DNA testing became a widely available commercial phenomenon in the past decade. Scientists and genetics experts brought the concept closer to the general population and DNA testing caught on metaphorical fire, with millions of new users every year.
Our ultimate guide to the best DNA testing kits of 2017 can keep you up-to-date at all times by relaying the latest innovations and breakthroughs in the field. Our skilled team is constantly looking for new DNA testing options, making sure you don’t miss a single new test, a promising new company or available coupons.
While comprising a list of the best DNA testing kits is pretty difficult due to the abundance of excellent providers on the market, we’ve managed to single out those tests we think are the best of the best.
- Simple and convenient genetic testing from your own home
- Comprehensive at-home testing kit with detailed instructions
- CLIA-certified testing facility and accurate &reliable results
- Saliva-based DNA testing kit is more comfortable for new users
- 700,000 genetic markers checked during the testing procedure
- One of the largest databases in the world with 3+ million users
- Excellent, constantly updated dog DNA testing solutions
- Test screens for genetic traces of more than 250 breeds
- Proprietary testing procedures leave zero room for errors
- Partnership with leading scientists & academic researchers
- The most region-specific depiction of genetic ancestral roots
- Quality testing solutions with dog-approved processing labs
- 256 quadrillion genetic combinations checked with every test
- Comprehensive, reliable, and easy-to-use at-home testing kit
- Proprietary, highly-certified DNA processing laboratory
- Proprietary testing methods and Blueprint for Aging Well
- Affordable price and a high level of information security
- Comprehensive at-home testing kit with detailed instructions
- 800,000 SNPs, 36 world regions, 862 reference populations
- Hi-tech processing facilities with numerous accreditations
- CLIA, ISO-9001, and ISO-15189 laboratory certifications
- DNA testing kit made by experts with 15+ years of experience
- Screening for 28 dangerous and debilitating conditions
- State-of-the-art processing facility with CLIA certification
- All tests are supervised by the scientific advisory board
- The test screens carriers for 200 different genetic diseases
- Health-related reports available with the autosomal test
- Ancestry Service DNA Test checks 500,000 genetic markers
- Company database reached 2 million samples collected
Ranking Criteria Explained
We always outline numerous ranking factors that companies need to excel at. In the case of DNA testing kits, there are is a highly specific set of criteria that guides our ranking process.
Firstly and most importantly, we focus on the variety, quality, and accuracy of the tests available. These criteria are accompanied by 2 sub-criteria including the number of genetic markers checked and the likelihood of test errors and failures. Another criterion that decidedly influences the quality of the test results is the competency of the staff. Apart from the overall quality of test results, we take into account the availability of health-related information. Further, we focus on the average turnaround time and the quality of customer support, two important factors that shape customer experience. We also determine whether the companies take adequate privacy measures and whether they have set prices that correspond to the quality of their services.
Our final factor is how much effort
a certain company puts in when it comes to scientific research and charity work. Every DNA testing provider on our list is involved with numerous projects with the aim of pushing the boundaries of genetic science to the next level. They also contribute to many charity organizations and funds.
Here are the best DNA testing kits currently available.
MyHeritage was launched 14 years ago in Israel by Gilad Japhet, a successful entrepreneur and passionate family historian. The company started out as a genealogical search database with billions of old records, documents, newspapers, photos, and other valuable insights into our past. It later complemented its genealogical efforts with genetic research and provided its customers with a high-quality ancestry DNA test.
The company conducts business according to the direct-to-customer testing model, which means you can basically do your genetic sequencing from the comfort of your home. After you place your order, you will receive the testing kit used to collect and store your DNA sample.
When your testing kit arrives, you should first activate it on your personal online account. If you buy the kit directly from MyHeritage, you can also register it on the official website. After registration, you can perform your sample collection using the provided buccal swabs. The procedure is completely painless and usually done in 5 minutes or so. The rest of the process is pretty straightforward: simply send your DNA sample back to the testing facility and wait for your results. Your final reports should be generated within 3-4 weeks. You’ll then be able to examine your results using your account on the official site.
