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Family Tree DNA Review

Thursday, December 3rd

2020 DNA Testing Kit Reviews

Family Tree DNA Review 3 Star Rating

Family Tree DNA

3 Star Rating
  • Cost: $59 for Family Finder
  • From $169 to $359 for yDNA
  • From $89 to $149 for mtDNA
  • $649 for Comprehensive Genome

As the partner company for the National Geographic's genographic research project, FamilyTreeDNA enjoys a reputation as a well-respected company for DNA testing, for purposes of studying family history. The tests they offer go much more in-depth than most services that help users look into their genetic ancestry.

FamilyTreeDNA has tests in three primary categories:

  • mtDNA: This traces a subject's maternal ancestry by exploring mitochondrial DNA. It can be used to determine if two people are siblings.
  • yDNA: This is offered only for males, because it traces genetic links through paternal DNA (i.e. the y-chromosome).
  • Family Finder: This test provides an in-depth report of where one's ancestors came from geographically, and allows users to make connections with other tested relatives in their database
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Of all the tests offered by FamilyTreeDNA, the Family Finder is the most popular. It gives you a percentage breakdown of your ancestral background and allows you to connect to their database of other users. The price of this test has gone down significantly over the past few years; at the time of our review, it had dropped from the original price of $99 to an everyday price of $59.

If you prefer to analyze your genetic makeup more closely, specifically delving into information that can only be accessed through your mother or through your father, you'll want to take a look at the mtDNA and yDNA tests. FamilyTreeDNA offers various packages that combine these types of inquiry; the higher the price of the test, the more genetic markers the test will cover. These too allow for connecting with their databases and finding relatives, as well as joining group projects and working with experts in a particular lineage.

One of the few drawbacks we identified with FamilyTreeDNA is the relatively small database. They don't publish the actual number of records they maintain, but in digging around we were able to determine that it's likely less than a million. Compared with other services currently available - that can have as many as six times that amount - these DNA tests may give you much more detailed information, but fewer people with whom it may connect you.

For that reason, FamilyTreeDNA remains in the middle of the pack with respect to DNA testing. They offer a depth of testing for ancestry purposes that can't be matched by most services, but it will cost you. And, with fewer available connections once those tests are completed, FamilyTreeDNA can't compete with some of the bigger names on the market.

Who Has the Best DNA Tests?

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.

The Best DNA Testing Kits Compare DNA Testing Kits Compare DNA Testing Kit Reviews What are the best DNA Testing Kits Best DNA Testing Kit Reviews

DNA Testing Kit FAQ

The two most common reasons for testing DNA are to determine one's ancestry and to identify underlying health conditions or predispositions. DNA testing may also be done to determine a child's paternity or detect infidelity.
Fortunately, no. A simple cheek swab or vial of saliva that can be returned by mail is usually all that's required.
That depends on the testing service you select. Some companies deliver your results in 1-4 weeks, while others have been known to take a month or longer.
Not necessarily. You'll probably pay somewhere between $59 and $649, depending on how comprehensive your selected test is.
Most of the time, no. DNA test kit prices usually include the cost of delivering the test to your home or office, the return shipping fees to the lab, and the cost of analyzing your sample.
DNA testing protocols are constantly evolving, especially with respect to tracking one's ancestry. Many of the companies use the company Helix to sequence your DNA. The individual companies are then responsible for interpreting the DNA results. You will see some differences between the different testing providers. Also, you may also want to share your results with your healthcare provider, so he or she can confirm any of the health-related results and request additional testing as needed.
Possibly, but that will depend on several factors. Not only will your relatives have to choose the same DNA testing platform as you, but both of you will have to set your account permissions to show DNA matches and to allow messages. That being said, thousands of people have connected with previously-unknown family members using many of today's most popular DNA testing providers.
That's an important question. Most DNA testing services promise to maintain your privacy by requiring your consent to share your results for matching or research purposes. You'll have to determine your own risk tolerance when it comes to concerns about data breaches, court subpoenas, and other ways your data could be accessed.
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Continued from above...

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:

  • Focus. Does the company offer DNA tests primarily for genealogy purposes, health testing, or paternity? Can you get a comprehensive test for multiple purposes (like ancestry and health background)?
  • Price. DNA testing fluctuates in price, with fees ranging from less than $50 to well over $500. Because these services have become more popular recently, you may be able to find promotions and discounts at certain times of the year.
  • Results. Have people used this service and been satisfied with the information received? If you're using a DNA test to explore your family history, how well does the company connect people with living relatives? (In other words, how big is their database of users who want to share their information with blood relations?)
  • Reputation. Does the company have a good track record for accurate testing and protection of privacy?

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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