Ancestry to lay off 6% of its staff

Sales of consumer DNA tests are down, and privacy is likely a major factor.

Ancestry DNA service

After 23andMe, Ancestry made the decision to lay off some employees, according to a CNBC report.

Overall, the company — which is the largest seller of at-home DNA tests for health and genealogy reports — is laying off about 100 people, or approximately 6% of its total workforce. The cuts hit employees across the board, rather than focusing on a specific department, and included workers at all levels in both its Utah and California offices.

The reason for such drastic step is said to be a slowdown in demand across the entire DNA category now that “most early adopters have entered the category.”

Nevertheless, Ancestry won’t back off from its healthcare side of business Ancestry Health, with plans to roll out a next-generation sequencing product to its customers in the near future.

“Future growth will require a continued focus on building consumer trust and innovative new offerings that deliver even greater value to people,” the company’s CEO and President Margo Georgiadis wrote in a blog post.

A few weeks ago 23andMe, the second-largest company in the space, laid off 14% of its staff — about 100 people — because sales of its tests were lower than expected. 23andMe CEO Anne Wojcicki said at the time the company did not know exactly why fewer people were purchasing their tests but cited a number of potential explanations, including privacy.