DNA testing has really grown from only rarely done and expensive genetic testing, to a readily available and affordable home DNA testing products to discover your family tree or paternity testing. Having a sample of your saliva or a swab of cheek, a DNA testing kit helps to determine the familial origin or research ancestry and learn paternity. Also, over the last few years, the kits are now pretty inexpensive, with a broad assortment of DNA testing firms selling testing kits — from trailblazers like Ancestry and 23andMe to upstarts like LivingDNA.

You can learn a lot from DNA testing. Besides deepening your knowledge of ancestry, some services will introduce you to living relatives around the world, via a shared ancestor, or use tags to explore your predisposition to particular health problems and diseases. Others will give you insight into breed makeup and your dog’s health. Here we present our roundup of services and the nine DNA test kits — what they offer, their cost, and how they work.

DNA Testing Kits For 2020

1. Ancestry DNA

Image: USA Today

Ancestry DNA includes a vibrant community also and provides a broad assortment of family matching features, databases, and research tools. The Ancestry DNA test offers analysis sections of your DNA results. It traces its roots to 500 geographic areas throughout Europe, Africa, and Asia — the most detailed of any of the solutions we have profiled. AncestryDNA even says that it can help you learn 26 traits and attributes you’ve received from your predecessors.

Ancestry manages a free family tree search tool, and you can append your specific results to this database. You can even download your complete DNA profile and import that information into a different tool — but Ancestry does not provide a chromosome browser, so you cannot make DNA segment matches. Ancestry DNA stores result forever.

  • Cost: $99 (plus $9.95 shipping)
  • Tests: Autosomal
  • Match Database: 15 million
  • Autosomal SNPs analyzed: 650,000

2. 23andMe

Named for the 23 chromosomes recognized in human cells, 23andMe provides a battery of tests, including some that examine health risks like Alzheimer’s disease and Type 2 diabetes. (It was these tests that drawn consideration from the FDA.)

Image: 23andMe

23andMe scores points for the extent of its medical tests, as well as the size of its match database. Purchasers of the DNA kit should mention that the basic DNA test is $99, but medical results cost another $99.

The added expense may be well worth the money; the extra information includes health reports, genetic health risk information, trait reports, and carrier status reports, which indicate whether a specific DNA profile could be a genetic carrier of a disease or disability.

Your DNA data is collected applying a saliva sample by Autosomal testing, which, once examined, is stored permanently on the servers of 23andMe. The service also offers a chromosome browser and comparison, as long as any probable matches approve your access. The matrilineal and patrilineal line testing of the service may relocate your ancestry DNA in more than 1,000 regions.

  • Cost: $99 or $199 with health information (plus $9.95 shipping)
  • Tests: Autosomal, mtDNA, Y-DNA, Health
  • Match Database: 8 million
  • Autosomal SNPs analyzed: 650,000

3. FamilyTreeDNA

FamiaAlyTreeDNA work by Houston-based genetic testing lab Gene-by- Gene. 

Image: FamilyTreeDNA

FamilyTreeDNA offers a wide assortment of tests. The fundamental autosomal test costs $79 (plus shipping) and conducted using a swab test sample of your cheek cells. You may add markers and sequences, and your father’s line and mother’s line evaluations, but that will step up the cost considerably.

If you’re interested in performing in-depth investigation, the FamilyTreeDNA provides a chromosome browser, provides raw data to be submitted, grants support for setting distinct segment matching thresholds, and allows up to five comparisons to performed simultaneously. FamilyTreeDNA enables trial transfers from 23andMe and Ancestry DNA to its DNA match database; further transfers of multiple datasets are available for a fee. FamilyTreeDNA promises to maintain data for 25 years.

  • Cost: $79 (plus $9.95 shipping)
  • Tests: Autosomal (additional evaluations, such as mitochondrial DNA testing, sold individually)
  • Match Database: 850,000
  • Autosomal SNPs analyzed: 700,000

4. HomeDNA

HomeDNA is a type of like the Walmart of DNA testing, which is somewhat appropriate given that the company’s testing kits are offer at Walmart stores with Rite Aid, CVS, and Walgreens pharmacies.

Image: HomeDNA

HomeDNA provides a range of DNA ancestry testing services that cost between $69 to $199. However the board is still out regarding the efficacy of specialization tests, HomeDNA also sells test kits to discover food and pet allergy ($99), diet and exercise plans according to your genetic makeup ($119), paternity ($164), and even skincare ($99).

