Best DNA Test for 2023: AncestryDNA vs. 23andMe and More

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With a number of totally different DNA exams that may let you know all about your genetics with out you ever having to go to a physician’s workplace, it is by no means been simpler or extra inexpensive to attempt one out. Some DNA take a look at companies can make clear your loved ones historical past, genetic predisposition for illnesses and physiological traits, ranging out of your eye coloration to your tolerance for cilantro. 

DNA testing, and family tree extra broadly, entails an advanced combination of genetics, chances and guesswork. The perfect DNA testing companies use totally different labs, algorithms, tools and standards to investigate your genetic materials. You need to count on a point of overlap between analyses from totally different corporations, nevertheless they could differ considerably. There’s additionally a component of important mass — the bigger the corporate’s database, the bigger the pattern they use to investigate your outcomes, and subsequently the extra correct your take a look at end result ought to be. 

We tried a number of the high DNA testing companies, assessing the breadth and depth of their choices, methodologies, popularity and value. Beneath, we’ll break down the most effective DNA take a look at choices available on the market so you will discover the one that can work greatest for you. 

Best DNA exams



You’re receiving price alerts for 23andMe

Founded in 2006, 23andMe is one of the pioneers of DNA testing for consumers. In 2017 it became the first such service to win the FDA’s approval as a risk screener for diseases. It has become one of the most well-known DNA testing companies — and well-funded, since taking in a $300 million stake from GlaxoSmithKline, which uses the company’s customer data to research and design new drugs. 

23andMe segments its analysis into three main categories — health, ancestry and traits. The basic ancestry and traits test consists of an evaluation of your genetic make-up together with your areas of origin, maternal and paternal lineage and Neanderthal ancestry. As soon as you choose in, the corporate’s match database — which has greater than 10 million profiles — will establish and supply to attach you with individuals who share a DNA match with you.

I discovered 23andMe’s web site and cell app very simple to navigate and brimming with fascinating, understandable details about each my ancestry and well being in addition to the science of genetics and family tree. The primary dashboard presents intuitive hyperlinks to exploring your ancestry, studying in regards to the genetic dangers for well being situations, constructing out a household tree and connecting with family members. Amongst all the DNA exams I attempted, 23andMe delivered the most effective introduction to my current and historical family tree together with an evaluation of my genetic well being. The one actual disadvantage is that it doesn’t supply built-in entry to historic paperwork.

Learn extra: Ancestry vs. 23andMe: Which DNA testing package is greatest for tracing your loved ones historical past?

23andMe does present easy accessibility to a full vary of privateness preferences and consent choices, nevertheless. (That famous, 23andMe’s phrases of service and privateness assertion is among the many most intensive, exceeding 20,000 phrases.) You may ask the corporate to retailer your saliva pattern indefinitely for future testing or have them discard it. Having signed off once I first signed up, I subsequently modified my thoughts about giving the corporate permission to share my knowledge with researchers exterior of 23andMe, and was in a position to retract my consent with the clicking of a button.

Value: Ancestry Service: $99, Well being + Ancestry Service: $199, 23andMe Membership: $199 + $29 one 12 months pay as you go membership

23andMe greatest options: 

The corporate’s DNA health test provides details about your genetic predisposition for late-onset Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and different illnesses. The service additionally consists of evaluation of your provider standing as a possible genetic provider for problems like Cystic Fibrosis and Sickle Cell Anemia in addition to indicators for lactose intolerance and different “wellness” points. The Premium Membership bundle gives precedence lab processing, premium buyer help and a customized walkthrough of your outcomes. 

Issues to contemplate: 

The one actual disadvantage is that it doesn’t supply built-in entry to historic paperwork.


Ian Knighton/ClassyBuzz

AncestryDNA’s fundamental DNA kit service gives you with an “ethnicity estimate” derived from its proprietary sequencing strategies. It is noteworthy that the corporate’s genetic testing, which is outsourced to Quest Diagnostics, is distinct from most different corporations that use paternal Y chromosome and/or maternal mitochondrial DNA methodologies, and much less is thought in regards to the explicit standards it makes use of. 

AncestryDNA says its database incorporates greater than 18 million profiles, making it the biggest of all the DNA take a look at package companies. The corporate additionally maintains a strong instrument for looking by means of a whole lot of historic doc databases — however any substantive analysis will shortly deliver you to a paywall. Ancestry’s databases are additional bolstered by its partnership with, a genealogical data web site run by the Mormon church.

