Finest DNA Check for 2023: AncestryDNA vs. 23andMe and Extra

All it takes is an easy at-home DNA check and you’ll study all about your ancestry, medical predispositions, bodily situation and extra. It is by no means been simpler or extra inexpensive to attempt one out when you’re curious. There are a number of totally different DNA assessments on the market proper now that may train you all about your genetics with out even having to go to a physician’s workplace. Under, we’ll break down one of the best DNA check choices in the marketplace so you will discover the one that can work finest for you. 

Although it is a thorny and controversial matter, some assessments additionally declare to disclose your “ethnicity.” There are additionally DNA check companies that may make clear your genetic predisposition for ailments and physiological traits, ranging out of your eye shade to your tolerance for cilantro. 

Whereas they used to value about $1,000 again within the 2000s, now you can get a classy DNA knowledge evaluation of your genetic make-up for a fraction of that worth, because of trailblazers resembling 23andMe and Ancestry, and upstarts like Residing DNA

There are three kinds of DNA assessments — every with its personal specific strengths, limitations and rationales.

  • An autosomal DNA check is one of the best funding for many newbies; it will probably determine family members between 5 and 7 generations again, throughout each maternal and paternal traces.
  • Solely males can successfully use a Y-DNA check, which identifies male family members on the paternal line reaching again 60,000 years. Should you’re seeking to hint the historical past of your loved ones’s surname, that is the check to make use of.
  • Mitochondrial DNA testing, often known as mtDNA testing, can decide genetic relationships on a maternal line from as much as 150,000 years in the past; each women and men can take any such check.

Every testing firm gives you an evaluation of your DNA check 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 specific genetic ailments. We should always observe that these assessments do not serve a diagnostic objective. A physician-administered genetic check and a follow-up with a genetic counselor is essential when you suppose you could have a genetic illness. No on-line testing firm providing outcomes from a saliva pattern can substitute for a well being check administered by your physician. 

Sure firms will even serve up “matches” from their DNA databases, which gives you a head begin on connecting with potential family members and provide a point of family-tree analysis assist. AncestryDNA, for instance, provides a subscription service that features entry to tons of of databases containing start, dying and marriage bulletins, census paperwork, newspaper archives and different historic information.

Some DNA firms promote assessments designed for particular ethnicities or specialised kits that declare to make clear your optimum skincare routine or weight; others provide assessments designed to determine the genetic make-up of your cat or canine. (Sure, you will get a canine DNA check.) The specialists I spoke to have been doubtful of the efficacy and worth of those assessments, nonetheless, and really helpful avoiding them.

Although there isn’t any blood concerned with trendy DNA testing — you both swab the within of your cheek or fill a small check tube together with your saliva — there are many causes to be cautious of the businesses that promote these kits. Your success in DNA check family tree is basically depending on supplying extremely private details about your self and your family members, out of your genetic knowledge to your mom’s maiden identify (a standard cornerstone of password safety).

Considerations over knowledge privateness and safety are well-founded, and specialists warn that regulation, particularly within the US, lags far behind the know-how. You also needs to know that some DNA testing firms could share knowledge with pharmaceutical firms and regulation enforcement businesses. Backside line: Suppose critically earlier than volunteering details about your well being historical past and familial connections to any DNA testing firm or group. 

Learn extra: Within the Future, Not Even Your DNA Might be Sacred

DNA testing, and family tree extra broadly, entails an advanced combination of genetics, chances and guesswork. The varied DNA testing companies use totally different labs, algorithms, gear and standards to research your genetic materials. Though you must count on a point of overlap between analyses from totally different firms, they might differ considerably. There’s additionally a component of important mass — the bigger the corporate’s database, the bigger the pattern they use to research your outcomes, and the extra correct your check outcome needs to be. 

We tried a number of the prime DNA testing companies, assessing the breadth and depth of their choices, methodologies, fame and worth. Check out our suggestions beneath.


