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Did you that know a simple swab of your cheek can reveal where your genetic ancestors came from thousands of years ago? Sitting inside your mouth is data that can provide insight into who you are and where you’re from. Thanks to Living DNA’s ancestry test, I found answers and discovered more about my past and genetic heritage than I ever thought possible. You can too! And it’s more affordable and easier than you may think. Read on to learn how you can start digging deeper into your family history with our Living DNA ancestry review.
Given our in-depth research and individual insights from testing the kit ourselves, we put together the following Living DNA review. Although they didn’t make our top three in our DNA Ancestry Test comparison review (due to being so new to the game and more focused on the U.K. market), they are still worth considering. We will continue to keep an eye on them as they grow.
- Excellent for a more in-depth British regional breakdown (80 regions alone in Britain)
- Traces your maternal and paternal lines back and gives you your haplogroups
- Gives you raw DNA results that you can upload to some other sites like GEDMatch
- Shipping of kit (and return shipping) included in price
- 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)
- Lab is located in the UK, which doesn’t hold the same certification standards as in the U.S.
- Can’t upload raw DNA data from other services
- No chromosome browser
- Very limited website resources, tools or community
- No information on website about long-term DNA sample storage
- Compare DNA to thousands of other individuals around the world
- As their technology improves and they accumulate more data, results are updated online to provide on-going analysis
- 3-in-1 ancestry test with family line, motherline and fatherline all in one flat-fee (fatherline exclusive to men only)
- DNA mix across 80 world regions including 21 from the U.K. and Ireland
- See breakdown of history over time (up to 10 generations)
- Detailed descriptions of various indigenous groups, migration patterns and DNA groups to help you better understand where you and your family come from
- $99 DNA testing kit (sale price at time of writing)
- Free shipping of kit and return shipping of sample
- Optional printed book for $69
Our link above applies discounts if available.
Living DNA Test: How It Works
We were given a Living DNA test kit in exchange for an honest review. As industry experts in Ancestry DNA, we felt the need to try the DNA kit ourselves so that we would have a better understanding of the process. You should know, while each person’s DNA is unique to them, the process of collecting your DNA and buying the kit is the same for everyone. Read more about how it works in our DNA 101 article.
As soon as the results are in, you’ll receive an email notification. To access it, log in to your online portal (they do not mail them for privacy reasons). (Note: If you order a printed book you’ll receive that another 3-4 weeks after the online test becomes available.) Click on your test to see the break down of results by family line, motherline and fatherline (if you’re a male). Your family line has a map which shows areas of the world where your genetic ancestry is located (see below). You can then visualize the data in different ways including a chart and thorough history (to see your family’s potential migration routes). The motherline results assign you a Haplogroup and a Subclade and break down your mtDNA into geographic regions. They even provide a unique URL which you can then share with your family and loved ones.
Are Customers Happy With Living DNA Ancestry?
As part of our in-depth review process, we scour the web for consumer feedback about each company we write about. Below you’ll see a sampling of both positive and negative opinions we found from other customers about Living DNA to give you an idea beyond our own experience.