An entry-level membership, which gives entry to greater than 6 billion data within the US, prices $119 for six months or $25 per 30 days, after a free two-week trial. The “World Explorer” membership, for $40 per 30 days, broadens your entry to the corporate’s 27 billion worldwide data, and the “All Entry” tier, beginning at $60 per 30 days, consists of limitless entry to Ancestry’s historic and modern database of greater than 15,000 newspapers and navy data from all over the world. 

23andMe maintains the benefit with regards to introductory DNA testing for well being dangers and genetic screening. However AncestryDNA’s service is especially well-suited for leveraging an introductory DNA evaluation into deep historic analysis to construct out a household tree.

Learn extra: What AncestryDNA taught me about DNA, privateness and the advanced world of genetic testing

Value: US Listing: $24.99/month, World Explorer: $39.99/month, All Entry: $59.99

AncestryDNA greatest options:

AncestryDNA presents a customized well being report with “actionable insights,” entry to genetic counseling sources, a web-based instrument that can assist you map your loved ones’s well being over generations and a next-generation sequencing service for screening your genetic danger for coronary heart illness, some cancers and blood problems. AncestryDNA lets you obtain your full DNA outcomes profile and add the uncooked knowledge into different instruments.

Issues to contemplate:

It gives fairly good management over your privateness preferences, although the choices are usually not as granular as others. The outcomes are usually not diagnostic — although the take a look at end result have to be accredited by one of many firm’s physicians — and the service doesn’t have FDA approval.


Based in 2000, FamilyTreeDNA presents a complete suite of studies and interactive instruments to investigate your DNA and construct a household tree. With a reputable declare to “the world’s most complete DNA matching database,” FamilyTreeDNA presents all three varieties of exams — autosomal DNA, Y-DNA and mtDNA. And it is the only firm to personal and function its personal testing facility: The Gene-by-Gene genetic lab, positioned in Houston.

The corporate’s entry-level “Household Finder” package deal normally prices $79. The take a look at outcomes present details about your ethnic and geographic origins, identifies potential family members and presents entry to the corporate’s huge DNA database. I paid $275 for a broad DNA take a look at that included evaluation of my mtDNA and Y-DNA — exams that at the moment price $159 and $119, respectively, once you purchase them individually — in addition to the “Family Finder,” the corporate’s $79 autosomal take a look at.

Although the person interface is a little more sophisticated than what you may discover on different websites, FamilyTreeDNA gives essentially the most full suite of introductory instruments of any supplier I examined. For every sort of take a look at, you’re offered with matches — I bought greater than 22,000 for my autosomal DNA take a look at — a chromosome browser, migration maps, haplogroups and connections to ancestral reference populations, details about mutations and a hyperlink that lets you obtain your uncooked knowledge. 

The corporate does its personal DNA testing in home, processing and storing your pattern in its lab. Posted prominently on the entrance web page of its web site is a promise that the corporate won’t ever promote your DNA to 3rd events. Like most different corporations, nevertheless, FamilyTreeDNA might use your mixture genetic info for inner analysis and might adjust to requests from regulation enforcement — except you choose out. 

Value: Household Finder + myDNA Wellness: $119, Household Finder: $79

FamilyTreeDNA greatest options:

FamilyTree additionally presents a lot of higher-end exams, for these all in favour of digging deeper, together with a spread of Y-DNA exams that can hint the trail of your male ancestors and the historical past of your surname. The corporate additionally lets you add uncooked DNA knowledge information from different companies and switch your autosomal info to its database to develop your universe of matches and relationships. 

Issues to contemplate: 

The interface is extra sophisticated than different choices, although that is probably due to the quantity of knowledge offered. 

Different DNA testing choices

The three companies above are our high decisions for the most effective DNA take a look at. However they weren’t the one ones we examined. What follows are some extra choices, none of which eclipsed the 23andMe, Ancestry or FamilyTreeDNA in any vital style. 


MyHeritage DNA test kit box

Primarily based in Israel, MyHeritage was based in 2003, and like a lot of different companies profiled right here, began out as a family tree software program platform. MyHeritage outsources its DNA evaluation to FamilyTreeDNA.

MyHeritage presents a free tier of service that features some fundamental household tree-building and entry to excerpts of historic paperwork. The essential DNA testing and evaluation service, features a report of your genetic make-up throughout the corporate’s 42 supported ethnicities, the identification of family members and connections to them the place attainable. 

