We all need to know extra about who we’re. Who have been the individuals who got here earlier than us? Where did they arrive from? Are there kin on the market we don’t find out about?
DNA testing companies promise to assist reply these questions. Today, a number of at-home ancestry DNA kits can discover long-lost kin, estimate your ethnic ancestry, or present the place your ancestors got here from tens of 1000’s of years in the past.
These exams are in style—in line with the International Society of Genetic Genealogy (ISOGG), the quantity of people that purchased at-home DNA kits now exceeds 18 million—and it’s straightforward to see why. All it’s important to do is swab your cheek or spit in a vial, seal your pattern in a bag, and ship it off to the lab. In a matter of weeks, you’ll be given a share breakdown of the areas your genes hail from.
Some exams go additional and even look at your motherline and fatherline to find out historic migration patterns on each side of your loved ones. Many exams match you with individuals of their databases who share your DNA, too.
But no take a look at is created equal. Some supply extra element and fewer doubtful outcomes than others, so we’ve reviewed a wide array of various DNA exams to determine that are which. Below are our high picks. Below which might be hyperlinks to all of our DNA testing kit reviews.
Updated 9/9/19 to incorporate our review of TellMeGen, one of many few DNA take a look at kits to supply genetic details about your well being in addition to your ancestry. See the underside of this text for all of our reviews of DNA test kits.
Best DNA take a look at
When it involves element and selection, 23andMe is the best way to go. There are two completely different variations: the $99 Ancestry Service and the $199 Health + Ancestry Service. The less-expensive Ancestry Service nonetheless goes above and past most different exams, offering an interactive, visually-rich report in your ethnic ancestry, historical past on the traditional ancestors of your mom and father, a database of individuals you share DNA with, and even a report on traits inherited from Neanderthals.
The $199 Health + Ancestry Service gives all this and extra in your genetic well being dangers, wellness, service standing of problematic genes, and traits guessed primarily based in your DNA. 23andMe can be continually including new stories to its well being service. So you may anticipate to be taught much more about your genes as time goes on. (See our full review of 23andMe.)
AncestryDNA is a wonderful DNA take a look at for a few causes. For one, it has the most important DNA database on the market as a result of it’s examined the DNA of greater than 10 million individuals. This improves the accuracy of its estimates and in addition makes the chance of discovering kin a lot larger. Secondly, AncestryDNA usually updates its ethnicity estimates with new DNA samples to refine the accuracy of its outcomes. So for the one-time payment of $99 you may anticipate to see your outcomes develop into extra correct because the years go on.
Its largest shortcoming is that it prices the identical worth as 23andMe however solely exams autosomes as an alternative of additionally testing mtDNA and yDNA. That means AncestryDNA will be unable to give you particulars in your historic ancestors.
Even although AncestryDNA’s service may be easier, it’s spectacular and refined. The full-screen interactive map was nice to make use of, and looking out over the huge variety of DNA matches in its system makes you notice how we share items of our identification with so many different individuals. (See our full review of AncestryDNA.)
Best bang-for-your-buck DNA take a look at
For $79, MyHeritage DNA gives a strong service on the most inexpensive worth. (Be looking out for normal promotions that carry the worth all the way down to $59.) MyHeritage DNA is in some ways like Ancestry DNA, because it estimates your ethnic heritage through your autosomes and matches you with kin who share DNA with you.
But there’s one key distinction: It’s examined extra individuals dwelling in Europe than the United States. This has its benefits for Americans trying to join with long-lost kin throughout the Atlantic. However, one draw back is that MyHeritage’s database solely has greater than 1.5 million individuals in it, in comparison with greater than 10 million in Ancestry’s. (See our full review of MyHeritage.)
Best DNA equipment for adoptees
There are new stories each week about DNA exams reuniting adopted individuals with their mother and father or even with siblings. The rising quantity of people that have taken DNA exams makes these discoveries increasingly more doable.
The surest option to discover kin is to take a take a look at that has a lot of individuals in its database. With greater than 10 million individuals and counting in its data, AncestryDNA is your greatest guess for locating kin.
Best DNA equipment for family tree
AncestryDNA snags a second high spot on our checklist with the age of its service and the bigger database from which to attract household data from. (Note: We’ve not reviewed the family tree service, however on the entire, a much bigger database with dependable outcomes will all the time be probably the most preferrred place to start out.) Its solely competitor is MyHeritage, which additionally gives a genealogical service full with authorities data and extra. Ancestry.com’s genealogical service does include a month-to-month service payment that begins at $20 per thirty days.
Best DNA equipment for privateness
“We don’t believe [user data] should be sold, traded, or bartered,” stated Family Tree DNA president Bennett Greenspan, in a video. That’s the corporate’s promise with regards to your DNA. Unlike 23andMe and AncestryDNA, Family Tree DNA doesn’t ask you to consent to any agreements which may lead to your genetic information ending up within the palms of firms or researchers.