The Living DNA test has given me the most accurate results of all the biogeographical ancestry tests I’ve taken so far. For the first time I have been given a sub-regional breakdown of my results which shows the regions within Britain where my ancestors possibly lived in the last few hundred years. – Debbie K, Writer/Editor/Genealogist
I ordered my test back in Feb. The Kit was delivery quickly. Upon registering it and sending it back and throughout the whole process, LivingDNA kept me informed along the way. As I have been doing my family genealogy since 1991, I was eager to see if my DNA would support / verify my research. And it has! And this weekend, my book arrived – beautiful. Plus, an easier way to show family and friends. I also had a kit sent to my brother – and we are awaiting his results. I had some questions along the way, and have found the customer service to be very responsive. It’s been a true pleasure working with LivingDNA. I can’t wait to see more info added. Thanks so much – Lo J., Facebook 6/26/2017
One of Living DNA’s major downsides is that it is heavily biased towards the British Isles and it confuses mainland European ancestry with British ancestry. I’m also part French Canadian, and no percentage from France appears. I have a large percentage of German ancestry, over 18%, along with a small amount of Dutch ancestry, and I don’t get any of Living DNA’s “Germanic” category. Instead it assigns me Scandinavian, which is genetically close to Germanic but misses the mark. I also found my results fairly inaccurate within their British Isles categories: It currently (25 August 2017) has me as 42.1% Northumbrian, when I only have 3.125% of my paper genealogy tracing to anywhere within what Living DNA defines as their Northumbria region. Large parts of my ancestry have been omitted entirely from the test results: I have one great-grandparent from Central England, and I have no Central England or even the neighboring South Yorkshire on their test. I have many ancestors who lived in what Living DNA defines as “Northwest Scotland” and I don’t have any Northwest Scottish percentage assigned to me, instead I have received a fairly substantial percentage (11.5%) of “Aberdeenshire” of which I have no ancestral connections to. -Spencer T., submitted via email, 9/1/2017
I received erroneous results the first time around. This would be troubling for someone who is adopted. Luckily, I know my background and knew what to expect having tested on 23andme, Ancestry and FamilyTree. Their response was pleasant and the problem was fixed by the next day. They said some info had become corrupted in their database and a few customers were affected. The results I am confident are mine because my mtDNA haplogroup was always correct. They need to work on looking carefully before they give out their results though. – Michelle G., Facebook 6/26/2017
Who Is Living DNA?
Learn more about the people behind Living DNA and gain a deeper understanding of how their product can tell you more about your past in this short video.
Also, check out this article in the U.K.’s Daily Express that takes a closer look at the background of Living DNA and their founder’s passion for DNA testing.
Is Living DNA Worth It?
If you have relatives from the U.K. or want to explore more of your British heritage, look no further than Living DNA. This DNA ancestry test specializes its research in the British Isles and has a detailed breakdown of those regions. In our personal experience with the kit, we were very pleased with everything from the ease of sample collection right through to the high-quality of the analysis and information provided with the results. The turnaround time and pricing is on par with other DNA ancestry tests, and for the value of three tests in one (or two if you are female), it’s a great deal. While they don’t have family matching yet, it’s only a matter of time before they add that service. And since they are a relatively newer company they are constantly adding new people to their database to beef up their analysis capabilities. Give Living DNA a shot – we don’t think you’ll be disappointed!
Have you considered doing a DNA ancestry test. Why or why not?
I just got my LivingDNA test results back! It took awhile but worth the wait. Super easy to understand the results and love how they map it out and color code it. Makes understanding the data much less overwhelming and easy to digest.
I would have appreciated it if you had attempted to contact me and ask my permission to use my comment for your review (I am the user sktibo on anthrogenica, which you have spelled as “sktbo”) That comment was written well before the complete mode was released and it is now outdated and no longer entirely true. I would be more than happy to provide my updated commentary on this test for your review here if you will contact me and ask me for that.
Spencer, thanks for reaching out and sorry to hear your review is outdated! Will email you to get an updated review that we can use with your permission.
Spencer’s negative review has been updated based on his feedback he shared with us via Email. In addition, he noted:
“Please note that it is important to me to include the fact that I am a very big supporter of Living DNA and I have recommended their test to several people, some of who have purchased it upon my recommendation. No DNA test is perfect at this point in the game, and Living DNA, despite their inaccuracy in my results, was actually useful in my genealogical research. I’ve seen some truly fantastic results from Living DNA to date, but for many of us it is far from perfect. One thing I very much admire about Living DNA is that they admit that their test is something of a work in progress, rather than insisting that their DNA test results are absolutely correct. Despite the inaccuracy seen with my results, I still encourage others interested in DNA testing to test with them as their results will change and become more accurate with time, and because their test is simply more interesting than the other ones currently available.”
Thanks Spencer for sharing your experience with us!