Best DNA Test 2022: FamilyTreeDNA vs 23andMe vs AncestryDNA vs MyHeritage DNA & More

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Can a little spit really tell you that you’ve got some Albert Einstein in your DNA or that your ancestors migrated from the Middle East 2,000 years ago?

Surely, you’ve heard about the craze over at-home DNA tests by now. Interested in digging deeper into your family heritage? Want to know what test to take? DNA testing is easier and more affordable than you might think and can lead to amazing revelations about who you are.

What can these tests tell you? You can learn about your family’s history going back many generations and find living family matches. They can also help you discover your ethnic origins from around the world. Some can even tell you health conditions you may be at a greater risk of developing. An ancestral DNA test may also inspire you to dig in deeper to your family tree with genealogical research.

Best DNA Test For Ancestry Winners

We chose our best DNA tests based on a number of factors, including the:

  • Types of tests they offer
  • DNA database size
  • Extent of ancestry information and matching relatives you can find from each test
  • Cost
  • Genealogy research tools

If you need to brush up on DNA and ancestry-related terms, jump to our DNA terminology section.

Winner: AncestryDNA Review

AncestryDNA box

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AncestryDNA is part of the wildly popular genealogical company Ancestry.com. This company has really stepped up its game over the last several years, giving you an unparalleled ability to find familial matches as well as a breakdown of your ethnicity from 1,000+ regions across the globe.

AncestryDNA offers affordable pricing, an extremely active online community, a huge DNA ancestry database of over 10 million people and access to millions of family trees and billions of historical records via the Ancestry website. Their autosomal test analyzes more than 700,000 genetic markers to find your genetic matches.

AncestryDNA also gives you results on migration patterns from several areas around the world to post-colonial North America. This can help you better pinpoint where your recent ancestors lived in the U.S. and migrated from around the world.

Best For Identifying Genetic Matches

Far more people have tested with AncestryDNA than any other service — a whopping 26 million people. This means you’ll be more likely to find living relatives and shared ancestors. You can also use the website’s extensive historical ancestry records to try to trace your ancestors on your mother’s and father’s sides.

ProsCons
Competitive pricing for autosomal DNA testDoesn’t offer separate Y-DNA or mtDNA testing
Largest DNA database by far — 10+ million peopleCan’t upload DNA data from other services
Provides ancestry ethnicity estimates for 1,000 global regionsNo chromosome browser available to compare shared chromosomal segments
CLIA and CAP certified laboratory (third-party lab)Those tested must opt-in so that other users can see their results, meaning you may not be able to see all your matches
Reliable security for DNA test samples and results
Excellent online community forums and customer service
Stores your DNA sample indefinitely
Connect with genetic matches via anonymous email and message boards
Discover what your DNA tells you about 25+ different physical traits (lactose intolerance, earlobe type, male hair loss, etc.)

Pricing

The following pricing is for Ancestry’s DNA test and results, including familial matches. If you want to link your results to your family tree or do other research on their website, you must have a paid subscription. See the latest subscription pricing.

  • $99 AncestryDNA® testing kit
  • $9.95 shipping
  • Results available in 6-8 weeks

Coupon

Our link above applies discounts if available.

Read Our In-Depth AncestryDNA Review

Runner-Up: FamilyTreeDNA Review

FamilyTreeDNA box

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FamilyTreeDNA (FTDNA) is the best DNA ancestry test if you’re committed to serious genealogy research. This company is the only service that offers all three types of tests separately: autosomal, Y-DNA and mtDNA testing. Their Y-DNA and mtDNA tests are much more in-depth than other companies’ maternal and paternal-line analysis. (Learn more about these different tests.)

Also, FTDNA is one of few services that offers a chromosomal browser, which allows you to compare your matching DNA segments (blocks) with each genetic match. You get the email addresses of your matches and can join targeted genealogical projects within their network. This is one of a few services that gives you the ability to transfer your data from other services to help you further your research.

You may have heard about FTDNA’s recent agreement to work with law enforcement to upload genetic files to help identify a perpetrator of a homicide, abduction or sexual assault, or ID the remains of a deceased individual. If this causes privacy concerns for you, FTDNA allows you to opt out of Law Enforcement Matching, so your DNA results on file will not be included in their searches.

Best For Advanced Genealogical Research

FTDNA gives you a list of all your genetic matches who share common ancestors from your maternal and paternal lines from the past 5 or so generations. You can even view, sort and compare individual DNA matches by parental lines and contact matches via email (if they’ve permitted access). Their separate mtDNA and Y-DNA tests give you uniquely specific analysis into your DNA, and their online resources are phenomenal.

ProsCons
Competitive pricing for DNA autosomal test and frequent promotionsDatabase (~1 million people) isn’t quite as extensive as other services
Only site to offer separate autosomal DNA and in-depth Y-DNA and mtDNA testing kits and a good variety of bundled packages
Provides ethnicity estimates for 24 global regions
In-house laboratory certified by CLIA and accredited by CAP
Stores your DNA sample for 25 years
Strict privacy policy
Receive contact info (email address) for your genetic matches
Chromosome browser tool to compare shared chromosomal segments
Allows uploading of raw DNA results from 23andMe, AncestryDNA, MyHeritage and NatGeo Geno 2.0
Excellent online community forums and customer service

Pricing

FTDNA delivers results in 4-8 weeks. All tests are a cheek swab.

  • $79 Family Finder Autosomal DNA Kit
  • $119 Paternal Ancestry
  • $159 Maternal Ancestry
  • $9.95 shipping
  • View all options

Coupon

Our link above applies discounts if available.

Read Our In-Depth FamilyTreeDNA Review

3rd Place: 23andMe Review

23andMe box

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23andMe is your best bet if you want to trace your lineage and get disease-risk and carrier-status DNA results. They offer three testing kit types — an autosomal Ancestry test for $99, a Health + Ancestry test for $199 or a VIP Health + Ancestry test for $499.