In 2019, MyHeritage launched a health test much like the one provided by 23andMe. As a part of this effort, the corporate partnered with PWNHealth, a community of US physicians who oversee the method. I used to be required to finish a private and household well being historical past questionnaire — it was 16 questions — which was then ostensibly reviewed by a physician. Although the corporate says it might suggest a “genetic counseling” session administered by PWNHealth, my well being outcomes have been merely delivered together with my ancestry evaluation.

I like MyHeritage’s simple entry to a spread of understandable privateness preferences. Nonetheless, total, I discovered MyHeritage’s person interface far much less intuitive and tougher to navigate than others. It is one of many few corporations to supply a complete analysis database of historic paperwork, DNA evaluation and well being screening — I discovered the mixing amongst them to be a bit clumsy.  In 2018, MyHeritage dedicated a safety breach, exposing the e-mail addresses and hashed passwords of greater than 92 million customers.

Dwelling DNA

The Living DNA test kit box
Dwelling DNA

Dwelling DNA describes itself as a “shopper family tree DNA service that doesn’t promote or share prospects’ DNA or knowledge with third events,” which supplies you a way of its priorities — or, a minimum of, its sense of consumers’ issues. LivingDNA’s headquarters within the UK might also be a consider its distinctive mission assertion, as it’s topic to the extra stringent knowledge and privateness rules of the GDPR. 

LivingDNA divides its choices another way than others. The $59 autosomal DNA package gives an outline of your ancestry in 80 geographical areas and details about maternal and paternal haplogroups and entry to the corporate’s genetic matching instrument. The $69 “wellbeing package deal” consists of studies about your physiological compatibility with nutritional vitamins, meals and train. And the $89 DNA ancestry and well-being package deal offers you all of it.

The corporate has a really restricted household match database; an organization consultant declined to provide me a particular quantity however stated that it contained lower than 1 million profiles. My spouse, who took the take a look at, returned precisely zero matches. So, in case you’re seeking to establish and make connections with family members, there are higher decisions out there. That famous, LivingDNA has a really strong popularity for each the standard of its DNA evaluation and privateness phrases amongst skilled genealogists. 

For specialists solely: Entire genome sequencing

There are a selection of corporations — together with Full Genomes, Veritas Genetics, Nebula Genomics and Dante Labs — that may sequence all your DNA, in any other case often known as your genome. This degree of study is suitable for superior customers solely. Not solely is it costly — these exams can run into the hundreds of {dollars}, in some instances — it requires a complicated understanding of each genetics and a spread of technical instruments required to discover and interpret your outcomes. 

The least costly complete genome exams price about $300. For instance, Full Genome’s 30X take a look at — which scans each focused location of your genome 30 instances on common — is taken into account the usual for a medical evaluation. It prices $799.

For most individuals, the principle rationale for sequencing the entire genome is to dive deep into your genetic well being outlook. You may glean your private danger components for illnesses, drug sensitivities and your standing as a provider; that’s, what you may go on to your youngsters. All of those efforts may also be undertaken — to a much less intense diploma — with a number of the extra inexpensive choices outlined above. However complete genome sequencing gives a considerably extra complete, correct and high-resolution evaluation. 

If you wish to dip your toe into this realm. you may need to begin with Nebula Genomics. You may as well upload an existing DNA sequence from Ancestry or 23andMe’s DNA database and get Nebula’s studies at a diminished value. 

DNA exams we might keep away from


HomeDNA sells testing kits below a lot of manufacturers, together with DNA Origins, and has a retail presence at Walmart, CVS, Ceremony Support and Walgreens. The corporate presents a spread of ancestry testing companies beginning at $69 for the maternal and paternal lineage kits. The “Starter Ancestry Test,” which makes use of DNA markers to develop an estimate of your origins in Europe, Indigenous America, East Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa — and exhibits you the trendy inhabitants teams that share your DNA. The $124 “Superior Ancestry Test” expands the evaluation to 80,000 autosomal genetic markets, 1,000 reference populations and 41 gene swimming pools. 

I will notice that the HomeDNA take a look at package contained no warning about not consuming or consuming for any time period previous to taking the take a look at — not like each different package I used. And of the 4 swabs the corporate despatched, one broke. The take a look at package simply did not appear as rigorously hygienic because the others.

This firm would not have a sterling popularity within the genetic family tree world. Once we just lately spoke with Debbie Kennett, a genetic genealogist from College Faculty London, she referenced the corporate’s notoriety for delivering “weird outcomes” and expressed doubt in regards to the efficacy of its specialised exams for explicit ethnic teams. HomeDNA didn’t reply to ClassyBuzz’s inquiry about its testing course of or outcomes.

