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My Heritage vs Living 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.
MyHeritage has been a key partner in the increasingly-popular world of genealogy research, not just in the US but worldwide. With 96 million users from around the planet - and even a website that's available in 40+ languages - this site makes it possible to connect with relatives from just about everywhere.
Their DNA testing is a more recent complement to their family history focus. Because of this, their DNA database is smaller than Ancestry: just over a million compared with more than six million results, though both are growing daily. Also, MyHeritage only has 42 ethnic regions comprising its results, while Ancestry separates results into 150 - which means that you'll get a less-specific set of results to pinpoint your heritage.
But, MyHeritage comes out strong in terms of simplicity and pricing: for $59, your sample is processed with a simple cheek swab, rather than having to fill a vial with saliva. Why does that matter? Imagine trying to get that kind of sample from an infant or an elderly person! A cheek swab is much less effort.
MyHeritage is also a better service when looking at how long it takes to get test results; where Ancestry can take a month or longer, MyHeritage usually returns results within 3-4 weeks at most. This company also has one of the industry's best track records when it comes to protecting your data and privacy.
Overall, MyHeritage's DNA testing isn't as comprehensive when compared with several other services, but as their database expands to match their site membership, they may emerge as a bigger competitor among those looking to get genetic information to connect with their family history.
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.
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!
DNA In The News
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