National Geographic DNA Test Reviews: Do You Have Neanderthal DNA?

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National Geographic DNA Test kitWant to time travel back to ancient times? If only! Perhaps the next best thing is taking a DNA test and one of the ones you may consider is National Geographic’s Geno 2.0 DNA test. You can learn where your ancient ancestors roamed the Earth and even discover if you have any Neanderthal DNA.

Visit National Geographic DNA Website

Article Overview

National Geographic DNA Review

National Geographic DNA Review
DNA Tests Offered 4.5
Storage & Privacy Policy 5.0
Pricing 3.0
Online Community 2.0
Customer Service 5.0


  • Offers autosomal and full mtDNA testing (but limited Y-DNA)
  • Provides biogeographical ancestry analysis with a percentage breakdown
  • CLIA and CAP certified laboratory (third-party lab)
  • Test samples saved securely for privacy
  • You can upload your results to Family Tree DNA
  • Contributing to a globally targeted genealogical DNA project
  • Excellent customer service


  • DNA test is expensive
  • No familial matches — can’t identify living relatives or individual ancestors
  • Smaller database (905,000+) than other companies
  • Can’t upload raw DNA data from other services
  • No chromosome browser
  • Limited website resources

Key Features

  • Nat Geo Geno 2.0 Next Generation allows you to trace your roots back hundreds or thousands of years and gives you your ancestors’ ancient migration patterns across countries and continents around the globe
  • Part of the National Geographic Genographic Project, a scientific effort to analyze historic patterns in human DNA across the globe
  • Test identifies thousands of mtDNA markers for direct maternal lineage, examines Y-DNA markers for direct paternal ancestry and analyzes more than 750,000 other ancestry-informative markers to reveal your ancestry’s regional affiliations
  • They process samples at the Genomics Research Center which is operated by Gene by Gene, Ltd., Family Tree DNA’s parent company


  • $199 DNA testing kit (saliva sample)
  • Free shipping
  • Results available in 8-10 weeks


Mothers Day 2018 Sale: Buy 2 or more GENO 2.0 Kits and get them for $69.95 each - regularly priced at $199.95 each!

A Personal Experience

Neil Gargis, our editor, was chosen to participate in the NatGeo Geno 2.0 project. Read below to learn about his experience with this DNA test.

I was very excited to be offered the chance to have my DNA tested with the NatGeo Geno 2.0 project for this review. I ordered the kit and received it only 4 days after ordering. The testing kit was well packaged, and the instructions were clear. I provided the saliva sample, which I will say is a little more saliva than I would have thought they’d need. Collecting the sample took a few minutes but at the end of the day, it wasn’t that difficult. I placed the tube of saliva inside the provided plastic bag and then into the postage-paid return box. I dropped the box off at my local post office. Five days later I checked the National Geographic website and found that my test had been received.

Once the 6 weeks were up, I began checking the National Geographic website regularly to see if my results were in. Unfortunately, about 2 weeks later I received an email from Helix (the testing company) that my results had “failed processing.”  From their email to me:

Thank you for your purchase and recent DNA saliva sample submission to Helix. Helix strives for all samples to be processed quickly, providing high-quality data and results. In rare cases, a sample will fail during processing and require a new sample be submitted. Your sample has been identified within this group and a new sample will be required to continue with the sequencing process.

I’m a little disappointed. I was very careful to follow their instructions to the letter, so I’m not really sure what went wrong. In any case, a new kit is on the way at no charge to me. I’ll submit that sample and, once my results are in, I’ll report back on that experience, as well as post some photos. Stay tuned.

Unboxing Video

Check out Neil’s first-hand experience opening the test kit in this quick time-lapse video.


What Other DNA Tests Should I Consider?

The National Geographic Geno 2.0 test is best for people who want a deep dive into their ancient ancestors, but it does have its limitations. You won’t find out any health-related information or discover any relatives. By taking this test, however, you’re contributing to global scientific advancements in understanding the human race’s shared past. Check out our Best DNA Test article to see reviews of other DNA tests you can take at home.

What mysteries do you hope to uncover through a DNA test?

An international traveler since she was under 10 years old, Sally loves exploring the world’s mysteries first hand. Her favorite destinations? Greece and the British Virgin Islands. She grew up learning to question, explore, and discover new things and ideas — it’s probably why she went into journalism as a career! She loves what the Internet has brought to research and exploration, but she still hits the ground to travel whenever she gets the chance.

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