Best DNA Testing
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American Screening Corporation vs Home 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.
Based in Louisiana, American Screening Corporation has been in business for over 15 years and enjoys a solid reputation as an accredited, "A+"-rated business with the Better Business Bureau. This company focuses on selling drug and medical testing and supplies directly to the consumer.
With respect to DNA, the only types of testing you'll find here are Parentage, Infidelity, and Siblingship. Most tests are completed within 5-7 business days and returned via plain envelope that has no company name or logo on the outside, to help maintain customers' privacy.
The website is outdated and not very easy to figure out. At first glance, it seems that their DNA tests are all very inexpensive, with some selling for just $1. But, when you look at the product image and description, you see that there's also a $125 lab fee. v
We tried using the live chat to get answers to our questions, especially about how much the testing costs in total and where we'd be expected to pay those additional lab fees. We were connected to a representative right away, who asked to call us on the phone. When we said that we didn't have our phone handy, she asked which product we were looking at. Although we provided that information right away, the representative never returned to the chat.
There also was a lot of missing information in American Screening Corporation's product descriptions. We got excited when we saw something that looked like it would test a dog's DNA - we could finally find out if our rescue dog indeed was part Boston Terrier! - but there was no further information when we clicked on the product.
We like that ASC has a well-established history in direct-to-consumer lab testing, including DNA tests. But, our experience with trying to place an order was confusing at best. There wasn't enough information available to be sure that we were getting the test we needed, or to know exactly how much we'd have to pay for lab processing fees. For these reasons, ASC drops a star compared with our last rating; we hope to see improvements in their online business, especially when it comes to live chat representatives and product descriptions.
HomeDNA offers a simple ancestry-focused DNA test. Purchase your kit, swab your cheek, send in your kit, and get your results in 3-4 weeks. It doesn't get much easier than that. And, with a regular price of just $69 - or even $59, with the promotion running when we purchased our kit - it's one of the most affordable DNA tests on the market. But, is it worth it?
We found our results using HomeDNA to be much less specific, and at the same time, harder to interpret. Our genetic heritage was only ranked according to four different "ancient population groups": European, East Asian, Indigenous American, and Sub-Saharan African. With a test subject whose known ancestry is almost completely European, it was no surprise to find that the test came back as 95% from that continent. Other companies' DNA tests, however, gave a much more specific breakdown: 62% British Isles, 25% Scandinavian, etc. HomeDNA almost left us with more questions than answers.
Much of what is provided on the report left us scratching our heads, asking "What does this even mean? Why do I need to know this?" Check out the sample report and see for yourself: it's the big, red button next to the Product Overview section of the homepage.
Also, HomeDNA has absolutely no connection to any kind of database, so your tests literally stop with you. Some may prefer that kind of privacy, rather than worry about their information being linked (even inadvertently) to living relatives, but most people who want an ancestral DNA test do want some way to find people they're related to.
When it comes to DNA testing, HomeDNA just doesn't have much to offer other than a vague summary of broad regions that your ancestors likely came from. We recommend you choose one of the higher-ranked DNA testing companies 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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