PEOPLE tracing their family trees could help the fight against coronavirus, it’s claimed – by sharing data from home DNA-testing kits.

More than 30 million people worldwide have used genetic testing services for ancestry or health insights.

Researchers are now asking customers of sites like Ancestry DNA, 23andMe and others to share their data to speed up understanding of the virus.

Edinburgh University’s Coronagenes study seeks to identify key genes involved in the body’s response to infection. Understanding why some people have severe symptoms and others only mild problems could help combat future disease outbreaks, it is claimed, with donated data helping to fast-track that work and keep costs low.

Quantitative genetics professor Albert Tenesa explained: “Time is of the essence. To identify the genes that explain why some people get very sick from coronavirus and others don’t, we need the solidarity of a large proportion of people from different countries who can share their DNA testing results with us. In this case, size really matters.”

Volunteers will be asked to complete online questionnaires about their health, lifestyle and any symptoms they have experienced.

Updating the survey before, during and after an infection will help scientists detect any patterns that might indicate how the virus progresses.

To volunteer, visit