Based in 2006, 23andMe is without doubt one of the pioneers of DNA testing for shoppers. In 2017 it turned the primary such service to win the FDA’s approval as a threat screener for ailments. It has change into one of the crucial well-known DNA testing firms — and well-funded, since taking in a $300 million stake from GlaxoSmithKline, which makes use of the corporate’s buyer knowledge to analysis and design new medication. Nonetheless, the corporate lately introduced a spherical of layoffs, citing a slowdown within the DNA testing market probably brought on by growing considerations about privateness.

23andMe segments its evaluation into three predominant classes — well being, ancestry and traits. The primary ancestry and traits check 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 decide in, the corporate’s match database — which has greater than 10 million profiles — will determine and provide to attach you with individuals who share a DNA match with you.

The corporate’s DNA well being check provides details about your genetic predisposition for late-onset Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and different ailments. The service additionally consists of evaluation of your provider standing as a possible genetic provider for issues like Cystic Fibrosis and Sickle Cell Anemia in addition to indicators for lactose intolerance and different “wellness” points. The Premium Membership bundle supplies precedence lab processing, premium buyer assist and a personalised walkthrough of your outcomes. 

I discovered 23andMe’s web site and cellular app very simple to navigate and brimming with attention-grabbing, understandable details about each my ancestry and well being in addition to the science of genetics and family tree. The principle dashboard provides intuitive hyperlinks to exploring your ancestry, studying concerning the genetic dangers for well being circumstances, constructing out a household tree and connecting with family members. Amongst the entire DNA assessments I attempted, 23andMe delivered one of the best introduction to my latest and historical family tree together with an evaluation of my genetic well being. The one actual disadvantage is that it doesn’t provide built-in entry to historic paperwork.

23andMe does present easy accessibility to a full vary of privateness preferences and consent choices, nonetheless. (That famous, 23andMe’s phrases of service and privateness assertion is among the many most intensive, exceeding 20,000 phrases.) You’ll be able to 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.

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

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Based in Utah within the Nineties, — the father or mother firm of AncestryDNA — began out as a publishing and family tree firm. Since then, it has had a considerably tumultuous company existence, having been purchased, offered, publicly traded after which bought by personal fairness teams.

The corporate’s primary DNA package service supplies you with an “ethnicity estimate” derived from its proprietary sequencing methods. It is noteworthy that the corporate’s genetic testing, which is outsourced to Quest Diagnostics, is distinct from most different firms that use paternal Y chromosome and/or maternal mitochondrial DNA methodologies, and fewer is understood concerning the specific standards it makes use of. 

That famous, AncestryDNA says its database accommodates greater than 18 million profiles, making it the most important of the entire DNA check package companies. The corporate additionally maintains a strong instrument for looking out by way of tons of 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 information website run by the Mormon church.

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

AncestryDNA provides a personalised well being report with “actionable insights,” entry to genetic counseling assets, an internet instrument that can assist you map your loved ones’s well being over generations and a next-generation sequencing service for screening your genetic threat for coronary heart illness, some cancers and blood issues. Nonetheless, the outcomes usually are not diagnostic — although the check outcome have to be accredited by one of many firm’s physicians — and the service doesn’t have FDA approval. For now, 23andMe maintains the benefit in the case of 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.

AncestryDNA permits you to obtain your full DNA outcomes profile and add the uncooked knowledge into different instruments, and it supplies moderately good management over your privateness preferences, although the choices usually are not as granular as others. 

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


Based in 2000, FamilyTreeDNA provides a complete suite of stories and interactive instruments to research your DNA and construct a household tree. With a reputable declare to “the world’s most complete DNA matching database,” FamilyTreeDNA provides all three kinds of assessments — autosomal DNA, Y-DNA and mtDNA. And it is the only real 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, although its testing package is presently on sale for much less. The check outcomes present details about your ethnic and geographic origins, identifies potential family members and provides entry to the corporate’s huge DNA database. I paid $275 for a broad DNA check that included evaluation of my mtDNA and Y-DNA — assessments that presently value $159 and $119, respectively, once you purchase them individually — in addition to the “Household Finder,” the corporate’s $79 autosomal check.

