Niall of the Nine Hostages and DNAGeeks

The past 5 weeks have been a whirlwind. In starting DNAGeeks we wanted to share our passion for genomics, and also tap into other people’s passions. That has meant rolling out products related to genetic genealogy, inside jokes about science, or more pointed commentary about the state of a scientific career. Hopefully, all of this gets people talking and spreads awareness and interest in genetic testing, as well as science in general (something I’ve tried to do with the blog obviously).

We want folks to know that science is serious but can also be fun. The genetic genealogy community synthesizes both a passion for science and a deep humanism. When we rolled out our Haplotees we focused on the broadest haplogroup lineages, paternal and maternal.

Now as we gain traction, we are trying to delve deep into specific historical stories. Recently, in collaboration with an early supporter of DNAGeeks , we developed the R1b-M222 Haplotee which highlights the lineage of men descended from Niall of the Nine Hostages. It’s a fascinating story of one dude that fathered tons of folks (or more broadly, one of the major lineages of the Sons of Mil)…. This is what we mean that the passion for genetics is deep, as these sorts of topics combine the latest science with history and great personal stories. In the future, with greater feedback from the community, we hope to roll-out other offerings, tailored to the interests and passions of specific groups.

We want to hear from you. Get in touch in the comments below. We are now developing our “roadmap” for the next year so feedback has, and will, make a difference.

(I like the idea of Genghis Khan shirt but wonder about the market size)

One month of DNAGeeks & Cyber Monday sale

For a while, one of the weird things about DNAGeeks sales in quantities has been that people who look at haplogroup I1‘s page have not been buying the shirts. This is in contrast to haplogroup R1b. The geographically the two groups overlap a fair amount. It’s not totally implausible to guess that 75% of the humans who have stepped foot on the moon have been paternal haplogroup’s R1b and I1. And the two have had about the same number of page-views.

I began to make gross generalizations about the type of man who carries I1. Well, the joke’s on us: turns out that the previous font made it look like “I1” was lowercase L, as in “l1.” Well we’ve fixed that problem, so let’s see how that works out!

When my friends and I started DNAGeeks over a weekend we didn’t have a precise idea where it was going to go and what was going to be popular. People keep asking “so what it’s about about?” Well DNA obviously, but the journey is just starting.

We knew genetics and genomics and have a wide diversity of other skills (I can write, others handle the code and business sides), but “DNA-themed products” was not something which I saw a lot of market testing on. So as they say in the start-up world we’re trying to iterate and figure out what works and doesn’t. The goal is make more people passionate about genetics, and also target people who are already passionate about genetics.

One thing we have learned is that the DNA helix symbol is very popular (thanks Joel!). We’re putting it on shirts, mugs, and now cellphone cases (iPhone only, since only iPhone owners spend money). Also, I’m happy to report a fair number of Gene Expression t-shirts have sold.

Until tomorrow if you used DNAEXPLAINED17 as a coupon code on checkout you get 15% off. Viva la consumerism!