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23 and Me vs Family Tree DNA

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23 AND ME

23andMe is one of the only DNA testing services that offers one-stop shopping for both health and ancestry information, giving customers insights into their family background, inherited traits, and possible health predispositions.

All it takes is a simple saliva sample, and 23andMe does the rest. They generate a total of up to 60 reports, depending on whether you choose just the ancestry test or both health and ancestry. Results come via email in about 6-8 weeks, and can include the following:

  • Ancestry: Composition, Maternal/Paternal Lineage, Neanderthal, in a total of 3 reports or more
  • Traits: Tendencies like taste preferences, likelihood of adult hair loss, and others, in a total of 19 reports or more
  • Wellness: Muscle Composition, Alcohol Flush Reaction, Lactose Intolerance, and at least two other reports that help people make better-informed decisions about health habits
  • Carrier Status: Determine if the subject is a carrier for genetic conditions like Hereditary Hearing Loss, Cystic Fibrosis, Sickle Cell Anemia, and more than 30 additional reports

If you are hoping to connect not just with your ancestral background but also with living relatives, 23andMe has a strong database with over 3 million customers worldwide. You may find hundreds of relatives you never knew about, and 23andMe will tell you how you are likely related (third cousins, fifth cousins, and so on). 23andMe is committed to maintaining your privacy, so your results are only shared and viewable if you give your explicit consent. You can also opt to provide your results for research purposes, but there's no requirement to do so.

The regular price for the Ancestry testing is $99, while the Health & Ancestry kit is $199. We found frequent promotions, especially around holidays like Mother's Day, Christmas, and New Year's. These sales included discounts of up to $20 per kit, buy-two-get-one-free, and buy-two-and-save-20%. Shipping is typically $9.95 per kit.

Whether you're looking for insights into your ancestry, your medical conditions, or a connection with your roots and living relatives, 23andMe is the most comprehensive, affordable service currently available. They earn our top ranking among companies offering DNA Testing.

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FAMILY TREE DNA

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

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.

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Best DNA Testing

To help you find the Best DNA Testing, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of 23 and Me and Family Tree DNA.

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.

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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