On the ancestry side, you’ll get reports on your ethnic composition, haplogroups and Neanderthal ancestry. 23andMe also provides you an anonymous report of where your current genetic matches live in the world, and you can opt-in to their DNA Relatives tool to find, connect and message those who share DNA with you. If you want to use your DNA results to help you trace your family tree, however, 23andMe’s research tools and genealogy community aren’t up to par with FamilyTreeDNA or Ancestry.com.

23andMe is the only direct-to-consumer genetic test that has FDA approval for 10+ genetic health risks, including late-onset Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Hereditary Thrombophilia and most recently Type 2 Diabetes and three genetic variants found on the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes known to be associated with a higher risk for breast, ovarian and prostate cancer.

Other health results include 40+ FDA-approved carrier status reports (whether you carry genes for certain health conditions), 10+ health predisposition  reports, 5+ wellness reports (lactose intolerance, for example) and 25+ trait reports (male bald spot, unibrow, etc.).

Best For General Ancestry & Disease Risk Screening

If you want to learn where your ancestors lived around the world and, at the same time, gain insights into your health and risk for certain diseases, 23andMe’s Ancestry + Health test is the way to go.

ProsCons
Only at-home DNA test to offer FDA-approved health screeningsDoesn’t offer separate, in-depth Y-DNA or mtDNA testing
Large DNA database of 5+ million peopleNo genealogical DNA projects available to join
Provides your ethnicity breakdown from 1,000+ global regionsCan’t migrate (upload) raw DNA data from other services
CLIA and CAP certified laboratory (third-party lab)Genealogical community forums are lacking compared to our top two choices
Test samples and results are secure for privacyUsers have to opt-in to allow others to even see that they’re a genetic match (members say many don’t, making it more difficult to identify and connect with living relatives)
Provides chromosome browser to compare shared chromosomal segments
Stores your DNA sample

Pricing

  • $99 Ancestry + Traits autosomal DNA test (saliva sample)
  • $199 Ancestry + Health DNA testing kit
  • $499 VIP Ancestry + Health DNA testing kit
  • $9.95 shipping
  • Results available in 6-8 weeks
  • View all options

Coupon

Our link above applies discounts if available.

Read Our In-Depth 23andMe Review

Comparison Table

1st: Ancestry DNA2nd: Family Tree DNA 3rd: 23andMeAfrican AncestryGPS Origins by HomeDNALiving DNAMyHeritage DNAVitagene
Visit WebsiteVisit WebsiteVisit WebsiteVisit WebsiteVisit WebsiteView on AmazonVisit WebsiteVisit WebsiteView on Amazon
Test TypeSaliva sampleCheek swabSaliva sampleCheek swabCheek swabCheek swabCheek swabCheek swab
Best ForIdentifying Relatives Advanced Genealogical Research & Identifying RelativesDisease Risk Screening & Ethnicity EstimatesAncient African AncestryEarly Migratory PatternsAdding DNA to Your Online Family Tree
Database Size10+ Million1+ Million5+ Million30,000+n/an/a1.4+ Millionn/a
Find Familial MatchesCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Ethnic Geographical Regions500+241,000+n/an/a804225
Price$99$79$99 or $199$299 Check Amazon for availability $99$79 $59.00
Shipping$9.95$9.95$9.95FreeFreeFreeFreeFree
Results In6-8 Weeks4-8 Weeks6-8 Weeks6+ Weeks6 Weeks10-12 Weeks3-4 Weeks4-6 Weeks
Autosomal DNACheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
In-depth mtDNACheckmarkMaternal haplogroup results onlyMaternal haplogroup results onlyMaternal haplogroup results onlyMaternal haplogroup results only
In-depth Y-Chromosome CheckmarkPaternal haplogroup results onlyPaternal haplogroup results onlyPaternal haplogroup results onlyPaternal haplogroup results only

More DNA Tests Reviewed

These didn’t make our top 3 this year, but may offer unique matching capabilities and give you insights that our winners cannot. We’ve found that using more than one service can often fill that missing gap.

African Ancestry Review

African Ancestry logo

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African Ancestry was launched in 2003, and since that time, it has partnered with historians, archaeologists, anthropologists and other geneticists to build the largest collection of African lineages in the world, including over 30,000 indigenous African DNA profiles.

This company offers separate mtDNA and Y-DNA tests but no autosomal test. African Ancestry says they can trace your roots back to a specific present-day African country, but that’s a somewhat problematic claim. Given the science they use and the limits of DNA ancestry testing in general, what they can do is determine a likely estimate of broad genetic matches “based on the frequency of identical and closely related haplotypes,” according to their website. They also provide broad results from other continents.

Best DNA Test To Discover Ancient African Roots

Do you want to know which specific area, or perhaps even tribe, in Africa your ancestors hailed from? If you know (or highly suspect) that you are of African descent, African Ancestry traces your African roots from 500 – 2,000 years ago.

ProsCons
World’s largest database of African lineagesMore expensive than competitors
Traces your African roots back 2,000 years to specific areas and ethnic groups of origin
DNA database is too small for entirely accurate results — their website states “Company does not warrant that a Report will be accurate or complete.”
Upload your mtDNA and Y-DNA test results from FamilyTreeDNA if you have African ancestry (fee for running your results through their algorithm)Can’t identify unknown living relatives or individual ancestors
Active online communityNo information on lab accreditation
Your sample or results are not shared with third partiesNo sample storage option
Your sample is destroyed once it’s been testedFew genealogical resources on website

Pricing

  • $299 MatriClan™ Test Kit
  • $299 PatriClan™ Test Kit
  • $680 Family Celebration Package, includes one mtDNA kit, one Y-DNA kit, t-shirts, certificates
  • Free shipping
  • Results available in 6+ weeks
  • View all options

GPS Origins By HomeDNA Review

HomeDNA logo

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GPS Origins test by HomeDNA uses a unique ancestral tracking technique that breaks down your gene pool and family migration patterns. Their in-house and highly-accredited laboratory, DNA Diagnostics Center (DDC), tests 800,000 autosomal genetic markers and analyzes 1,000+ reference populations and 40+ gene pools to tell you where your ancestors moved over hundreds of years starting roughly 1,000 years ago.

