Ranking Criteria Explained
In order to make this ultimate guide of the best DNA tests available, our professional team defined numerous ranking criteria to put DNA testing providers under heavy scrutiny.
The most significant criteria that we used in order to measure the reliability of the tests featured on our list included test quality and accuracy and the likelihood of errors and test failures. Of no lesser importance was the size of the user database searched for potential DNA matches. Service quality was assessed by employing criteria including but not limited to waiting times and features and benefits available to members. Finally, we took into account the prices of the tests and determined whether they were justified by the quality of the service provided.
With these and other, less significant determinants, we were able to produce a wide comparison between leading companies on the market and their tests. Each of them was tested objectively, which resulted in our ultimate guide to the
best-ranked DNA tests of 2017.
We’ll talk more about each DNA testing provider in the following reviews, explaining the advantages these companies hold over the competition. You can familiarize yourself with their services in broad strokes here and follow up your research with our full-length reviews for each DNA testing company.
MyHeritage is a combination of genealogical exploration and ancestry DNA testing. The company was founded back in 2003 in Bnei Atarot, Israel, which is also its corporate headquarters. MyHeritage was born out of Gilad Japhet’s passion for entrepreneurship and discovering the distant history of his family lineage. Apart from its corporate center, the company also has branches in New York and Utah. MyHeritage implemented an ancestry DNA test in 2016, which skyrocketed the company among the market giants. So, apart from the 2.7 billion users in its family trees, 93 million users worldwide, and 8.3 billion historical records, MyHeritage can also provide a precise and reliable picture of your genetic origins and the geographic movement of your ancient relatives throughout the ages.
MyHeritage DNA test is autosomal, which means it inspects genetic markers within 22 pairs of your chromosomes. The price of the test is 99$ (with frequent discounts) and the processing is done in Family Tree DNA’s lab. The facility is CLIA-certified and CAP-accredited, which ensures top-of-the-line service. The team in charge of processing your DNA sample is highly skilled and professional, leaving absolutely zero room for any errors or test failures. Apart from its DNA test, you can also purchase a MyHeritage subscription and start browsing the veritable thesaurus of human history. The available subscription plans include Data subscription, Free plan, MyHeritage Premium, and MyHeritage PremiumPlus.
Data subscription (13.27$ per year) gives you access to MyHeritage genealogical collection filled with birth, marriage, and death records, old directories, guides, yearbooks, and newspapers, military, legal, and census records, and photos, family trees, maps, and documents. As for the Free plan, the basic features of MyHeritage service will always be completely free of charge. This includes up to 250 people in your family tree and up to 500 MB of storage. This option is more than generous since it allows you to get started with your ancestral exploration without investing a single dollar.
MyHeritage Premium subscription (9.17$ per month, billed annually) implements the expansion of your family tree to 2,500 relatives, provides priority support, and gives access to MyHeritage family sites and members collection feature in SuperSearch, Family Tree Builder Platinum, and enhanced Smart Matching. MyHeritage PremiumPlus subscription (10.95$ per month, billed annually) improves on the Premium option and comes with an unlimited size family tree. You’ll also receive full access to Instant Discoveries, which allows you to add entire branches to your family tree with a single click.
AncestryDNA is an integral part of the largest genealogical enterprise today. It was “born” out of necessity to complement genealogy with genetics in efforts to research the deep ancestry of humanity as a species. There are several segments besides AncestryDNA, like AncestryHealth and their Ancestry online magazine with over 2 million paying subscribers and 16 million uploaded historic records, documents, personal stories, and photos. It enriches the overall DNA testing experience and puts faces on some of your newly found relatives.
The second-ranked DNA test offered by the company is simply called “Ancestry DNA Test.” It includes autosomal testing, as well as Y-chromosome and mitochondrial examination. This is the poster case for what we’ve talked about in the previous digest review. The test does include paternal/maternal lineage exploration, but separate results and testing are not available anymore.
The test results provide possible DNA matches within the biggest DNA database in the industry (4 million people), an interactive ethnicity map, enabling you to see your ancestors through time on a geographical scale, including permanent locations and migration routes, DNA circles, providing the possibility of gathering in clusters with your living relatives found through AncestryDNA, and the “Map and Locations” map (special add-on for Ancestry Magazine subscribers) that will show you the birthplaces of your ancestors, ranging back up to 10 generations.
AncestryDNA recently expanded their shipping capabilities to 35 countries around the world.