HomeDNA studies do not stack up significantly effectively towards these returned by different corporations. Outcomes are summarized on a single webpage, although you additionally get a PDF that certifies that you’ve got “undergone DNA testing” and exhibits the continents and nations the place your DNA originates. HomeDNA doesn’t supply entry to any matching databases — so there is not any apparent subsequent step or any actionable knowledge that comes along with your outcomes. Given this, I might suggest selecting a special DNA testing service. 

African Ancestry

Claiming to have essentially the most complete database of African lineages, African Ancestry guarantees to hint its prospects’ ancestry again to a particular nation and establish their “ethnic group origin.” However a lot of skilled genealogists have cited points with this firm’s advertising and marketing claims and science. 

In contrast to most different corporations, African Ancestry would not supply an autosomal DNA take a look at. As a substitute, it presents an mtDNA take a look at or a Y-DNA take a look at (for males solely). In distinction to your normal DNA evaluation, African Ancestry’s report would not present the proportion of DNA that is more likely to have originated throughout a spread of areas. As a substitute, African Ancestry claims to hint your DNA to a particular area of Africa. 

Based on specialists, nevertheless, African Ancestry’s DNA exams come up brief. As defined in a blog post by African American genetic genealogist Shannon Christmas, the corporate’s methodology merely would not analyze a ample variety of DNA markers to ship on its advertising and marketing guarantees. 

Moreover, he writes, “Ethnicity is a fancy idea, an idea not as rooted in genetics as it’s in sociopolitical and cultural constructs. There isn’t a DNA take a look at that may assign anybody to an African ethnic group or what some confer with as an ‘African tribe.'” African Ancestry is not the one firm that claims to have the ability to decide your ethnicity or “ethnic group of origin.” However its declare to slender issues all the way down to a single “tribe” of origin is overblown, as any African tribe would ostensibly include a number of haplogroups. 

In an electronic mail to ClassyBuzz, African Ancestry responded: “African Ancestry makes it clear that ethnic teams are social and cultural groupings, not genetic ones. Nonetheless, based mostly on intensive genetic analysis of African lineages carried out by African Ancestry’s co-founder and Scientific Director (who holds a Ph.D. in Biology and makes a speciality of human genetics), we discover that opposite to laymen’s beliefs, there are ethnic teams that share genetic lineages. Our outcomes pinpoint genetic lineages that share the identical genetics as our take a look at takers. Given the huge variety of lineages in our African Lineage Database, we’re in a position to present the ethnic teams of the individuals with that shared lineage.”

The corporate’s PatriClan Test analyzes eight Y-chromosome STRs and the YAP, which it says is a important identifier for African lineages; and the MatriClan Test analyzes three areas of the mitochondrial DNA: HVS1, HVS2 and HVS3. However although these exams supply lower-resolution outcomes than others, African Ancestry’s companies are significantly dearer. The corporate’s Y-DNA take a look at and mtDNA exams price $299 every — or you may take them each, and get an eight-pack of “certificates of ancestry” and a four-pack of t-shirts, for $729. 

On the plus aspect, African Ancestry says that it doesn’t keep a database of buyer info and that it’s going to not share or promote your DNA sequence or markers with any third celebration — together with regulation enforcement businesses. The corporate’s phrases and situations run to only over 2,200 phrases, making them significantly extra concise than the disclosure statements of most different corporations we included on this roundup. And African Ancestry guarantees to destroy your DNA pattern after your take a look at outcomes are delivered.

How we selected the most effective DNA exams

We did numerous analysis into the DNA testing market, addressing every choice based mostly on its value, database measurement and the depth of their choices. We additionally famous their methodologies and popularity. We additionally famous extra components resembling household matching and privateness insurance policies.

What does a DNA take a look at let you know?

In the event you’re utilizing a house DNA testing service, you are probably wanting for one in all three issues:

Ancestry and household historical past: The primary large draw of a full DNA take a look at is that you’re going to get an in depth breakdown on ancestry and ethnicity, and the migration patterns of your frequent ancestors. Spoiler alert: Your ethnic background could also be radically totally different than you assume it’s. You may additionally discover out what a haplogroup is. Relative identification: Along with your permission, some DNA companies will allow you to join with family members you by no means knew you had — people with matching DNA who’ve used the service and likewise given their permission to connect with attainable relations.  Well being and illness data: DNA testing may point out which situations for which you might have a preponderance. It is a controversial function, to make certain. Figuring out that you’ve got a genetic predisposition to a sure type of most cancers might make you extra vigilant for testing, however it might additionally result in elevated stress — worrying a few potential well being situation that will by no means develop, even in case you’re “genetically vulnerable” to it. The potential for false positives and false negatives abound — any such info ought to be mentioned along with your physician earlier than you act upon it.

