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Living DNA vs Home DNA

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Living DNA is based in the UK and offers DNA testing for the purpose of exploring your family history. Testing is done by a simple cheek swab, and your results take from 10-12 weeks to be delivered.

How does Living DNA measure up against other companies that offer genealogy-focused DNA testing? It depends on what you're looking for. If you want answers to health questions, like inherited diseases or traits, you won't find it here. You also won't find a database with other users, in order to connect you with relatives who have also submitted samples for testing; according to the company, that service is "coming soon". Those could be two drawbacks.

On the other hand, if you suspect (or know) that you have ancestry from the British Isles - like we do - this test could give you a much richer window into your heritage. Living DNA breaks their results down into approximately 80 regions - more than some competitor sites, fewer than at least one other - but with respect to the British Isles, they break it down into 21 separate, smaller areas. You can get probability estimates as specific as Devon, Northumbria, Northern Ireland/Southwest Scotland, and more, which is far more detailed in that part of the world than any other service.

Living DNA's testing is more expensive than most, with a regular price of $159. However, this test incorporates three separate tests in one, giving you more for your money than most of the competition: instead of just getting your basic family ancestry (autosomal), you also get an analysis along your mother's line (mtDNA) and your father's (y-DNA). With other services, you'll pay a la carte for each of those three types of testing if they're even available; many genealogy-based DNA tests only study the basic family line and don't offer mtDNA or y-DNA analysis.

At the time of our review, Living DNA was offering their test at a discounted price of $99. Shipping costs $9.95 for standard delivery (5-7 business days) and $39.95 for premium delivery (2-3 business days).

Living DNA is still expanding what they offer, and we look forward to seeing how they compare when they add the ability to connect with other users. For the time being, their service is probably best for people with a strong family history connection in the UK who want to focus in closely on their roots in that part of the world.

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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.

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Best DNA Testing

To help you find the Best DNA Testing, provides you with an in-depth comparison of Living DNA and 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.

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? 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!

DNA In The News

'We need hundreds': Fire victims' families urged to give DNA

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Authorities are using a powerful tool in their effort to identify the scores of people killed by the wildfire that ripped through Northern California: rapid DNA testing that ...

Published:  Tue, 20 Nov 2018 19:25:00 GMT

Harvard grad student's murder solved through DNA after nearly 50 years

Nearly 50 years after a Harvard graduate student was raped, beaten and strangled, prosecutors on Tuesday identified her killer through DNA. Michael Sumpter is believed to have killed Jane Britton, 23, ...

Published:  Tue, 20 Nov 2018 12:52:00 GMT

DNA test cracks cold case death of Harvard student Jane Britton

Nov. 20 (UPI) --DNA testing identified a serial rapist as the man responsible for the slaying of Harvard graduate student Jane Britton in 1969, the Middlesex District Attorney's Office announced Tuesd...

Published:  Tue, 20 Nov 2018 16:23:00 GMT

DNA links dead convict to 49-year-old rape, murder case

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - A convicted rapist who died in 2001 has been identified as the killer of a 23-year-old Harvard University graduate student nearly 50 years ago, a Massachusetts prosecutor said Tuesd...

Published:  Tue, 20 Nov 2018 18:48:00 GMT

Remains of Louisiana sailor killed in Pearl Harbor attack identified through DNA analysis

Just 10 minutes into the attack on Pearl Harbor nearly 77 years ago, Japanese planes had fired eight torpedoes into the USS Oklahoma, causing the great battleship that had escorted convoys in World Wa...

Published:  Tue, 20 Nov 2018 17:21:00 GMT

Marine killed in World War II buried at Miramar after DNA testing provides his name

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Only recently identified through DNA testing, Marine Sgt. Millard Odom was laid to rest Tuesday at Miramar National Cemetery. Tuesday was the 75th anniversary of Odom's being killed ...

Published:  Tue, 20 Nov 2018 17:07:00 GMT

Promising DNA vaccine for Alzheimer's moves closer to human trials

Researchers may be one step closer to finding the holy grail of potential Alzheimer's treatments - a single-dose vaccine that prevents the onset of the disease. A new study from the University ...

Published:  Tue, 20 Nov 2018 17:43:00 GMT

Whether mutt or purebred, DNA testing your dog can reveal a new identity

It's fascinating to look at your dog's DNA. If you have a mixed breed and want to know more about your mutt, now you can. There are a wide variety of test kits for pets on the market. 12 News wanted t...

Published:  Tue, 20 Nov 2018 20:00:00 GMT

DNA Samples Needed to Identify Camp Fire Victims

BUTTE COUNTY -- With each set of human remains recovered from the ashes left in the Camp Fire's wake comes a mystery and a challenge to identify someone using just small bits of flesh and bone.

Published:  Mon, 19 Nov 2018 21:50:00 GMT

The Latest: Fire victims' families urged to give DNA

Subscribe Please read: Readers of local content on the Chronicle's website - - now require a subscription. Readers can access that content with a simple registration and view a few ...

Published:  Tue, 20 Nov 2018 15:48:00 GMT

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