Although their GPS Origins test kit is expensive, HomeDNA allows you to upload your results from FamilyTreeDNA (only versions before November 2018), 23andMe (only versions prior to v.5), and Ancestry.com for HomeDNA’s unique analysis for a $39 fee. HomeDNA also provides special editions of their GPS Origins test.

  • The African Edition autosomal test analyzes 11 African–specific gene pools and ancestry markers from more than 100 African populations. You receive your African ethnicity in percentages and can see your ancestors’ migration routes going as far back as 2,000 years, along with anthropological stories explaining the movement of your DNA over time.
  • The Asian Edition test analyzes 17 Asian gene pools and goes back 2,000 years, with date stamps and geographic coordinates.

Best For Early Migratory Patterns

Want to know where your early ancestors originated from and migrated to over hundreds of years? The GPS Origins tests give you basic migratory patterns within certain areas of the globe starting as early as 2,000 years ago based on your genetically-matched haplogroups.

ProsCons
Specializes in ancestral tracking and family migration patternsGPS Origins test kit is expensive compared to most other DNA ancestry tests
DNA lab is accredited by 9 global institutionsNo familial matches — can’t identify living relatives or individual ancestors
Strict privacy policySeparate maternal and paternal line tests are very limited in what they can tell you (unlike FTDNA’s Y-DNA and mtDNA tests)
Special African and Asian GPS Origins editionsNo chromosome browser
Raw DNA from other companies can be analyzed by HomeDNA for $39Website lacks online community and supplemental resources
Charitable support for the Innocence ProjectDNA lab is in-house, and they don’t provide details on sample storage
Customers report helpful support reps

Pricing

  • Check Amazon for availability  for GPS Origins® test (cheek swab)
  • $39 to upload your results from FamilyTreeDNA (only versions before November 2018), 23andMe (only versions prior to v.5), and Ancestry.com
  • Results available in 4-6 weeks

Read Our In-Depth HomeDNA Review

Living DNA Review

Living DNA logo

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England-based Living DNA launched in early 2015. At the time, they claimed to be the “first truly global DNA test” because they broke down ancestral origins across 80 worldwide regions. AncestryDNA and 23andMe, however, have put that claim to rest as both sites have seriously improved their regional ethnicity analysis. Living DNA does still have the edge on British ancestry — they break down your roots across 21 specific regions in the British Isles.

If you already have a good idea that your roots are from the United Kingdom, Living DNA could be a great test for you to delve deeper into the region. Living DNA has partnered with several leading genomics, analytical, testing and research organizations, which lends them a lot of credibility in our book. We’re keeping our eye on this relative newcomer to see how their reputation develops.

Best For British Heritage

If you have Brit in your blood, Living DNA is your best choice for DNA testing. Based in the UK, their database is specifically geared toward the European and UK populations, making their results more comprehensive in those regions.

ProsCons
Excellent for a more in-depth British regional breakdown (80 regions alone in Britain)Doesn’t have its own database, so you can’t compare your results to others who’ve tested or find familial matches (but they recently launched a public beta version of family matching)
Traces your maternal and paternal lines back and gives you your haplogroupsLab is located in the UK, which doesn’t hold the same certification standards as the U.S.
Strict security and privacy policyCan’t import raw DNA data from other services
Provides raw DNA results for upload to compatible servicesNo chromosome browser
Shipping and return costs includedVery limited website resources, tools, and community
No information on website about long-term DNA sample storage

Pricing

  • $99 DNA testing kit (cheek swab)
  • Free shipping
  • Results in 10-12 weeks

Coupon

Our link above applies discounts if available.

Read Our In-Depth Living DNA Review

MyHeritage DNA Review

MyHeritage DNA logo

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MyHeritage is one of the most popular genealogy research and family tree websites in the world. In September 2016, they launched an autosomal DNA ancestry test at a competitive price. This DNA heritage test is similar to AncestryDNA, with fewer ethnic regions identified.

Although the test is relatively new compared to the top 3 services, their database has grown to 1.4+ million people, and they use FTDNA’s highly-accredited testing lab. An advantage of MyHeritage DNA? You can import DNA testing results from competing companies to compare with their database for free. Most other services (except FTDNA) either don’t give you this option or charge you a fee.

Best For Enhancing Your Online Family Tree

With more than 3.3 billion people in family trees and 103+ billion users worldwide, MyHeritage’s Family Tree Builder and related services are among the best online. How do you benefit from connecting your DNA to your family tree? DNA results can prove or disprove documented family tree connections. Family trees are also vital for understanding the relationship path to DNA matches.

ProsCons
Competitive pricing for autosomal DNA testAdditional fee to use their family tree and genealogical services
DNA database of 1.4+ million peopleNo separate Y-DNA or mtDNA testing
Provides ancestry ethnicity estimates for 42 global regionsDoesn’t offer targeted genealogical DNA projects available to join on website
CLIA and CAP certified laboratory (they use FTDNA’s lab)
Secure handling of DNA test samples and results
Import raw DNA data from any service that uses GEDCOM or autosomal test
New chromosome browser
They store your DNA sample indefinitely, or you can request to have it destroyed
Active online forums and good customer service

Pricing

  • $79 Autosomal DNA testing kit (cheek swab)
  • Free shipping
  • Results in 3-4 weeks

Read Our In-Depth MyHeritage DNA Review

National Geographic Geno 2.0 Review

National Geographic Genographic project logo

Geno 2.0 DNA Ancestry kits are no longer available for purchase since  the public participation phase of the National Geographic Genographic project ended in late May 2019. According to their website, if you already purchased a kit, you may still send it in for processing “in accordance with the Terms and Conditions of sale.” They also say that customers will still be able to access their test results online until the end of 2020.

