, you consent to the collection, use, storage and disclosure of your Personal Information by Gene by Gene in accordance with this Privacy Document. It should be read in conjunction with the Gene by Gene Terms of Use and Gene by Gene Consent Agreement.

Our Commitment to You

Gene by Gene collects, processes, stores and shares your Personal Information in a responsible, transparent and secure environment that fosters our customers’ trust and confidence. To that end, Gene by Gene respects your privacy and will not sell or rent your Personal Information without your consent.

Please read this Gene by Gene Privacy Document and the relevant website FAQs or corresponding section for additional details.

Storage and Processing

When you provide us with any Personal Information, that Personal Information will be stored and processed at the Company’s Genomics Research Center in Houston, Texas. In the event that you are located outside the USA and still choose to order a DNA Test kit and provide a DNA sample, by providing us with Personal Information, you specifically consent to the transfer, storage and processing of Personal Information to and in the United States, which you recognize may provide a different level of protection for Personal Information and personal data than in your country of residence.


Gene by Gene places great importance on the security of all of our customers’ Personal Information. We have reasonable and adequate security measures in place to attempt to protect against the loss, misuse or alteration of customer data under our control. For example, our security and privacy practices are periodically reviewed and enhanced as necessary and only authorized personnel have access to Personal Information. We use secure server software to encrypt financial information you input before it is sent to us and we only work with laboratories and third parties who have met and commit to our security standard. While we cannot guarantee that loss, misuse or alteration of data will not occur, we use commercially reasonable efforts to prevent this.

Use and Disclosure of Personal Information

When you order an individual test online we primarily use your Personal Information to provide your test results, to verify and carry out financial transactions relating to payments you make online and to communicate with you.

Gene by Gene discloses your Personal Information to third parties in very limited circumstances as set out below.

  • To third party service providers, under the protection of appropriate agreements, so that the third parties may perform various tasks for us. For example, we use third parties to process payments from you. These third parties are only given access to that information needed to perform their services, and are prohibited from using it for other purposes. Processors may include affiliated and unaffiliated service providers in the United States, Europe and in other jurisdictions.
  • To the different Gene by Gene divisions, so that they may use Personal Information for the purposes described in this Privacy Document. Additionally, we might restructure, buy, or sell business units. In these transactions, customer information is often one of the transferred assets, remaining subject to promises made in then prevailing Privacy Documents. Also, in the event that Gene by Gene, or substantially all of its assets or stock, are acquired, transferred, disposed of (in whole or part and including in connection with any bankruptcy or similar proceedings), Personal Information including test results will as a matter of course be one of the transferred assets;
  • We may disclose your Personal Information
    • with your knowledge and any relevant permissions;
    • as described in this Privacy Document;
    • as may be required by law, regulatory authorities, legal process or to protect the rights or property of Gene by Gene or other Users (including outside your country of residence);
    • to enforce our terms and conditions;
    • to protect our rights, privacy, safety, confidentiality, reputation or property, and/or that of Gene by Gene, you or others;
    • to prevent fraud or cybercrime; and
    • to permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain.

Non-Personal Information

When you visit our Gene by Gene website, we may automatically collect non-personal information about you, such as the website from which you have come to our Gene by Gene Website, your Media Access Control address, your computer type, screen resolution, Operating System version and Internet browser. We may also collect non-personal information such as demographic data, for example your geographic area. Non-personal information also includes personal information that has been aggregated in a manner such that the end-product does not personally identify you or any other user of the Gene by Gene Website.

Additional Consent

Your use of any of Gene by Gene's services constitutes your consent to Gene by Gene allowing us to use your Personal Information for purposes of quality control and internal research and development activities.

Additionally, your consent will be sought for research purposes. Much of the genetic information resulting from DNA testing has not been clinically validated, and the technology we use, which is the same technology used by the research community, to date has not been widely used for clinical testing. For these reasons, our customers are encouraged to participate in Gene by Gene's research initiatives that may contribute to a better understanding of the results of genetic testing. Your participation in these initiatives is entirely voluntary and your DNA test results will not be used or disclosed without your consent. Once given, however, consent cannot be revoked.

We will ask for your consent in several ways. For example:

  1. A general consent document will be offered to you as part of your decision to participate in any of the Gene by Gene services offered by any of the websites owned and operated by Gene by Gene. Your consent will allow Gene By Gene to share your test results, anonymized and aggregated with those of others who have consented, with our third-party research partners for the purposes of general scientific research intended to lead to publication in peer-reviewed scientific journals.
  2. From time to time, we may ask for explicit consent to participate in specific research, and upon this consent we may allow our research partners to access your individual test results, which will be kept anonymous, for the purposes of general scientific research intended to lead to publication in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.
  3. From time to time, we may ask for explicit consent to participate in specific research, and upon this consent we may allow our research partners to access your individual test results, which will be kept anonymous, for the purposes of scientific research aimed at advancing genetic knowledge and creating, commercializing, or undertaking activities toward the practical applications that may lead to the improvement of health care.
  4. From time to time, we may ask for explicit consent to allow our research partners to access your non-anonymized individual test results in connection with a specific research project.

Research partners may include commercial or non-profit organizations that conduct or support population genetic studies, scientific/medical research, or the development of drugs or devices to diagnose, predict, or treat health conditions.


Gene by Gene may make changes to this Privacy Document from time to time. If we do so, we will issue an updated version of this Privacy Document with an updated date on the Gene by Gene Website (and/or notify you via e-mail or by other appropriate means) so that you will be aware of what information we collect, how we use it and under what circumstances we disclose it in accordance with applicable law. If you do not consent to any changes to our Privacy Document, you may notify us at (insert contact information). At Gene by Gene’s option on a case-by-case basis, we will either continue to apply the previous Privacy Document or delete your information and/or account.


If you have any questions about this Privacy Document, the practices of the Gene by Gene Website, or your dealings with the Gene by Gene Website, you can contact us by either calling 1-713-868-1438 or emailing us at