Once you receive your results, you can also browse available subscription plans if you’re interested in complementing your genetic findings with genealogical sources. Subscriptions also allow you to create your own family tree and use some of the exclusive MyHeritage ancestry tools. You can test the service with a free plan, which is limited to 250 individuals in your family tree and 500 MB of storage.
AncestryDNA is an integral part of the largest company in the world dedicated to genealogical research. We are, of course, talking about Ancestry.com LLC, a privately held conglomerate located in Lehi, Utah, and founded back in 1983. The company complements ancestry DNA testing with genealogical records, stories, and documents. Apart from AncestryDNA, they also own AncestryHealth, Archives.com, Find a Grave, Family Tree Maker, Rootsweb, and other brands.
In the last three years, the company provided their users with more than 16 billion historical records. The Ancestry Magazine had more than 2 million subscribers. The users generated more than 70 million family trees using 200+ million scanned photographs, written stories, and documents.
AncestryDNA follows a pretty straightforward direct-to-customer procedure when it comes to testing their users. After an order is placed, the customers will receive their DNA testing kit and collect their DNA sample for further processing. AncestryDNA uses a saliva-based kit. Once the sample is secured, it should be sent back to the company lab for sequencing.
AncestryDNA provides their users with a single test named “Ancestry DNA Test.” The test, however, covers your entire genome, which means that both autosomal and gender chromosomes will be tested. 700,000+ genetic markers are checked during the procedure, ensuring 100% accurate final reports. The results usually take around 6-8 weeks, depending on the demand at any given moment. Once your report is generated, a link to the results will be sent to your email.
Wisdom Panel is a well-known brand in the world of dog DNA testing. It’s an integral part of Mars Veterinary Division, which was introduced back in 2005 after receiving a license for its Breed Determination Test by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
The company simplified its testing procedure as much as possible in order to bring it closer to the general public. It all starts with you choosing a specific test and placing your order on the official website. Once the Wisdom Panel testing kit arrives at your home address, you should activate it online, write down the provided code, and collect the DNA sample of your pet. The company opted for buccal swabs as the easiest way of collecting the required specimen. After collection, you should secure the sample in the provided container and mail it back to the laboratory in the prepaid envelope that came with the package. Depending on the test in question, the turnaround time can be up to 3 weeks. The price of Wisdom Panel dog DNA testing kit starts at 84.99$ and the company will replace it free of charge if it gets damaged during transport.
Wisdom Panel is a veteran in the field with around 2 decades of experience if we count its contribution to the Canine Genomics Project. All the samples are processed in a very modern, hi-tech facility by a team of experienced professionals. The Breed Determination Test will compare your dog’s DNA signature against 250+ dog breeds and more than 12,000 samples held in the company’s database. Up to this point, Wisdom Panel has performed over 800,000 tests and frequently takes part in relevant research projects designed to provide us with a better understanding of man’s best friend.
Founded in 2016, Living DNA operates under the maxim “Find out where you really came from.” The company was launched by DNA Worldwide Group once they realized they needed to focus on their genetic ancestry testing service. The parent company was founded in 2004 and has collaborated with Family Tree DNA, Scotland’s DNA, and the team behind “The British Isle Study” of 2015. It is also partnered with hundreds of genetic experts, academic researchers, and scientists.
The company employs a comprehensive direct-to-customer approach when it comes to DNA sample collection. They opted for a mouth swab-based DNA testing kit delivered straight to your address. Once you’ve collected the sample of your buccal cells, you can mail it back to the laboratory for further processing.
With 650,000 genetic markers checked, Living DNA provides one of the most accurate ancestry testing solutions on the market. Additionally, every marker is tested 15 times to eliminate any possibility of error or test failure. Living DNA ancestry test is autosomal, which means it explores 22 pairs of your chromosomes, omitting the gender-related 23rd pair. This also means that you won’t receive specific results regarding your maternal and paternal ancestral line. However, your autosomal chromosomes are the richest depositories of information regarding your ancestral origins. The final report is generated within 10-12 weeks of receiving your DNA sample.