Vitagene Health+Ancestry Review

Vitagene Health+Ancestry logo

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Vitagene Health + Ancestry by HomeDNA is a combined autosomal DNA test that analyzes your ethnic ancestry and several health traits from one single cheek swab. Its approach is similar to AncestryDNA’s test but with noticeable limitations.

There isn’t much to get excited about with Vitagene’s test. Their ancestry analysis only gives you ethnicity results for 25 regions around the world with percentage breakdowns — you can get these results and more (e.g., familial matches) from AncestryDNA, 23andMe and other ancestry tests.

Vigagene also looks at specific genes related to vitamin deficiencies and common sensitivities, like gluten or lactose intolerance, as well as several other physical and wellness traits (AncestryDNA’s test now does this, too). Finally, there’s an online questionnaire, where you provide secure and confidential information about your medical history and lifestyle.

They claim they can then use the results of their DNA test and your medical history to develop a personalized plan for exercise, diet and supplement recommendations. But here’s where there’s a problem — they take the results too far. No published scientific studies show that genetic tests can give you useful and actionable information about boosting your wellness through diet and exercise solely based on your genetic profile. 

ProsCons
Ethnicity breakdown across 25 global regionsNo familial matches — can’t identify living relatives or individual ancestors
DNA lab is highly accredited (same lab as GPS Origins)Doesn’t offer separate mtDNA or Y-DNA tests (can’t learn about maternal or paternal lines)
Strict privacy policy and they destroy your sample once it’s testedWebsite lacks online community
You can have your raw DNA from other companies analyzed for $49
Quicker results than many other companies
Good online resources
Customers report helpful support reps

Pricing

  • Health Report + Ancestry: $59.00
  • Health + Skin and Beauty + Ancestry: $89.00
  • Free shipping
  • Results in 4-6 weeks

Our link above applies discounts if available.

Read Our In-Depth Vitagene Review

Take An Ancestry Tour To Your Heartland

Go Ahead Tours logo

Visit Go Ahead Tours

EF Go Ahead Tours, in partnership with Ancestry.com, is now offering special Ancestry Tours where you can uncover your family story on one-of-a-kind genealogy tours to six different regions in Europe, including Germany, Scotland, two in Ireland and two in Italy.

Each trip includes an AncestryDNA kit and pre-trip family history review. Then, when you’re at your destination, an Ancestry genealogist will accompany your tour group to answer questions about your heritage. EF Go Ahead Tours offers travel planning, handpicked hotels, authentic cuisine, guided sightseeing and an expert tour director in all of its tour packages.

EF Go Ahead Tours’ all-inclusive ancestry trips are from 10-14 days and start at approximately $3,300 per person.

Statistics & Facts About DNA Tests

Here are some recent stats and fun facts related to DNA and its growing popularity.

  • As of early 2019, more than 26 million consumers have taken DNA tests with commercial DNA kits. 1
  • More people took DNA tests in 2018 than all previous years combined. 1
  • If DNA test trends continue, there could be 100 million people’s genetic info in commercial databases by 2021.1
  • Privacy is the #1 concern people have about DNA tests. 2
  • 40% of surveyed travelers reported that they want to take, or have taken, a trip inspired by their DNA test results. 3
  • A California-based travel agency Authentic Vacations booked $1.5 million in Ancestry tours in 2018 (nearly double compared to 2017).3
  • Music sharing service Spotify has teamed up with Ancestry to provide musical DNA playlists inspired by your test results. Since launching in September 2018, more than 10,000 people have signed up for a custom playlist. 4
  • According to Google Trends, West Virginia, Maryland, Massachusetts and Vermont are the states most interested in DNA kits in the past 5 years (since April 2014). 5

Frequently Asked Questions

Here we answer some of our readers’ most common questions, and also explain some of the more confusing DNA terminologies in laymen’s terms.

What Is DNA?

DNA graphic

DNA stands for “deoxyribonucleic acid,” and everyone’s DNA is unique to the individual. More than 99% of your DNA is the same as everyone else’s in the world. But there are small groups of sections across each person’s genome that differ (these variations make you the unique person you are).

What Is A DNA Test?

DNA analysis looks at small sections of DNA, called “markers,” to create your DNA profile —  a unique genetic fingerprint. Not every DNA test, however, is the same, and not every test’s design finds the same information from your DNA.

What Are Genetic Markers?

A genetic marker is a DNA sequence with a known location on a chromosome. Scientists use genetic markers to identify cells, individuals, populations, etc.

What Does Autosomal Mean?

Autosomal refers to a chromosome that is not a sex chromosome. People have 22 pairs of autosomes in each cell, as well as 2 sex chromosomes (X & Y in a male and X & X in a female).

What Is Shared DNA?

Two people who share identical segments of DNA share a recent common ancestor. The relationship between relatives (siblings, cousins, etc.) depends on the length and number of these identical segments.

What Is Deep Ancestry?

Deep ancestry is based on either mitochondrial (maternal) DNA or Y-chromosome (paternal) DNA, and it shows a single line of descent. It’s often referred to as a direct maternal line or direct paternal line, going back hundreds to thousands of years.

What Does Haplogroup Mean?

A haplogroup is a genetic population (group of people) who share a common ancestor on the direct paternal or maternal line.

What Is Y-Haplogroup, E3a, Q3, Etc.?

