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We put two of the best-known at-home DNA tests, 23andMe and AncestryDNA, in a head-to-head battle. How do they stack up against each other? Even more important, which test will give you the answers you’re searching for?
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23andMe vs AncestryDNA Comparison Table
Some of the features we highlight could be confusing for those not familiar with the science and terms associated with DNA testing. Please refer to our comprehensive DNA testing article that will help you decipher the terminology.
AncestryDNA only offers one at-home ancestry DNA test, which is solely an autosomal test. Autosomal tests trace back the mixture of genes from both sides of your family 6+ generations.
23andMe provides an Ancestry DNA test and a Health+Ancestry DNA test. What’s the difference between 23andMe and AncestryDNA’s basic tests? While AncestryDNA only tests for autosomal DNA, 23andMe’s test delves a bit further, giving you your mtDNA and Y-DNA haplogroups.
Both 23andMe and AncestryDNA give you family/cousin matching — people who share some of the same familial DNA with you. They also both make it optional for matches to connect with each other. AncestryDNA, however, had the edge here for several reasons.
First, you’ll likely find more matches with AncestryDNA. Their database is huge, with 10 million people, compared to 5 million with 23andMe.
Second, AncestryDNA is all about genealogy, so many people who test there do so to find family matches. Many who test with 23andMe do so for health reasons and don’t grant access for you to see if they’re a family match.
AncestryDNA also lets you connect your results with your online family tree and gives you the ability to search millions of other trees. 23andMe doesn’t offer this feature.
Both AncestryDNA and 23andMe give you ethnicity estimates for more regions in the world than any other DNA test kit. AncestryDNA drills down to 500 regions, while 23andMe offers 1,000 regions around the world. But many of the regions differ between the two companies, so it really depends on where you think your ancestors came from.
For example, AncestryDNA tests for many more European regions than 23andMe, but 23and Me targets more areas in Asia and South America. If you have no clue about your roots, both companies are a good choice.
Winner: Tie (23andMe & AncestryDNA)
23andMe is the clear winner in this category — AncestryDNA, like most other at-home DNA ancestry tests, doesn’t provide any kind of health-related results. 23andMe is the leader in the industry for health screenings.
23andMe is the only at-home DNA test that’s received FDA approval for 12 genetic health risk reports, including BRCA1/BRCAS2 breast cancer genes and Parkinson’s Disease. They also offer 43 carrier reports for various health conditions, as well as 8 wellness and 30+ trait reports.
AncestryDNA has reduced its price to $79, and 23andMe charges $99 for their autosomal DNA test. 23andMe’s Ancestry+Health test will run you $199 plus shipping.
We give AncestryDNA the edge here. Their price is lower, and they also offer frequent discounts, with savings up to $20 off. 23andMe rarely provides discounts on their tests.
AncestryDNA blows 23andMe out of the water in this category. With AncestryDNA, you can pay a monthly fee to access millions of genealogical records and other members’ family trees.
What’s more, AncestryDNA has immensely active community forums and a wealth of other ancestry-related resources at your disposal. If you’re doing research on your family tree, Ancestry is clearly the way to go.
What Did One Hollywood Star Discover?
See Ancestry’s interview with Ted Danson following his appearance on Finding Your Roots with Louis Gates Jr.
We’ve chosen AncestryDNA as our winner of the at-home DNA testing giants. Their services, tests and resources far outweigh 23andMe if you’re looking for anything other than health results. However, if your main concern is getting health-related results, 23andMe is the obvious company to test with.
What About Other DNA Tests?
So, how do 23andMe and AncestryDNA stack up against Family Tree DNA, Heritage DNA and other at-home DNA test competitors? Be sure to read our Best DNA Test article to find alternatives to these two companies.
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