Living DNA test results cover 80 different world regions with 21 located in the British Isles, making it an ideal option for individuals expecting heavy British descend. The company also allows for raw data download, which you can use with other DNA testing companies and various online services.
Embark was born out of a commitment to dogs and passion for discovering the secrets of their genetic composition. In 2016, two respected scientists and genetic researchers, Adam and Ryan Boyko, launched what turned out to be a very successful new startup designed to decipher dogs’ DNA signatures and tell their owners, breeders, and veterinarians more about them. The main test for breed identification analyzes more than 256 quadrillion genetic combinations and provides an accurate picture of any dog’s genetic makeup. DNA samples are processed in a highly modern laboratory and the company also allows raw data download.
Embark employs the standard direct-to-customer model, which means you can do a big part of the procedure right at home. After you place an order, you’ll receive the corresponding test kit and all you’ll have to do is swab your dog for some saliva samples and mail them back to the company for further processing.
Embark’s partners include the Cornell University of Veterinary Medicine and Scientific Advisory Board. The company also takes part in various research and charity projects and gives a part of its earnings to several animal shelters it cooperates with.
Embark Dog DNA Test is the focal point of the company’s portfolio, featuring a price tag of 199$. The results will identify the breed of your dog and offer detailed ancestry research, comparing its DNA signature against more than 150 dog breeds, including wolf, coyote, and village dog. The results also offer a complete health report, determining the risk for more than 150 genetic dog diseases and calculating your pet’s genetic age. You’ll also receive comprehensive care/wellness recommendations for your dog based on its genetic age and more than 200,000 DNA markers examined. Embark’s breeder test costs 179$ and the results will teach you how to breed your particular litter for specific coat features and size. Veterinarians can also partner with Embark and sell its testing solutions in their clinics.
TeloYears is a genetic test designed to calculate your cellular age by determining your genetic age. The secret to a longer and healthier life is locked deep in your DNA and the test reaches that encoded area, relating it to how well you’re aging. Apart from telling you your exact genetic age, TeloYears should also motivate you to grow and make changes in all fields of personal wellness.
TeloYears was launched by Telomere Diagnostics Inc, which was founded in 2010. The company’s core team is comprised of four scientists, including Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn, the winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Medicine for her pioneering work in the field of telomere biology.
Before you are allowed to place your order, you’ll have to provide contact and payment information. You’ll also have to answer a couple of quick and easy questions in order to determine whether TeloYears test is a good fit for you. The given information will be reviewed by a licensed physician, who will also be placing your order for you.
Once the testing kit arrives at your address, all you’ll have to do is collect your DNA sample and mail it back to the testing facility. Note that TeloYears test uses blood as a testing specimen, unlike all other at-home DNA tests we’ve encountered so far. It just requires one drop, though, since it holds more than enough cells for successful testing. The results are usually generated 3-4 weeks after the laboratory receives your DNA sample.
GPS Origins is a modern ancestry DNA test created by Dr. Eran Elhaik and developed by DDC. Dr. Elhaik is the multidisciplinary team leader at the University of Sheffield and research associate at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. DDC, on the other hand, is a world-renowned company known for its hi-tech processing facilities with incorporated robotic sequencing technology. The conglomerate was founded in 1995, which gives it a long tradition of turning scientific marvels into widely available services.
The main advantage of the GPS Origins test is its ability to take you back up to 1,000 years in the past and pinpoint to the exact town or village where your DNA signature originated. GPS Origins testing kit is pretty straightforward and easy to use. After you’ve registered and created your personal account on the official site, you can place an order and have the DNA testing kit delivered straight to your home address. The kit comes with detailed instructions on how to perform a buccal swab and collect your DNA sample for testing. 4-6 weeks after the laboratory receives your specimen, the final results will be generated. You’ll get an email notification informing you that you can inspect your report on your personal account.
The test checks 800k genetic markers, providing extraordinary accuracy. Furthermore, it covers 36 world regions and takes 862 reference populations into account. The price of the test is 189$. DDC also allows you to transfer your raw data from other companies (Family Tree DNA, 23andMe, and AncestryDNA) for 74$.