Wisdom Panel is a branch of Mars Veterinary, which is a branch of Mars Incorporated. It might come off as a surprise that Mars sells anything but candy, but you should know that the company’s portfolio also includes brands like Whiskas, Pedigree, Royal Canin, and many more. Mars Veterinary was launched back in 2005 after their Breed Determination Patent got licensed by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
Wisdom Panel collects DNA samples for testing via the direct-to-customer process. After you decide on a specific test, you can order it on the official website. Once the appropriate testing kit arrives and you perform a simple cheek swab on your pet, you should send the sample back and just wait for the results. The final report is usually generated around 3 weeks after the processing lab receives your shipment.
Wisdom Panel currently offers three different DNA tests, includingWisdom Panel 4.0 (84.99$), Optimal Selection Canine Genetic Breeding Analysis (129.99$), andOptimal Selection Feline Genetic Breeding Analysis (99.99$)
Mars Veterinary started its ambitious research history back in 1999 and has continued to investigate animal genetic composition up until the present day. The company started out with the Canine Genomics Project and has conducted numerous research projects since.
This is the youngest company on our list, being founded in 2016. It’s a subsidiary of DNA Worldwide Group, which is on the market since 2004. The said parent company worked closely with Family Tree DNA, Scotland’s DNA, and well over a hundred leading academic researchers, scientists, and genetic experts in order to bring out a fresh platform to the market.
What makes Living DNA stand out is the fact that their ancestry test covers 80 regions of the world. It also offers the most in-depth coverage of the British Isles, with 21 regions included. So, if you expect British origins, Living DNA test is three steps in front of everybody else. The test follows the “3-in-1” principle, meaning it checks your autosomal and gender chromosomes as part of a single test. As we already said for this model, there is no possibility for separate testing and results.
The price of the test is 159$ (with frequent discounts) and it provides great accuracy of the results, with 650k genetic markers checked, excellent ethnic coverage and geographical information due to 80 regions explored, thousands of years look-back, searching for your DNA relatives, and the “Back in Time” map, with a comprehensive historical overview of your genetic ancestry.
The platform still doesn’t offer relative matching, but we’re promised this feature in the near future. The database is still rather modest, but it is to be expected, given the company’s youth.
Embark is a dog DNA testing company founded by Adam and Ryan Boyko, two enthusiastic researchers and scientists who dedicated their professional careers to unriddling the genetic foundation for numerous dog diseases and traits. The company works closely with a multitude of breeders and veterinarians who are constantly collecting new data to aid in the ongoing research.
Embark follows the standard direct-to-customer business model, allowing you to order your testing kit online and collect the DNA sample(s) yourself. Once you place your order, the shipment will leave the warehouse in 1-2 business days and should arrive pretty quickly, depending on your location. The final report is usually generated 8 weeks after the lab receives your DNA specimens.
Embark Dog DNA Test costs 199$ and it offers a wide array of useful and accurate information. The test check 200,000 genetic markers, which will ensure the aforementioned precision. Furthermore, Embark will look for traces of more than 150 dog breeds (including coyote, village dog, and wolf ancestry)in your pet’s DNA and give you accurate results regarding breed composition and ancestry. Your dog(s) DNA will also be screened for more than 160 genetic diseases. Finally, the results will help you determine your pet’s genetic age translated into human years. Embark also offers tailored genetic tests for breeders with the price tag of 179$. Bulk orders come at a significant discount.
TeloYears is a genetic test developed by Telomere Diagnostics Inc. The company was launched in 2010 and its core team includes Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn, the winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Medicine for pioneering work in the field of telomere biology.
The basic idea behind the test lies in measuring the cellular age encoded in your DNA signature. This information also helps you realize the correlation between your cellular age and your aging process in general. The test should inspire people to grow and improve in all fields of personal wellness.
You can begin the procedure by providing answers to a couple of simple questions designed to determine your fit for the TeloYears DNA test. After this information is reviewed by a qualified in-house doctor, your order will be placed for you. Note that the company uses an independent team of physicians, all certified to order genetic tests. Once the DNA testing kit arrives at your address, you’ll need to collect one drop of your blood and send it back for further processing.