Although the person interface is a little more difficult than what you may discover on different websites, FamilyTreeDNA supplies probably the most full suite of introductory instruments of any supplier I examined. For every sort of check, you’re introduced with matches — I acquired greater than 22,000 for my autosomal DNA check — a chromosome browser, migration maps, haplogroups and connections to ancestral reference populations, details about mutations and a hyperlink that permits you to obtain your uncooked knowledge. Suffice to say, there are quite a few threads to tug on to study your self, your loved ones and your well being. 

FamilyTree additionally provides a lot of higher-end assessments, for these excited by digging deeper, together with a spread of Y-DNA assessments that can hint the trail of your male ancestors and the historical past of your surname. The corporate additionally permits you to add uncooked DNA knowledge information from different companies and switch your autosomal info to its database to broaden your universe of matches and relationships. 

From an information safety and privateness perspective, there are a number of issues I discover interesting about FamilyTreeDNA. 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 firms, nonetheless, FamilyTreeDNA could use your mixture genetic info for inner analysis and should adjust to requests from regulation enforcement — except you decide out. 

Different DNA testing choices

The three companies above are our prime decisions for one of the best DNA check. However they weren’t the one ones we examined. What follows are some further choices, none of which eclipsed the 23andMe, Ancestry or FamilyTreeDNA in any vital style. 


MyHeritage DNA test kit box


Based mostly 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. Over time, it acquired a lot of historic databases and finally added DNA testing in 2016. (MyHeritage outsources its DNA evaluation to FamilyTreeDNA.) In 2018, MyHeritage dedicated a safety breach, exposing the e-mail addresses and hashed passwords of greater than 92 million customers.

MyHeritage provides a free tier of service that features some primary household tree-building and entry to excerpts of historic paperwork. It will not get you too far. 

The essential DNA testing and evaluation service, which is now on sale for $36, consists of the same old fare — 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 potential. All issues thought of, I most popular FamilyTreeDNA’s presentation of my DNA info. However MyHeritage highlighted a primary cousin dwelling within the US, with whom I shared about 15% of my DNA, and supplied to point out me her household tree — if I paid a $209 annual subscription payment. 

Sure, that is costly — a free 14-day trial is out there — however the firm maintains a powerful on-line database of historic paperwork that features 3.5 billion profiles along with details about over 100 million subscribers and their collective 46 million household bushes. This monumental database is powered by, a family tree social media website that is additionally MyHeritage’s father or mother firm. In line with the New York Instances, has assembled “the world’s largest, scientifically vetted household tree.” 

In 2019, MyHeritage launched a well being check much like the one supplied 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 advocate a “genetic counseling” session administered by PWNHealth, my well being outcomes have been merely delivered together with my ancestry evaluation.

On the plus aspect, I like MyHeritage’s easy 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. Although the corporate’s providing is broad — it is one of many few to supply a complete analysis database of historic paperwork, DNA evaluation and well being screening — I discovered the combination amongst them to be a bit clumsy. 

Residing DNA

The Living DNA test kit box

Residing DNA

Residing DNA describes itself as a “shopper family tree DNA service that doesn’t promote or share clients’ DNA or knowledge with third events,” which supplies you a way of its priorities — or, at the very least, its sense of shoppers’ considerations. LivingDNA’s headquarters within the UK can also be a consider its distinctive mission assertion, as it’s topic to the extra stringent knowledge and privateness laws of the GDPR

LivingDNA divides its choices otherwise than others. The $59 autosomal DNA package supplies 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 stories 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.

Latest ancestry outcomes are introduced with a breakdown of share by nation in addition to the proportion attributable to extra detailed areas, in addition to the origin and migration path of haplogroups. In February 2020, LivingDNA launched an African Ancestry DNA check report that options knowledge on 72 areas in Africa and, in response to the corporate, “5 instances the element of another check in the marketplace.” The report is out there free of charge to present clients. 