Dog owners can purchase a dog DNA test that will help you determine your dog’s breed background for $125. You can also buy a $125 health screening to your cat or dog that comprises a collection of tests for genetic diseases and traits. (If you are considering a puppy DNA test for significantly less, Wisdom Health provides a puppy DNA test kit for under $80.)

Testing is done using a mouth swab. Shipping is free. And results are retained for 25 years.

  • Cost: $59 (more comprehensive tests additional)
  • Tests: Autosomal, Y-DNA
  • Match Database: None
  • Autosomal SNPs analyzed: 850,000

5. MyHeritage

Offering home DNA Testing kits and a variety of online subscription services, MyHeritage states that its database comprises more ethnicities — that is 42 — than any other major testing service. The free 14-day trial will enable you to poke around the business’s massive online DNA database that includes 3.5 billion profiles as well as information about over 100 million readers and their collective 46 million family trees.

Image: Innerbody

Starting at $79, the provider’s DNA testing kits have competitive prices and include the basics: A simple cheek swab will provide you an evaluation of your cultural origins and the identification of relatives that share your DNA. Along with MyHeritage’s free essential subscription, which will allow you to construct a family tree up to 250 people, there are different packages that accommodate more significant trees, premium DNA features, and much more robust research tools. The company enables you to upload test data from other DNA testing services.

  • Cost: $79
  • Tests: Autosomal (other evaluations sold individually)
  • Match Database: 102 million
  • Autosomal SNPs analyzed: 710,000

6. African Ancestry

African Ancestry cannot compete on cost or the size of its match database, but it does provide deep regional analysis. It is a good specialized service for people looking at exploring African ancestry.

Image: Mashable

Rather than a matching database of people, African American has the world’s biggest database of African lineages. The testing service can trace your ancestry back to an area in Africa and pinpoint its location now. It can also go deep into history and help locate original cultural groups that may date back as long as 500 years back.

But the tests can get quite pricey. The firm sells a paternal test kit and a maternal test kit for $299 each (shipping is free). If you want to trace your family back both through female and male ancestors, it is going to cost you around $600. However, for African family histories, the depth of investigation is unique among the services we profiled.

  • Cost: $299 each for matrilineal and patrilineal
  • Tests: mtDNA, Y-DNA 
  • Match Database: 33,000
  • Autosomal SNPs analyzed: NA

 7. Full Genomes

Image: Full Genomes

Full Genomes support is so expensive. It provides a payment plan. However, the service provides the most extensive library of Y-chromosome SNPs round. So in case you wish to research your history, this is the most comprehensive option available on the market. There is no family match database.

Testing is done using a cheek swab. The company charges $25 for shipping.

  • Cost: $645 (more comprehensive tests additional)
  • Tests: Autosomal, Y-DNA, mtDNA
  • Match Database: None
  • Autosomal SNPs analyzed: 71,000

8. Living DNA

Living DNA Is a UK-based genomics company that offers autosomal DNA data, in addition to a breakdown of patrilineal and matrilineal lines. DNA data is accumulated through a mouth swab.

Image: Living DNA

Living DNA includes a minimal family match database, so if you’re trying to find a service that can match you to relatives around the world, this isn’t the one for you. But Living DNA’s evaluation is very comprehensive, analyzing numerous kinds of DNA: it tests 638,000 autosomal SNPs, 22,500 Y chromosome SNPs, and 17,800 X chromosome SNPs, along with with 4,700 mitochondrial SNPs.

And the service tracks DNA to 80 geographic regions. Those with a UK family history will see a map of where maternal and paternal ancestors lived on the islands. Though we didn’t test it first hand, Living DNA says its resources permit you to upload DNA data to predict relationship matches.

  • Cost: $79
  • Tests: Autosomal, Y-DNA, mtDNA
  • Match Database: Just getting started
  • Autosomal SNPs analyzed: 638,000

9. Nebula Genomics

Nebula Genomics provides a somewhat different take on home DNA testing from the other services we’ve profiled. Even though you can order a complete test kit from the company (and you need to check to determine if they are running a cost promotion before purchasing), you may even upload an existing DNA sequence from 23andMe or Ancestry and receive Nebula’s reports at a lower price.

Image: Geneticliteracyproject

The company asserts a different approach to DNA testing. Where most DNA testing companies examine a subset of the DNA sequence, Nebula says it considers the entire DNA sequence. They examine, “1.3 billion positions and results in one thousand times more information than tests which use microarray-based genotyping.”