Each haplogroup is assigned its own group “name,” which consists of a letter of the alphabet followed by more specific refinements indicated by additional number and letter combinations. Some haplogroups indicate clear ethnic groups. For example, the Y-haplogroup E3a is the most common among African Americans, and Y-haplogroup Q3 solely includes Native American populations.

How Accurate Is DNA Testing?

DNA testing has proven itself as the most reliable form of biological evidence since 1985. But what does that mean in context of crime scene evidence, answers to paternity questions, and medical pointers related to health conditions? Our experts find out as they investigate the accuracy of DNA testing.

What About DNA Testing Privacy?

Are my DNA sample and results protected? We see this question often. What do companies do with your results and private information? The best testing sites don’t share your DNA results with insurance companies or other third parties. We recommend you read each company’s privacy policy before ordering a test if you’re concerned about your results ending up in the wrong hands.

In 2008, the U.S. passed the Genetic Information and Non-Discrimination Act to protect citizens from having their genetic information used against them for health insurance or employment purposes.

Why Did My Sibling (& Even My Twin) Get Different Results From Mine?

Every person gets half of their DNA from their mother and half from their father. But what ends up in each half differs for each sibling. For example, you could’ve inherited more of your mother’s Asian DNA, and your brother got more of your mother’s European DNA. The same goes for the DNA you inherit from your father.

Can DNA Tests Tell Me What Countries My Ancestors Lived In?

In most cases no, although some (like AncestryDNA and 23andMe) will break them down to very specific regions. Be wary of these specific breakdowns because they’re typically based on very small population samples, so the results aren’t representative of a large enough population sample to make them highly valid (see below for more detailed info).

Don’t Miss GEDmatch On Your DNA Quest

GEDmatch.com is a free website, where you can upload raw autosomal DNA results and your match lists from AncestryDNA, 23andMe, FamilyTreeDNA and other services. In GEDmatch you can compare your DNA results with the results of all other GEDmatch users who’ve made their results public, regardless of what company they used to obtain autosomal DNA results. GEDmatch can help you:

  • Identify cousins and share research efforts for matching relatives.
  • Identify what portions of your DNA came from each parent if you and one (or both) of your parents have their DNA tested.
  • Potentially get more detailed ethnicity breakdowns. GEDmatch has 6 different options for displaying more detailed ethnicity, with many breakdowns under each option.

How Does GEDmatch Protect Your Privacy?

GEDmatch requires you to provide your email address and the exact name you used with your testing company. While we don’t recommend that you make your name or any of your information public, not sharing will limit much of what you can do with the website.

DNA Test Myths vs Facts

Still a bit confused? This short video breaks down the DNA tests in a nutshell for you.

DNA 101 Infographic

Infographic: DNA Tests

Learn More About Our Human History And How You Fit In

Whether you’re searching for living relatives or want to know where your ancestors originated, a DNA ancestry test is a fun way to find out more about what made you who you are. If you’re not already researching genealogy online, you may want to check out our online genealogy software comparison for our recommendations.

Check out our at-home paternity test reviews to learn more about legal paternity tests, prenatal paternity tests, a host of relationship tests (sibling, grandparent, maternity, etc.) and more. You’ll find features, pricing and pros and cons.

Sources: International Society of Genetic Genealogy, [1] MIT Technology Review, [2] Mashable, [3] New York Times, [4] Quartz , [5] Google Trends (2014-2019)

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Disclaimer: the information provided through this website should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease; it is not intended to offer any legal opinion or advice or a substitute for professional safety advice or professional care. Please consult your health care provider, attorney, or product manual for professional advice. Products and services reviewed are provided by third parties; we are not responsible in any way for them, nor do we guarantee their functionality, utility, safety, or reliability. Our content is for educational purposes only.

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Lots of comments. My questions may be redundant. I want to learn more about Rh Negative blood types from DNA testing. How much of that blood type testing is covered in commercial DNA testing? Is blood type able to be determined from swab or spit samples? If so, how accurate are the results?

I should have commented earlier about how much I like this article. It’s very good. Thank you.

And, from what you describe, DNA testing at present cannot, or does not, help determine ancestrally where your blood type came from. That’s disappointing. Once one gets into blood types, following their pathway through human evolution may be a very exciting route to take.

I already know my own blood type (I’m a universal donor, O-), and in fact, have discussed animal blood types (including human blood types) briefly in my online book ‘ABCs of Family Research’ found online at Highlander

Hello Sally:

I hope you keep this site active for many years because it is the best information source for its kind.

I have a problem and am very upset about the DNA test I have taken from AncestryDNA:

Example 1: It shows that I am 48% from Caucasia, but there are 50 Ethnic Groups in Caucasia: Armenians are completely different than Georgians, which one I am from?

Example 2: It shows that I am 36% from Persia, but Persia also included in Caucasia, and it also has many different Ethnic Groups.

Example 3: This is also very interesting to me: Although it is not shown that I have any connection with Greece, 98% of my 4th Cousins are Greeks…:)

I am willing to take another test, of course with another company, if you could advise me one, please. I really, really have to know who I am…:)

Thank you for your time and efforts,

Hazel

You have, in the costs for Ancestry failed to mention the cost of a smiannual or annual membership for Ancestry. You cannot use any of the research features unless you purchase the membership. They are encouraging purchase kits for additional relatives but each relative has to purchase a membership and enter a from scratch family tree in order to get full benefits of the software. Perhaps they will be encouraged to fix this problem in future. Comments on the internet at BBB (Better Business Bureau) and Yahoo! indicate that Ancestry has a problem with their automatic renewal where people state that Ancestry makes it hard or impossible to opt out of a renewal and that customer service is poor. As a subscriber for over ten years, I believe the posters since I have had problems with auto renewal and management of additional DNA accounts. While Ancestry may be the best choice for avid genealogists, it is pricey unless discounted, difficult for beginning genealogists and hard to reach when there is a problem. This begs the question “Are you sponsored or affiliated with Ancestry?”

