Accuracy is one of the crucial factors when it comes to ancestry DNA testing. Giving an ethnicity estimate is not an exact science, so you’ll want to make sure to choose a company with the lowest error margin possible.
There are numerous genetic and genealogical factors that can skew the final results, including low-difference SNP ratio (Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry comes to mind here), high frequency of mixing with other genetic populations over the centuries, etc.
With all this in mind, AncestryDNA is one of the best DNA ancestry tests currently on the market, backed by an impressive genealogical database that has been continually expanding since its father company was launched back in 1983. Read our blog post dedicated to the overall accuracy of this test and find out why AncestryDNA might be the right choice for you.
Criteria For Ancestry DNA Testing Accuracy
There are several essential factors to keep in mind when exploring the overall accuracy of any ancestry DNA test, including the number of SNPs checked, geographic regions covered, the scope of the test, database size, and the possibility of raw DNA data download.
Number Of SNPs Checked
SNP stands for “single-nucleotide polymorphism,” representing a variation in a single nucleotide at a specific position in your genome. SNPs are used to determine your susceptibility to certain genetic diseases, map your haplogroups, and determine linkage disequilibrium. AncestryDNA test explores 700,000 SNPs, which guarantees the superb accuracy of your final report.
Geographic Regions Covered
The accuracy of the test also depends on the number of regions it covers. This enables the DNA testing provider to explore more genetic populations and give you a better estimate of your ethnic background. AncestryDNA currently covers 26 worldwide regions, which is somewhere in the middle when compared to the competition. Note that AncestryDNA also includes your potential Native American and Jewish ancestry.
Scope Of The Test
When exploring the scope of a DNA test, you want to know whether the test in question explores only your autosomal chromosomes (pairs 1-22) or also includes the so-called “gender chromosomes” by checking your Y and mitochondrial DNA. AncestryDNA offers an exploration of your entire genome, providing accurate information on your autosomal ancestry but also paternal and maternal ancestral lines.
Your particular genetic signature can only be matched against the individuals already in the company’s database. Therefore, the larger the database, the more accurate the final results. This is especially important if you’re interested in matching with unknown genetic relatives. AncestryDNA currently has more than 4 million genetic signatures in its database, which makes it the largest one on the market.
Raw DNA Download
This isn’t an accuracy criterion per se, but it definitely helps to be able to download your raw genetic sequence and tests it with other companies with different databases. This option saves you both time and money. Of course, AncestryDNA allows you to download your raw DNA and use it as you please.
AncestryDNA is one of the most accurate genetic tests on the market, period. The company offers an impressive testing scope, complemented with 16+ billion genealogical records. You’ll receive a precise picture of your ethnic ancestry throughout the ages but also relevant documents, photos, and written stories of your ancestors. With all that in mind, we can only recommend this test if you decide to explore the very origins of your genetic signature.