That famous, the corporate has a very restricted household match database; an organization consultant declined to present me a particular quantity however mentioned that it contained lower than 1 million profiles. My spouse, who took the check, returned precisely zero matches. So, when you’re seeking to determine and make connections with family members, there are higher decisions out there. That famous, LivingDNA has a really stable fame for each the standard of its DNA evaluation and privateness phrases amongst skilled genealogists. 

For specialists solely: Complete genome sequencing

There are a variety of firms — together with Full Genomes, Veritas Genetics, Nebula Genomics and Dante Labs — that may sequence your entire DNA, in any other case often known as your genome. This stage of research is suitable for superior customers solely. Not solely is it costly — these assessments can run into the hundreds of {dollars}, in some circumstances — it requires a classy understanding of each genetics and a spread of technical instruments required to discover and interpret your outcomes. 

The least costly complete genome assessments value about $300. (Although it’s on sale for $99 proper now.) For instance, Full Genome’s 30X check — which scans each focused location of your genome 30 instances on common — is taken into account the usual for a scientific evaluation. It prices $799.

For most individuals, the primary rationale for sequencing the entire genome is to dive deep into your genetic well being outlook. You’ll be able to glean your private threat elements for ailments, drug sensitivities and your standing as a provider; that’s, what you would possibly move on to your youngsters. However there are additionally loads of functions for superior genealogical initiatives. 

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 supplies a considerably extra complete, correct and high-resolution evaluation. 

If you wish to dip your toe into this realm. you would possibly wish to begin with Nebula Genomics. You may also add an present DNA sequence from Ancestry or 23andMe’s DNA database and get Nebula’s stories at a diminished worth. 

DNA assessments 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 Assist and Walgreens. The corporate’s assessments declare to mix genetic analysis and “ancestral monitoring” methods that may determine the city or village the place your ancestors originated with a excessive diploma of accuracy. Many specialists dispute these claims.

The corporate provides a spread of ancestry testing companies beginning at $69. That is the worth for the maternal and paternal lineage kits and the “Starter Ancestry Check,” 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 Check” expands the evaluation to 80,000 autosomal genetic markets, 1,000 reference populations and 41 gene swimming pools. 

I am going to observe that the HomeDNA check package contained no warning about not consuming or ingesting for any time period previous to taking the check — in contrast to each different package I used. And of the 4 swabs the corporate despatched, one broke. The check package simply did not appear as rigorously hygienic because the others.

For $199, HomeDNA claims that the Asian Version of its GPS Origins Ancestry Check can analyze 17 Asia-specific gene swimming pools and tons of of Asia-specific reference populations. Along with a $164 paternity package, the corporate additionally sells quite a lot of particular kits to find out your sensitivities to specific animals and meals, one that can assist you obtain a wholesome weight, and one other that guarantees to “unlock your pores and skin’s full potential.” 

For $39, the corporate will help you add a uncooked knowledge file from one other DNA testing service and pinpoint your origin to a selected city or metropolis. There are additionally kits that can assist you display your canine or cat for genetic ailments and traits. 

However this firm does not have a sterling fame within the genetic family tree world. After we lately spoke with Debbie Kennett, a genetic genealogist from College School London, she referenced the corporate’s notoriety for delivering “weird outcomes” and expressed doubt concerning the efficacy of its specialised assessments for specific ethnic teams. HomeDNA didn’t reply to’s inquiry about its testing course of or outcomes.

And the HomeDNA stories do not stack up notably effectively in opposition to these returned by different firms. Outcomes are summarized on a single webpage, although you additionally get a PDF that certifies that you have “undergone DNA testing” and exhibits the continents and international locations the place your DNA originates. The corporate additionally throws in a boilerplate 20-page explainer about DNA science and know-how. HomeDNA doesn’t provide entry to any matching databases — so there isn’t any apparent subsequent step or any actionable knowledge that comes together with your outcomes. Given this, I would advocate selecting a unique DNA testing service. 

African Ancestry

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

In contrast to most different firms, African Ancestry does not provide an autosomal DNA check. As an alternative, it provides an mtDNA check or a Y-DNA check (for males solely). In distinction to your commonplace DNA evaluation, African Ancestry’s report does not present the proportion of DNA that is prone to have originated throughout a spread of areas. As an alternative, African Ancestry claims to hint your DNA to a particular area of Africa. 