The price of the TeloYears test is 89$ and you also can also purchase their Now and Later pack. TeloYears is a test you should do basically every year if you really want to monitor the length of your telomeres on a regular basis. The Now and Later pack is designed to save you money and allow you to view your life improvements over a period of 6 or 12 months. TeloYears is an incredibly accurate test since one drop of human blood contains more than 50,000 cells. This means the test will never fail, also leaving zero room for errors.
GPS Origins is a modern ancestry DNA test offered by DNA Diagnostic Center, one of the most hi-tech companies in the field. The main advantage of this test is its ability to provide users with extremely specific ancestral results, often pinpointing to an exact state. The test was developed by Dr. Eran Elhaik, the multidisciplinary team leader at the University of Sheffield.
DDC is a well-known brand in the field of genetic testing for its robotics technology used in DNA sequencing and modern testing facilities. It was launched back in 1995 with the idea of making scientific breakthroughs in the field of genetic testing available to the general public.
The company follows a simple straight-to-customer pattern, allowing you to do most of the work from the comfort of your home. Once you’ve placed an online order and created your personal account, you’ll receive a DNA testing kit designed to collect your sample for further processing. The company utilizes buccal swabs instead of saliva-based sample collection. With your buccal cells stored in the designated vials, you can send the kit back to DDC for sequencing.
GPS Origins checks 800,000 genetic markers and covers 36 regions with 862 reference populations. This makes it one of the most precise and accurate ancestry DNA tests on the market. It traces your genetic ancestry more than 1,000 years in the past, pinpointing to exact towns and villages. One of the best features of DDC is their extensive database with more than 10,000 genetic signatures. The final report is usually generated within 4-6 weeks.
Futura Genetics is a young DNA testing provider launched in 2014, with headquarters in Vancouver. The company specializes in healthcare and lifestyle DNA testing and provides its users with a comprehensive and affordable doorway into the human genome. The core philosophy of Futura Genetics is to make genetic data available to the general public as opposed to corporate giants and rich individuals.
Once you place an order on the official Futura Genetics website, an at-home testing kit will be shipped to your address using free express shipping. After you register your testing kit and collect your DNA sample, you can send it back to the processing lab and wait for the results. Your report will usually be ready within 4 weeks and it’ll be available online for your inspection.
JScreen is a nonprofit partner of Emory University dedicated to education and carrier screening programs for Jewish genetic diseases. It was listed as one of the most innovative American Jewish organizations in 2014. The enterprise was founded by Randy and Caroline Gold, long-term Jewish community activists. Apart from JScreen, the Golds also run the ML4 foundation trying to discover a cure for their daughter’s Mucolipidosis Type IV (ML4).
JScreen implements the classic model of sending DNA testing kits to your home address. The sample collection is saliva-based and the whole procedure takes between 2 and 5 minutes. Once you send your sample back to the lab, you can expect your final results in around 3-4 weeks. You will be contacted by Emory University regarding your results and receive an email notification informing you how to proceed.
Note that JScreen cannot send you any DNA testing kits without a previous approval from your physician. If you want an additional elaboration on your results, you can always set up a video conference with one of the genetic experts employed by JScreen.
The test scans for 200 genetic diseases, 19 of which are almost exclusive to individuals with Jewish genetic heritage. If you don’t have insurance or can’t afford the test, you can apply for JScreen’s financial assistance program and receive limited financial support. JScreen will also test all females for Fragile X Syndrome completely free of charge since women have a 50% chance of transferring the illness to their children after giving birth.
23andMe is named for the 23 pairs of chromosomes in the human genome. They announced their presence loudly right from the start by having backers and investors such as Google, New Enterprise Associates, Genentech, and others.
They are one of the few companies providing health and medical-related reports with their “Ancestry Service” test. Speaking of which, you can either order ancestry service on its own for 99$ or include health reports as well for 100$ extra.
The ancestry DNA test includes matching your DNA with known genetic populations throughout history and identifying your genetic relatives, establishing your genetic heritage, which pinpoints where your DNA strain came from, discovering your haplogroups, which can show you the origins of the first human ever to bear your DNA, and revealing the percentage of your current genome that is inherited from your Neanderthal ancestors.
The test covers 31 regions of the world, meaning it matches your DNA against 31 sample populations. 23andMe is constantly working on expanding the number of regions covered, adding to the overall precision of the test.
The health-related results cover 41 health conditions, 19 personal traits, and 7 wellness traits.
The main purpose of the health portion of the test is determining whether some of your genes carry hereditary health conditions or not. The 23andMe database currently has around 1 million people.