Hello I would like to know which DNA test would confirm my relatives from TUDOR times cousins with ANNE BOLYEN, MARY BOLYEN, KATHERINE HOWARD. MARY STEUWART, AND ALL THE WAY BACK TO EDWARD LONGSHANKS, MY FAMILY NAME HOWARD. I JUST PURCHASED 23 AND ME. VERY KINDLY

Hi Sally,
I have already done 23andMe. I like it a lot and I am learning more every time I explore results or my 1000+ living DNA relatives. My one issue is that it combines all UK and Irish descent into one statistic. I would like to find out my percentage breakdowns of Irish, Scottish, and English heritage. Is there another site that identifies these more specifically?

Sally,
Thank you for all the information, but it’s all a bit overwhelming. I have a written family tree, for the most part, and some previous ancestors researched some members of my family all the way back to the 1100’s. But there are still a lot of gaps. I’m not that interested in finding family members, but I AM interested in finding where in Europe most of my ancestors came from (I know I am Dutch and German, but what else?) There is also a bit question if my father’s family has Native American in it; according to family “legend”, we are Choctaw and Comanche. I realize these DNA test kits can’t break down individual tribes, but which kit would be the best for 1) finding out exactly where all in Europe all my ancestors come from, and; 2) am I part Native American? thank you so much!

Need clarification on number in the databases – your chart comparing the companies has different numbers than the text

Sorry for the confusion it should be correct now!

Sally, for Mother’s Day we’re wanting to get my mother-in-law an ancestry test. We plan on going with FTDNA but they offer tons of tests. Do you recommend one over the other?

Thank you! This is very helpful! 🙂

Hello,
I have been raising my grand daughter basically her entire life. She will be 18 this year. Her mother has left her with me. I told her she loves you so much she knew you would be safer with me.
Her mother will not give us any information about her father or does not know. Her mom has married twice, divorced twice, has a 1/2 brother, and now has taken off again to another state to live with another man.
Which of the services would be the best one to use? Considering, we not only want her heritage and medical information, we also hopefully someday will meet the rest of her family.
This will be my birthday gift to her this year. I can’t imagine any better gift this kid deserves. No one should feel unwanted.
Thanks,
Cathy Grigsby
Grandma

Ms Jones, based on your article I would need to take the Ancestry test to find family, 23 & me to get more in-depth health info, National Geographic to find migration patterns/halogroup, & I can share my Ancestry results with Family tree but I would still have to take their mt test to have “full” access & accuracy on their site. Plus, their mt is more “in-depth” than anyone else. Is all this right? I am mid-30’s Puerto Rican female born in NYC. Currently live in the Southern US/Central time zone. I want to find family, get health info, know what areas ancestors may have lived/came from, & if I can trace my roots back to “Eve.” I watch “Who do you think you are?” & “Finding your roots.” One actress could trace her family line back to “Eve” = Noah’s Ark, not Adam & Eve. Also, my significant other is interested in doing this too. He is young-30’s male from California. Since male, he would do y test, not mt. His father is supposed to be: Irish/Italian. His mother is mixed with White/Japanese/Mexican. Her mother, his maternal grandmother is: 100% Japanese but married an American who was part Mexican. So, we both want to know EVERYTHING but don’t want to take every test available if it’s redundant, like testing the same thing, or can be shared/transferred with other company testing websites. Please advise if I’ve understood correctly & narrowed it down to the 4 swab/saliva tests we should purchase. Thank you!

I know who my mother was but not my biological father (I am female). There are are no KNOWN siblings. I have a half brother on my mothers side. Is there any dna test to give me information on my biological father?

Hello, I am interested in finding out our ancestry for 8 people in my family, then I would like to do the dna health for 3 of us (23 and me). Should we do them all from the same company for better accuracy? Also, we are of middle east decent/Europe/poss native American, which test would you recommend. Would the 23 and me be accurate and give us enough information?
Thanks,
Tammy

Will you be reviewing the Africanancestry.com site anytime soon?

I have a general question in regards to DNA testing ? I’ve noticed that all these genetic test products have flooded the market in the past decade. What scientific progress has suddenly made all this possible ? was it the sequencing of the human genome?

Hi Daniella! I’m answering this on behalf of Sally, here’s her response:

You are correct! Scientists have made a lot of progress in sequencing the human genome through the Human Genome Project and other research over the last decade. What they’ve discovered makes DNA testing more accurate than ever before ? and more discoveries are made every day!

Thanks for this comprehensive DNA test review Sally, I am very curious to know my ethnicity since I have darker skin and am adopted. Will be so nice to have some answers now that I’ve wondered about for so long!

Hi. I purchased the National Geographic Geno2.0 (Helix). When trying to transfer the kit into the FamilyTreeDNA website, it showed a notice that it was not accepting transfers from Helix. It appears that the U.S. is left out of this partnership deal, because it uses Helix to do the DNA testing. Does anyone know if this is temporary or if I can upload the raw data into FamilyTreeDNA?

Hi! I was hoping you might help. Both of my parents are living and I want to test both their DNA before mine. My Dad side has deep American Indian heritage. Based on my research I want to do FTDNA for both of my parents. Should I have my Dad do both FTDNA Y-DNA and MT-DNA since his Indian is on his mother’s side (my Grandmother) and have my Mother do just the MT-DNA?

In the future I want to test myself and my husband. Should we plan to test the same way? FTDNA Y-DNA and MT-DNA for my husband and just MT-DNA for me?

I would like to feel confident before ordering all these very expensive tests.

Thank you, Monica

Hi Monica,
Whether you decide on the Y-DNA and Mt-DNA tests really depends on how in-depth you want your research. These tests can help you locate potential sub-groups of relatives and ancestors. If you just want more general heritage information, then you only need to do the Autosomal test for each person. In either case, you definitely want to do the Autosomal (Family Finder) test for each person you mention. Good luck!

