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It seems like everywhere you look these days, there are companies offering DNA Testing. The largest consumers of these DNA tests are people who want to connect with their heritage and/or living relatives, or who are hoping to gain insights into medical conditions and inherited medical predispositions that might affect their health.
Other reasons why people might want a DNA Test include establishing paternity of a child, identifying inherited traits, and detection of infidelity. But no matter the reason, one thing's for sure: DNA Testing has exploded in popularity as its reliability and usefulness continues to grow.
Sunday, January 23rd
23andMe is one of the few DNA Testing companies that offers both health and genealogy insights. In addition to connecting with relatives and understanding your ancestry, you can also get more information about your genetic sensitivities to environmental factors and inherited traits. All of the tests conducted by 23andMe use FDA-approved processes, giving you an excellent overall value for what you spend. They earn our top ranking among companies offering DNA testing.
Ancestry is the absolute top service for DNA testing for customers who want to learn more about their family history and connect with living relatives. Adding a paid membership allows you to easily connect with historical records and confirm family relationships, but no subscription is necessary to submit a DNA test and be matched (if you choose) with other people's DNA results. You won't find any health testing in this basic DNA test, but if your focus is on finding your roots, Ancestry should be your first choice.
MyHeritage is one of the newer genealogy-focused DNA testing services on the market, but the company does have a very strong reputation and history as a genealogy website. Their DNA database includes just over one million members for comparison, if you're looking to match with relatives, and MyHeritage does allow you to upload data from other testing companies. This service isn't as robust as some, but the price is right for a beginner estimate of your genetic heritage.
For people whose roots are probably in the UK, Living DNA offers the deepest look into their ancestry. Their DNA testing breaks down results into 80 world regions, with more than 20 in the British Isles alone. The test is spendy but more in-depth than most genealogy DNA testing services, and the company is planning to allow users to connect with relatives in the near future.
FamilyTreeDNA specializes in ancestry-focused DNA testing and offers a much deeper level of exploration (specifically with mother- and father-specific tests). But, with a smaller database than many services offering family tree connections, and no tests for those who are trying to determine paternity or check for a health condition, FamilyTreeDNA's higher-priced DNA tests may not meet everyone's needs.
American Screening Corporation has been in business for many years and has a very positive reputation. Their primary DNA testing is for paternity, infidelity, and siblingship. Unfortunately, ASC's website is very hard to use, product information is unclear, and getting help from live support was unsatisfying at best.
HomeDNA offers a basic cheek-swab DNA test to help you analyze your ancestry. Although their test is cheaper than some, you get what you pay for: in this case, not much. HomeDNA's results are much less specific than the competition, and you have no way of connecting with other users who've used their service. You'll definitely get more detailed DNA information using a different company in our review.
It's important to point out that, as a consumer industry, these DNA tests and the results that come from them are still an emerging science. This is especially true when it comes to testing for ancestry, where one's results are best considered a probability estimate and not an absolute conclusion. For example, you could have a DNA test done today that shows your heritage as 60% British Isles and 40% Eastern Europe, but re-running the same test in five years could show a slightly different balance as more people are tested and the estimates become more accurate.
Similarly, testing done to determine DNA traits and predispositions for medical conditions should be taken as one piece of the puzzle, not a foregone conclusion. Most experts recommend discussing these results with your doctor or a geneticist before making any drastic changes or coming to any written-in-stone conclusions regarding your future health.
On the other hand, DNA testing has been highly accurate when determining parentage. False positives are rare: if your test shows that Person X is the father of a particular child, those results are very likely to stand up in court.
There are many different companies offering DNA testing today, so it's important to know which ones offer the service you need before you purchase a home test kit. As you consider which company to use, you should keep in mind the following criteria:
TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best DNA Testing companies available today. We hope these reviews help you find the DNA information you're looking for!
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