Futura Genetics was founded in 2014 in Vancouver as a DNA testing company dedicated to maintaining a proactive lifestyle. The main idea behind the company was to familiarize the general public with the complex phenomenon that is genetic testing and keep the service as budget-friendly as possible.
The company has developed a very reliable and accurate testing method and a comprehensive at-home testing kit to match, proving that DNA testing isn’t just reserved for wealthy individuals and corporate giants. Futura Genetics screens for a wide spectrum of diseases and conditions, ranging from annoying and embarrassing to dangerous and life-threatening.
Futura Genetics DNA test costs 339 EUR (around 400$) and the final report determines your genetic predispositions for 28 genetic illnesses. Some of the included conditions are lung cancer, melanoma, Alzheimer’s disease, lupus, migraine, multiple sclerosis, prostate and breast cancer, alopecia, diabetes (type 1 and 2), and others. The test kit contains equipment for saliva collection and the procedure only takes around 2-5 minutes. The final results are usually generated 4 weeks after your DNA sample arrives at the processing facility. The kit is shipped worldwide without any additional shipping charges.
The company pays great attention to the privacy of its users and the overall security of their personal information. Your data is stored in the EEE and only handled by the company staff. SSL encryption technology is also implemented in order to protect your communication with the official website. This will protect your payment details and other sensitive information you provide during the registration process. The unique barcode is what positively identifies your testing kit, not your personal data like name or address. This makes Futura Genetics’ testing process completely anonymous. No one will know your DNA sample belongs to you. Lastly, the company never shares your information with anyone and never provides test results over the phone or email.
JScreen is a nonprofit organization partnered with Emory University and focused on screening for carriers of Jewish genetic diseases and conditions. It also tries to educate individuals with Jewish genetics heritage about the potential risks locked in their DNA. In 2014, JScreen was named one of the most innovative American Jewish organizations.
The founders of JScreen are long-term Jewish community activists Randy and Caroline Gold. They decided to educate and test people for genetic diseases after their daughter Eden was diagnosed with Mucolipidosis Type IV (ML4), a very dangerous but preventable disease. Today, the couple also runs the ML4 Foundation, looking for a cure for their daughter.
JScreen will not allow you to place an order before contacting your physician and obtaining the necessary approval. After that, you can order your JScreen testing kit and have it sent to your home address. The kit is used to collect a vial of your saliva for further processing. The procedure can be a bit tedious but it’s completely painless and usually done in 2-5 minutes. After the lab receives the sample, you can expect your results in 3-4 weeks. Emory University will contact you and you’ll also receive an email notification informing you how to proceed.
JScreen tests for 200 genetic diseases, 19 of which most commonly affect individuals with Jewish genetic heritage. Testing is also available to non-Jewish individuals.
The company got its name for 23 chromosome pairs in the human genome. They made quite the splash in the industry from the very beginning, having big-name investors such as Google, Genentech, New Enterprise Associates, and others. Unlike other DNA testing companies, 23andMe offers health-related results alongside their Ancestry Service DNA test. The medical report does add 100$ to the overall price of the test, but it’s well worth it.
For the price of 99$, 23andMe ancestry DNA test brings benefits such as genetic relatives identification, achieved by matching your DNA signature with those of known genetic populations throughout history, genetic heritage segment, which locates the region where your DNA originated, ancestry timelines, which allow you to further explore the origins of your genetic material, Neanderthal DNA, and halpogroup identification, which should reveal the first ever human to bear your DNA – you first prehistoric relative, if you will, and the originator of your genetic line.
The test explores 31 sample populations and matches your DNA against them. This simply means that 23andMe covers 31 regions of the world in their final test report. The health report, if you opt for one, will include 41 health conditions, 19 personal traits, and 7 wellness traits. The main goal of this testing instance is establishing whether your genes carry potential for hereditary diseases or not. 23andMe recently disclosed reaching 2 million collected samples in their database.