Although the consent agreements are elective, 23andMe has partnered with drug giants like GlaxoSmithKline to “share” genetic information. While AncestryDNA has “shared” DNA information with Google dad or mum firm Alphabet’s Calico labs. (We put “share” in quotes as a result of these firms are getting an undisclosed profit for offering the information.) If you need to take a DNA take a look at however are involved about privateness, Family Tree DNA is the take a look at for you.
How DNA exams work
Every genealogical DNA take a look at we reviewed examines autosomes. These are 22 of the 23 chromosome pairs you share with kin on each side of your loved ones. Your DNA turned extra combined over generations to create your particular person make-up, however sure genetic markers from ethnic populations survive in your autosomal DNA. This permits a DNA take a look at to match you with kin and break down the DNA you’ve acquired from sure ethnicities.
Some DNA exams additionally have a look at mitochondrial DNA, or mtDNA, handed down from mom to youngster and, within the case of males, the yDNA handed down from father to son. These sorts of exams can let you know extra in regards to the ethnic breakdown of your mother and father and the migration patterns of your ancestors.
Like any new know-how, DNA exams aren’t good. Some of the ethnic ancestry outcomes will match what you recognize of your loved ones historical past, however different exams will current wildly completely different conclusions. That’s partly as a result of DNA exams develop extra correct and detailed because the pool of general information grows bigger. (The different influencing side is the science accessible.)
Currently, a lot of the information comes from the United States, with U.S. residents composing 80 p.c of all individuals who have taken DNA exams, in line with ISOGG. As a end result, white individuals with European ancestry have predominantly taken DNA exams and have skewed the extent of element of their favor. Many ethnic areas in Africa, Asia, and South America supply much less element and span a lot broader swaths of land, whereas Europe will be damaged down into many various areas regardless of its comparatively smaller geographical measurement.
Still, what these exams reveal will be enlightening, and the science continues to progress right into a increasingly more correct gauge of our human code.
What to search for in a DNA take a look at
With all of the DNA exams already on the market and extra coming yearly, it may be difficult to know precisely what to search for. But a couple of key issues sign how good a take a look at is even earlier than you order it.
First, discover out what sort of DNA the textual content examines. The hottest sort of DNA take a look at is an autosomal take a look at, which may let you know about your kin and which ethnicities will be recognized in your DNA. Additionally, some exams don’t simply have a look at your autosomes, but additionally have a look at your mtDNA out of your mom and in the event you’re male, yDNA. Generally talking, if a take a look at appears at extra than simply your autosomes, you’re getting your cash’s price.
Another standout characteristic is DNA matching. Tests like AncestryDNA, Family Tree, MyHeritage, and 23andMe are identified for this characteristic. But some exams don’t supply it. If you need to discover long-lost kin or see the place distant kin dwell, be sure that no matter take a look at you purchase has this.
Finally, search for the dimensions of the take a look at’s database. As talked about earlier, the bigger the DNA database, the extra information the take a look at service has to help in refining its algorithms and science. If you care about accuracy, intention for as massive of a database as you will discover for the options you need.
How we reviewed DNA exams
All DNA exams are essentially the identical: You present a pattern to be despatched for lab for testing, and then you definately obtain your outcomes some weeks later.
How these companies accumulate this pattern and the way they current your info varies, although. You’ll additionally discover variations in how lengthy processing takes, in addition to in every firm’s privateness coverage.
We took the particular components into consideration whereas evaluating every DNA service’s take a look at:
DNA Collection Kit: DNA samples may be scattered throughout your own home, however the way you accumulate the one you ship in for testing must be scientific. When interacting with our kits, we took into consideration how easy the take a look at was, if we needed to collect our pattern by mouth swab or offering saliva, the packaging of the return mailer, and the readability of the included directions.
Speed: DNA testing is usually a prolonged endeavor and you need to typically anticipate to attend as much as two months earlier than getting your outcomes. Some companies will be as quick as 4 weeks and others even longer than eight weeks. We famous how lengthy it took to obtain outcomes after the pattern arrived on the lab, and the way that in comparison with rivals.
Results: Detail is essential with regards to DNA testing, however so is the readability of how the outcomes are offered. We evaluated the presentation of take a look at outcomes (each by way of information and visible format), in addition to the kind of info given (e.g., motherline, fatherline, migration patterns, regional breakdown, and well being outcomes). We additionally took into consideration how the data lined up with confirmed household historical past and different competing kits, in addition to the companies the corporate supplied alongside these outcomes.
Privacy: Privacy can simply be crucial factor with regards to DNA. After all, your genetic code comprises an astonishing quantity of knowledge. We weighed the invasiveness of a take a look at’s privateness coverage: Do they take possession of your DNA, train the best to make use of it as they see match, or retain the power to promote it to 3rd events? We additionally took word of the controls we had over our information and the way it was used, and the way simply we might toggle permissions on and off.
Value: With all these components in thoughts, we additionally thought of the price of the DNA equipment relative to rivals within the subject.
Best DNA take a look at: Reviews
Looking for one thing else that didn’t make our high picks? We listed all of our DNA take a look at equipment opinions beneath. We’ll proceed to guage extra exams as they develop into accessible.