I have twin grandsons from a failed relationship of my daughters. I have been trying to trace their paternal genealogy, but their father and paternal grandfather are unwilling to provide me with any family information. Which dna test would give me the best results to trace the boys family tree without their help?

Hi Steve,
I’d recommend AncestryDNA because they have the largest DNA database so you’re more likely to find living relatives and potential family trees that can help you trace their heritage. Good luck!

Hi Sally,
I have hit two brick walls in my family research. My paternal wall stops at the second generation. My maternal wall stops at the third generation. What DNA test do you believe might be beneficial to my efforts?
Thank you for your time.

Hello Sally,
I have traced my maternal side of ‘the tree? over 30 generations. However, I am stuck at three generations of my paternal “Jones” side of the tree. Might you offer your opinion as to the best DNA program to follow?
Respectfully yours.

From what my mother remembered and what a cousin found doing genealogy half a century ago, I am mostly descended from all the British Isles. One outlier comes from my maternal grandmother who said that her grandmother had been a slave who was freed by her grandfather when he returned from the Civil War. The grandmother had died in childbirth delivering my grandmother’s mother. I would very much like to know as much about my ancestry as possible, but I have no living paternal relatives. I do, however, have a son whose father was second-generation Swedish.
With all that possible mixture, what would be the best testing company? And would having my son also tested be helpful?

Sally,
I did the Ancestry dna test and was highly disappointed and frustrated. My paternal grandfather was 100% Cherokee and not a single drop of Indian showed up in my test. I contacted Ancestry about it and they said that even though I have it in me, it doesn’t always show up on the test. They tried explaining it to me in a way of if your dad has green eyes that doesn’t mean your eyes will be green. Which doesn’t really make sense to me. DNA is DNA, so I don’t get why it doesn’t show up. I kind of said to my mom in a half joking way that if she had an “affair with the milkman”, now would be the time to tell me. Of course nothing like that is really true, but it makes me wonder…..I have also been in contact with a cousin on my dad’s said, and she said her daughter took the same test and got the same results I did. My grandfather is listed on the Dawes rolls also. I don’t know if you have an explanation for me. I feel like I was conned out of money for a test that obviously not 100% accurate. But I was wondering if I did another company’s test, would I get the same results? I wanted to try the 23andme for the health aspect of it too. Any advice?

You are not alone. There are not enough dna samples of native americans in any companies data base to give you a result of any accuracy.

Hi Sally, Which ancestry dna testing company(s) might have a large sample size (and perhaps better accuracy) for estimating Native American percentage that you might recommend? I took the AncestryDNA and was overall pleased with results, but felt the Native American results should have included my Asian percentage. Thanks for the great article and suggestions!

Hi Sally,
thank-you for all of the information. there is a lot to choose from. From what I know I have both English/Scottish and Eastern European/Ukrainian in me. My husband swears he is of Viking Blood and has English/Scottish in him. Any thoughts on what would be the best tests? Thank-you.

I am so glad you shared the best ancestry tests of 2017. It’s something that I always wanted to find out and now seems the best time to do it. The data centers must be so filled with tons of genome information. I would to learn more about human history and genealogy in general.

I am wondering which test kit is most appropriate for someone wanting to investigate their English/Scottish/Norwegian heritage?

Hi Sally….I want to find out about both my paternal and maternal ancestors. Will the Autosomal give me the connections to the past? I should have ties to western Europe and the British Isles.

Hi Sally. I am Acadian/Cajun. I’ve traced both my maternal and paternal sides back to around 1560 France. Is doing a DNA test worthwhile for me? If so, which test? What knowledge could I gain? Thanks!

I want to order my kit through Family Tree DNA but am not sure which one. I am interested in getting my father’s and my mother’s heritage as well, so I was thinking about buying the mtFull sequence and the family finder. Has anyone ordered those and if yes, were you satisfied with the information? Thank you.

I have always thought my family was from Europe but I recently found out that I have some cousins who are native American. I wonder what other surprises are out there! Which test kit should I try that specializes in Native American ancestors?

Can anyone share firsthand their experience with Family Tree DNA vs Ancestry.com? Others?

I’ve used LivingDNA and had an overall good experience, the results were easy to understand and no real big surprises as far as my ancestry. Kit arrived quickly and results took a couple months, but that’s on par with the length of time it takes for the other tests. Read my full LivingDNA review to learn more.

Correction from mgm previous post…. I am thinking an ancestry.com dna and family tree dna test might be best.

Hi Sally,
I am interested in doing a DNA test on my family and am open to doing two separate ones. One on my mother, and one on my father. Both of my parents are African American. I have tried to trace where I come from beyond America and always find myself reaching a dead end. I am thinking I should do an ancestry dna testing and then a 23andMe. However, one worry of mine is that I might run into either one not being specific enough. What do you suggest? Thanks for your time!

Best,
Candice

Hi Sally,

My ancestors moved from Central Asia to Anatolia hundred of years ago.
I am an Uyghur but i don’t know wich test i should take.
What do you suggest?

Hi Sally. I’m from argentina and I know my ancestors are all from Italy and Spain. But my husband is quite a mix: we believe he has native Chilean ancestors plus Denmark or Nordic ones from her mum side and French-basque ancestors from his dad side (despite having a very African surname that we believe is the result of a mispelled translation when the Basque family emigrate to South America).
Which company would you recommend for him and for me (maybe two different ones?) to find out more of our origins, especially his? I would like to get the most details as possible. Thank you!

Hi, is there a DNA testing for people that live in Italy to connect to Italian ancestors?

