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Direct-to-consumer DNA testing has exploded over the last decade. From popular TV shows that document the ancestry of celebrities to clickbait articles describing the latest "she almost married her long-lost brother!" scandal prevented by a DNA test, it seems like everyone is pretty familiar with the appeal and power of these kits.
There are three main reasons why people buy a DNA test these days. The most common is to explore their heritage. Am I really related to royalty? Did my great-great-grandparents actually come from a small town in Italy? DNA tests can often reveal the answers to such questions. These tests also help people connect with living relatives, from distant cousins overseas to half-siblings and even previously-unknown parents.
Thursday, February 9th
Whether you want an extensive look at your DNA for health reasons or for tracing your ancestry and connecting with living relatives, 23andMe is your best choice. You'll be blown away by the 150+ reports available through their Health + Ancestry service, or even the 80+ reports with the Ancestry + Traits kit. 23andMe is committed to your wellness with ongoing research and frequent updates to your profile, adding new information several times a year. And, with more than 10 million people in their DNA network, you should have no trouble finding family members around the world. 23andMe continues to earn our highest recommendation for DNA testing kits.
If your priority is connecting with your ancestry and living relatives, Ancestry should be your first choice among DNA tests. With nearly 20 million people in their DNA network, this platform offers your best chance of making a connection with others in your family tree. You'll have to pay extra if you want to access historical records or use Ancestry's other services, but you can still get plenty out of Ancestry with just your DNA test and their family tree tools. Pay a little more and you'll also get results for 35+ traits (but no in-depth health information or recommendations). Ancestry is the DNA testing kit of choice for anyone who wants to learn more about their roots.
MyHeritage has grown since our last review, expanding their DNA testing database from one million to over five million individuals. You can choose to buy just the kit and your results or get a 30-day trial of their Complete membership that gives you access to more family tree features and some impressive photo tools for colorizing and even animating your old black-and-whites. There are no health and wellness options here, but MyHeritage is still a good option if you're mostly interested in your ancestry and living relatives around the world.
For under $100, myDNA can give you health and wellness insights about 30+ traits: how you metabolize caffeine, how quickly you recover after an injury, and much more. You'll even get customized meal and workout plans based on your DNA results, all accessed through an easy-to-use smartphone app. Although this service doesn't provide any DNA test kits that explore ancestry, myDNA is a fantastic choice if you want gene-based recommendations for living your best life.
Family Tree DNA has expanded its offerings since our last review, partnering with myDNA to give you health and wellness results in addition to their own ancestry service. You may be able to use FTDNA to get those results and recommendations for less money, but customer feedback indicates you won't necessarily be thrilled with the ancestry aspect of these DNA testing kits.
Living DNA offers two types of DNA test results: ancestry and wellbeing. If you have roots in the British Isles or Africa, this test may give you deeper insights than many of Living DNA's rival providers. We're less impressed with their family matching options - because their database is much, much smaller - or their wellbeing results, but many customers have good things to say about this service. We'd definitely look at other options before settling for Living DNA.
Home DNA has expanded their DNA test offerings since our last review, allowing customers to explore their maternal or paternal ancestry or to even get in-depth answers specific to their African or Asian roots. However, you'd have to buy several different kits to get both ancestry and health information here, and even then customers say the results aren't as specific as Home DNA's rivals.
Dynamic DNA Labs can give you a deeper perspective on how your genes affect your skin, nutrition, fitness, and personality. All of their health-based DNA testing kits come with customized recommendations for optimizing your wellness, from meal plans to workout routines and more. The ancestry testing here is limited, however, and customers say that even their health-related results don't provide as much insight as they expected.
American Screening Corporation offers DNA testing kits for people who are trying to prove parentage: paternity, sibling, aunt/uncle, and grandparent are the relationships that can be established here. You won't find options for tracking your family tree or determining your predisposition for gene-based health conditions. Unfortunately, more than half of the tests in ASC's inventory were out of stock at the time of our review, and an overall limited scope of DNA testing puts this company at the bottom of our rankings.
Nebula Genomics makes big promises. Full genome sequencing! Hyper-focused on privacy! Easy integration with other DNA testing services! But, when you look at recent customer feedback, it tells a different story. You could wind up spending $1,000 or more, only to never get a full analysis of your sample, have an impossible time getting customer support, or even have your DNA data sent to a third-party service in Russia. Nebula Genomics is amazing in theory but falls short in practice. Look elsewhere for DNA testing you can trust.
Most DNA testing services allow you to keep that information private, though, if you just want to see your ethnicity breakdown without disclosing yourself to any relatives who might be in their database.
The second reason many individuals choose to buy a DNA testing kit is to get information on health and wellness. Depending on the provider you choose, your results may include basic traits like cleft chin or sensitivity to caffeine, or they may go so far as to tell you if you're a carrier for certain hereditary diseases. These tests can help you be proactive with your health, give your physician more details to guide your treatment, and maybe even prolong your life.
If you've ever watched The Jerry Springer Show, you already know the third reason people buy DNA tests: to prove paternity. That's easier to do when the alleged father is a willing participant in the test, but some companies also offer sibling, half-sibling, grandparent and avuncular (such as aunt/uncle) options that can give you a percentage of likelihood that the individual is related.
You've got lots of options for DNA testing kids. Which one should you buy? These are the factors you should keep in mind as you decide:
To help you choose the right service to learn more about your health and heritage, Top Consumer Reviews has evaluated and ranked the most popular providers of DNA testing kits on the market today. We're confident that through these tests, you can discover everything you've wanted to know about your genetics!
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