In line with specialists, nonetheless, African Ancestry’s DNA assessments come up brief. As defined in a weblog submit by African American genetic genealogist Shannon Christmas, the corporate’s methodology merely does not analyze a adequate variety of DNA markers to ship on its advertising guarantees. 

Moreover, he writes, “Ethnicity is a posh idea, an idea not as rooted in genetics as it’s in sociopolitical and cultural constructs. There isn’t any DNA check 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 slim issues all the way down to a single “tribe” of origin is overblown, as any African tribe would ostensibly comprise a number of haplogroups. 

In an electronic mail to, African Ancestry responded: “African Ancestry makes it clear that ethnic teams are social and cultural groupings, not genetic ones. Nonetheless, primarily based 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 check takers. Given the huge variety of lineages in our African Lineage Database, we’re in a position to present the ethnic teams of the folks with that shared lineage.”

The corporate’s PatriClan Check analyzes eight Y-chromosome STRs and the YAP, which it says is a important identifier for African lineages; and the MatriClan Check analyzes three areas of the mitochondrial DNA: HVS1, HVS2 and HVS3. However although these assessments provide lower-resolution outcomes than others, African Ancestry’s companies are significantly dearer. The corporate’s Y-DNA check and mtDNA assessments value $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 preserve a database of buyer info and that it’ll not share or promote your DNA sequence or markers with any third celebration — together with regulation enforcement businesses. The corporate’s phrases and circumstances run to only over 2,200 phrases, making them significantly extra concise than the disclosure statements of most different firms we included on this roundup. And African Ancestry guarantees to destroy your DNA pattern after your check outcomes are delivered.

That mentioned, even when you settle for the corporate’s tackle tribal and ethnic genetic markers, African Ancestry stays too costly to advocate at its present worth.

What does a DNA check let you know?

Should you’re utilizing a house DNA testing service, you are probably searching for one in every of three issues:

Ancestry and household historical past: The primary large draw of a full DNA check 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 suppose 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 — folks with matching DNA who’ve used the service and likewise given their permission to hook up with potential relations. 

Well being and illness data: DNA testing also can point out which circumstances for which you could have a preponderance. It is a controversial characteristic, to make sure. Understanding that you’ve a genetic predisposition to a sure type of most cancers could make you extra vigilant for testing, however it might additionally result in elevated stress — worrying a couple of potential well being situation that will by no means develop, even when you’re “genetically vulnerable” to it. The opportunity of false positives and false negatives abound — any such info needs to be mentioned together with your physician earlier than you act upon it.

How DNA assessments work

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

The rationale {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 your entire 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 must know when evaluating DNA testing companies are:

SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism): Genotyping is finished 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 check that is efficient for women and men, and which traces lineage again by way of each maternal and paternal bloodlines.

Y-DNA: The Y-DNA check can solely be administered to males, and traces DNA again by way of the patrilineal ancestry — mainly from father to grandfather to nice grandfather and so forth.

mtDNA: The mtDNA is matrilineal and allows you to hint your ancestry again by way of your mom, grandmother, nice grandmother and so forth. 

DNA testing FAQs

Can I exploit a DNA check to find out paternity?

Sure, DNA assessments are the most correct approach to find out paternity of a kid. Samples have to be collected from each the kid and suspected father or mother to make a dedication. For one of the best accuracy, you want a check that particularly checks for paternity not simply ancestry.

Can I get a DNA check for my canine?

Sure. A number of firms promote canine DNA assessments with the aim of serving to you identify the breed of your animal and display for potential genetic well being points. 

Three in style manufacturers are Knowledge Panel (for each canines and cats), Embark (for canines solely), and Basepaws (for cats solely).

Extra 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 academic and informational functions solely and isn’t meant as well being or medical recommendation. At all times seek the advice of a doctor or different certified well being supplier concerning any questions you could have a couple of medical situation or well being aims.

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