Hello Sally. My grandson will be on 14 September 16. For some reason he would like to know his DNA. I would like to purchase a kit that would be able to give us some medical information about him as well. His father was supposedly conceived by a sperm donor who is unnamed. My grandson is on the high-functioning Autism spectrum and I would really like to get a better idea of what he has to look forward to in the future. He has wanted to be a ‘soldier’ for as long as I can remember but was told because of his Autism, he is not able to join the service. I would really like to get as much information as possible for a reasonable price. I am disabled so on a fixed income. I would like to give him his test for his birthday. Which do you suggest?

FTDNA is not currently compatible with Helix version of the NatGeo DNA tests. I tried last night. Also, NatGeo is now over 840k people.

In 2016 i did a Ancestry DNA test that said i was 90% English. I am almost positive I am 40% German. I would like to do a test with someone else what do you suggest ?

Hi Sally,
congrats on the excellent work putting all this information in a more compact way. It’s still a lot to figure out, but it’s good.
As far as I can tell, all my ancestors are born and bred in the North of Portugal.
Would you have any suggestion on a suitable test/company?
Do all of these companies tell you: from your mother’s side, the results are X; from your father’s side, the results are Y, etc.?

Thanks and Regards
Filipe

Hi There,
Can you suggest which company and test can give the best data focused and concentrating on Northen Italy and southern France when I know my ancestry Going back 3 generations and are all from the same region?
I’d like information where my early ancestors came from prior to explain physical characteristics. I considered ancestry but they group Greek and Italian together. which does not bode well from those in northern Italy the alpine region bordering France, Austria and Switzerland. BTW I live in Australia.

Thanks

Hello,
I know I have a lot of Slavic (and probably even some central Asian and Caucasus) roots, which DNA Test would be the best for me to break it more down?
Thanks

Hi, I recently used AncestryDNA and had somewhat surprising results. I’m now considering to purchase another test but 23&me, my first choice, is expensive and My Heritage seems to be less accurate than AncestryDNA, is there an alternative? And would even be worth it? Would the results be similar or differ wildly?

hi all my ancestors i knoww of aree from the balkans (southern europe) which test would you recommend?

Hi! I am half Japanese and half British. I was wondering which kit option would be best to get in depth information of my ethnic background? I am also curious about health related testing.

Thank you!

Hi

I have Germanic (northern European) roots on my father’s side but on my mother’s side Southern European and probably even Sephardic roots. Neanderthal on both sides too. What website/kit should I opt for?

Thanks,

Jimmy

Hi

What website/kit offers most detailed information in one test? Presence of Neanderthal DNA should be included too

Thanks,

Jimmy

Hi Sally I was wondering would any of these tests help me find family members. I was adopted at the age of one and don’t know anything about my family. I am all by myself now other than my husband and I thought maybe I should connect with family members if I can find them. I know where I was born, possibly my parents were from Italy and Norway and I may have my birth mothers name. If these test are a waste of time, I would be thankful if you tell me, or could you direct me to the best one for me

Hello Rosemarie, I too was adopted and by birth name was Rosemarie! I assumed the surname was that of my birth mother so back in 1995 I called information (back when you dialed 1+ area code + 555-1212) and had located and spoke to her before my birth state had gotten permission from her to “release” my sealed records! Also located my birth father…all round it was the most perfect outcome…REGARDING YOUR QUESTION ABOUT FINDING COUSINS. I tested my DNA, both my birth parents and my husband and mother-in-law using AncestryDNA…while each has close cousin matches the one that surprised me the most was my husbands. His dad passed in 2013, both my husband’s family is from Ohio, but they moved to California before he was born & never knew any cousins or aunts & uncles. His dad had eleven siblings too!

As soon as his results came in a FIRST COUSIN ON HIS PATERNAL SIDE contacted me and sent some great pics and told me my husband has had a 1st cousin (one of her brothers) living about 60 miles south of us for years! IMO, unless you came from parents who had a very small extended family, you are likely to find a few close matches. Another thing is that families don’t know exactly who they are genetically. My husband thought he was 100% German because that’s where both sides of his family know they came from…but his and his mother’s largest ethnicity is Norwegian! We do know her family came from North East Germany, and the town her family was from is now in Poland! There second most abundant ethnicity is EAST and not West European…Germany is considered WEST European. Through deduction of my husband’s DNA compared to his moms, and that surname being decidedly “German,” his father probably was 25-50% German descent.

Finally, as a fellow adopted child, make sure you are ready for really bad as well as amazingly good news. My brother and sister, are also adopted though different blood. I found my sister’s blood family immediately, the information operator gave me the phone number of her 95 yr-old maternal grandmother who answered the phone! Sadly my sister’s birth mother had died suddenly, of a brain aneurysm while talking to one of her daughter’s (my sister’s half sister) in the kitchen. Literally dropped dead mid-sentence…It was difficult to break this news to my little sister (she had just turned 31 when I found this info).

I wish you the best!
Debi

Hi Sally–this is all so great! I could really use your opinion here. I was born in Brazil (North, border of Amazon) and I know I have Sephardic jew in me from my paternal and maternal grandfathers (Morocco & Iberian peninsula). I feel pretty confident in assuming my grandmothers from both sides have a native background, given the history of my region, their complexion, among other physical features. My maternal grandmother passed away very young, and we have lost all contact with that side of the family. And with moving to the US as a young child, I feel like I never came to know as much of my family across all lines.

I have purchased kits for 23andme ancestryDNA, but as I read through your article and comments, I started doubting whether I should have tried other routes–like My Family Tree. Which test is best for determining backgrounds for South American natives and Sephardic Jews?

Also, I know as far as a family tree database, My Heritage DNA tends to have more information on surnames in my line (seems to be more popular in Brazil). Would you say that test is worth doing or should I just access their database based on the information I gather from my tests?

And to be clear, my focus is to get as narrow of a region/ethnicity result as possible and to connect with possible relatives.

Thanks!

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