How DNA exams work

Afraid of needles and drawing blood? Excellent news: That is not a problem with the most effective DNA exams. All you should do is spit right into a vial or rub a swab in your mouth — all of the genetic knowledge wanted for these exams is current in your saliva — and ship the DNA pattern to the corporate for evaluation. 

The explanation {that a} saliva pattern works in addition to blood (or hair follicles or pores and skin samples) is that your DNA — which is brief for deoxyribonucleic acid — is current in all of them. It is the fundamental genetic code current in all your cells that makes up your key attributes, from the colour of your eyes to the form of your ears to how vulnerable you’re to ldl cholesterol.

The important thing phrases you should know when evaluating DNA testing companies are:

SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism): Genotyping is completed by measuring genetic variation. One of many extra frequent is SNP genotyping, which measures the variations of a single nucleotide polymorphism. The extra of those an organization measures, the extra granular the evaluation. Autosomal DNA testing: An autosomal take a look at that is efficient for males and ladies, and which traces lineage again by means of each maternal and paternal bloodlines. Y-DNA: The Y-DNA take a look at can solely be administered to males, and traces DNA again by means of the patrilineal ancestry — principally from father to grandfather to nice grandfather and so on. mtDNA: The mtDNA is matrilineal and enables you to hint your ancestry again by means of your mom, grandmother, nice grandmother and so on.

What are the three foremost varieties of DNA testing? 

There are three varieties of DNA exams — every with its personal explicit strengths, limitations and rationales.

An autosomal DNA take a look at is the most effective funding for most newbies; it might probably establish family members between 5 and seven generations again, throughout each maternal and paternal traces.Solely males can successfully use a Y-DNA take a look at, which identifies male family members on the paternal line reaching again 60,000 years. In the event you’re seeking to hint the historical past of your loved ones’s surname, that is the take a look at to make use of.Mitochondrial DNA testing, also called mtDNA testing, can decide genetic relationships on a maternal line from as much as 150,000 years in the past; each males and ladies can take any such take a look at.

Every testing firm will provide you with an evaluation of your DNA take a look at outcomes. These outcomes might embody your geographical origin — some declare to have the ability to pinpoint a particular nation, city and even “tribe” — in addition to your genetic ancestry composition and your susceptibility to explicit genetic illnesses. We should always notice that these exams do not serve a diagnostic goal. A physician-administered genetic take a look at and a follow-up with a genetic counselor is essential in case you assume you will have a genetic illness. No on-line testing firm providing outcomes from a saliva pattern can substitute for a well being take a look at administered by your physician. 

Sure corporations may even serve up “matches” from their DNA databases, which will provide you with a head begin on connecting with attainable family members and supply a point of family-tree analysis help. AncestryDNA, for instance, presents a subscription service that features entry to a whole lot of databases containing delivery, demise and marriage bulletins, census paperwork, newspaper archives and different historic data.

Some DNA corporations promote exams designed for particular ethnicities or specialised kits that declare to make clear your optimum skincare routine or weight; others supply exams designed to establish the genetic make-up of your cat or canine. (Sure, you will get a canine DNA take a look at.) The specialists I spoke to have been doubtful of the efficacy and worth of those exams, nevertheless, and really helpful avoiding them.

DNA testing FAQs

Can I take advantage of a DNA take a look at to find out paternity?

Sure, DNA exams are the most accurate way to find out paternity of a kid. Samples should be collected from each the kid and suspected mum or dad to make a dedication. For the most effective accuracy, you want a take a look at that particularly checks for paternity not simply ancestry.

Can I get a DNA take a look at for my canine?

Sure. A number of corporations promote canine DNA exams with the objective of serving to you identify the breed of your animal and display screen for attainable genetic well being points. 

Three well-liked manufacturers are Wisdom Panel (for each canines and cats), Embark (for canines solely), and Basepaws (for cats solely).

More DNA recommendation

David Gewirtz contributed to this story. The present model is a serious replace of previous revisions and consists of hands-on impressions of many of the companies listed.

The data contained on this article is for instructional and informational functions solely and isn’t supposed as well being or medical recommendation. At all times seek the advice of a doctor or different certified well being supplier relating to any questions you might have a few medical situation or well being goals.

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