While the company doesn’t provide a family-finding match database, they do offer a unique art print based on your DNA. 

Of more notes is the depth of the scientific reports of the company based on your DNA sequence. The company also tests the microbiome on your mouth, providing a detailed overview of the bacteria contained inside your mouth and what it means for your overall health.

We wouldn’t necessarily suggest Nebula as your first stop in your DNA testing journey, particularly if you want to connect with your ancestors and family tree. But if you would like to dive deeper ever than 23andMe to the medical aspects of your DNA and your own personal mouth biome, Nebula is undoubtedly a fascinating choice to explore.

  • Price: $163.99 (with complete test and art print)
  • Tests: Whole Genome Sequencing
  • Match Database: not available
  • Autosomal SNPs analyzed: N/A

DNA Testing- What Do You Need To Figure Out

If you’re using a home DNA testing service, you are probably looking for one of three things:

1. Ancestry And family history

The first major draw of a complete DNA test is you will find a detailed breakdown of ancestry and ethnicity, as well as the migration patterns of your common ancestors. Spoiler alert: Your background might be different than you think it is. You’ll also learn what there a haplogroup is.

2. Relative Identification

With your permission, some DNA service providers will allow you to associate with relatives you never knew you had — other people with matching DNA who’ve used the service and likewise given their consent to connect to possible relations.

3. Disease or Health Information

DNA testing may also indicate that conditions for which you might have a preponderance. It is a controversial feature, to be sure. Knowing that you have a genetic predisposition to a specific kind of cancer can make you more vigilant for testing, but it might also result in increased anxiety — worrying about a possible health condition that may never develop, even when you’re “genetically susceptible” to it. Before you act upon it — some information ought to be discussed with your physician the possibility of false negatives, and false positives abound.

How Does A DNA Test Work

Afraid of needles and drawing blood? That’s no problem with these kits that all involve either a little bit of spit or a swab test. All you will need to do is spit into a vial or rub on a swab in your mouth — all the genetic data necessary for these tests is present in your saliva — and send the DNA sample for analysis into the company.

The reason that a saliva sample works and blood (or skin samples or hair follicles) is that your DNA — which is short for deoxyribonucleic acid — exist in all of them. It’s the underlying genetic code present in each one of your cells that constitutes key attributes, from the color of your eyes to the shape of your ears to how susceptible you are to cholesterol.

The key terms you will need to be aware of when comparing DNA testing services are:

SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism): Genotyping is carried out by measuring genetic variation. Among the more common is SNP genotyping, which includes the differences in single nucleotide polymorphism.

Autosomal DNA testing: An autosomal test could be administered to both women and men, and traces the lineage back, through both the maternal and paternal bloodlines.

Y-DNA: The Y-DNA test can only be administered to men, and traces of DNA back through the patrilineal ancestry (mostly from father to grandfather to great-grandfather).

mtDNA: The mtDNA is matrilineal and allows you to trace your ancestry back through a great grandmother, grandmother, and your mother.

Autosomal tests can get you quality information going about four or five generations back. Since the Y-DNA and mtDNA tests are more focused on one side of the line, you can get information going back farther, but with fewer data about family structure.

Four Important Caveats

Before you use any of the services we’ve highlighted below, some keep these elements in mind.
1. Check Database Size:

If you’re searching for living relatives, this is vital. To put it simply, the larger the available pool of data, the higher the chance you will have of finding a match.

2. Privacy Concerns:

Nothing is more personal than your health data, and that’s the reason why you need to make sure a prospective DNA testing website follows the identical best-practice online security protocols you would expect from the from your bank or email provider. You will want to search for two-way authentication, an encrypted password table, and so on.

But for home DNA testing providers, you also need to investigate they maintain the information – even if anonymously– and how they are sharing your data.  Don’t expect accuracy. Testing kits can provide you signs, but taking a DNA test with these testing services will not magically create a history book of your family’s background.

3. Consult a physician on any health information:

Heart disease. Leukemia. Cancer. Alzheimer’s disease. There are a lot of scary afflictions out there, and your home DNA testing kits might indicate which ones to which you are predisposition. But the data tags of home DNA testing kits exist separately. You should consult with your physician to explore the data. They will help you determine the best way to perform any lifestyle alterations or followup testing as a consequence if it’s worth doing so.

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