DNA testing has progressed a long way from a futuristic technique to a widely available, comprehensive process. With numerous DNA testing companies entering the market every year, appointing the best DNA tests grows ever harder.
The principal factor in choosing the best DNA test for you are your own needs and expectations. The absence of a clear-cut purpose will have you pendulating back and forth between companies and their services, afraid of making a misguided and uninformed choice.
Our guide to the best DNA tests of 2017 will present companies and services whose very names promise the highest of standards. Personal motives for DNA testing and expected end-goals, however, will be yours to unriddle.
- AncestryDNA database contains over 4 million registered users
- Possibility of raw DNA data download for further application
- The test checks 700,000 genetic markers within your genome
- An interdisciplinary team made of renowned professionals
- Modern DNA processing facility with ISO 17025 certification
- A wide range of testing solutions with guaranteed anonymity
- 80 world regions covered, alongside 21 in the British Isles
- The company offers unlimited updates of your DNA results
- 15-fold analysis of 650,000 genetic markers in your genome
- The widest array of different DNA tests on the market
- Free updates of your test results after the initial order
- Free transfer of raw data from AncestryDNA & 23andME
- Owned state-of-the-art laboratory with CLIA certification
- “Now and Later” packs available, allowing you to save money
- Exclusive testing methods with no room for potential errors
- One of the most accurate tests with 800,000+ SNP checked
- The test covers 36 regions and 862 reference populations
- Family Tree DNA, 23andMe, and AncestryDNA raw data transfer
- The DNA samples are processed by world-leading DNA experts
- One of the broadest set of testing solutions on the market
- Flexible DNA sampling policy and quick turnaround times
- 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 reports show potential for hereditary conditions
- 570,000 genetic markers checked within Ancestry Service
- Company Database contains around 2 million registered users
- Cutting-edge testing facilities with ISO 17025 certification
- The most affordable relationship DNA testing you can find
- Numerous testing solutions with flexible payment/order plans
Ranking Criteria Explained
Before even approaching this ultimate guide, our professional team defined numerous ranking criteria to put DNA testing providers under heavy scrutiny.
The most prominent ranking factors include:
- Test quality and accuracy
- The size of the user database
- Potential room for errors and test failures
- Waiting time
- Overall service quality
- Membership features and benefits
- Community development
- Results transfer possibility
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 top 5 best-ranked DNA tests of 2017.
We’ll elaborate further 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.
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.
- DNA test checks 700k genetic markers, which equips the procedure with high-level accuracy
- The end-results also include information about your potential Native American ancestry lines
- Top priority is given to the safety of your personal information
- You can enter several interesting projects aimed at developing the science of genetic genealogy even further
Test results will 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
- “Map and Locations” map is a special add-on for subscribers of Ancestry Magazine. The map 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.
New Life Genetics Review
New Life Genetics is a Danish DNA testing provider founded in 2014 with headquarters located in Silkeborg. The company has a vision of providing everyone with an opportunity to live a longer life and maintain a healthier lifestyle. This is achieved through unlocking the genetic information stored deep within our DNA signatures. Our genetic code has answers to the biggest medical mysteries of today and New Life Genetics is dedicated to deciphering those sequences and gaining a better understanding of the “human condition.”
Once you place your order through their website, the test kit will be shipped to your address within the next 24 hours. After registering your test kit, you can proceed to collect your DNA sample with provided buccal swabs. New Life Genetics offers 8 separate testing options, each designed to provide you with the optimal insight into your genetic health and wellness. The sequencing is performed in a medical grade laboratory with ISO 17025 certification by an interdisciplinary team of highly qualified scientists. The average turnaround time for all tests is around 20 business days. You can order multiple tests for personal use but also as gifts.
Just note that New Life Genetics doesn’t feature the option of sending DNA testing kits to multiple addresses. Once you testing kit arrives, you have a window of 60 days to send it back for processing. The company implements various measures to keep your personal information as secure as possible. All connections to the site, your payments, and results are encrypted with SSL technology.
Living DNA Review
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
- “Back in Time” map, with a comprehensive historic 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.
Family Tree DNA Review
The company itself might not have as much experience as some of the competition, but their founder, a widely known Gene by Gene conglomerate, already had more than 5 million people tested by 1999, when it decided to segregate genetic genealogy research by introducing Family Tree DNA.
Their portfolio features the widest of arrays on the market when it comes to different DNA tests. All variations aside, they can all be compartmentalized into 3 main groups. Besides stand-alone DNA tests, they also offer several bundled options, which save money and time spent on separate tests.
Their autosomal test is simply named “Family Finder” and it is accompanied by Y and mitochondrial tests. Not many DNA testing companies offer these tests separately, so it’s one more thing that makes Family Tree DNA stand out. Even when autosomal tests include inspections of Y-chromosome and mitochondrial DNA, they do not provide separate results, which can be quite a costly hindrance if you just want to discover your paternal or maternal lineages.
- Founded by an experienced genetic conglomerate
- The widest offer of DNA tests
- Exploration of potential Jewish heritage
- Cutting-edge technology
- Exhaustive knowledge base with frequent free webinars
- Shipping worldwide
- Free result updates
- Data transfer is possible from AncestryDNA and 23andMe
- Personalized customer support
The Family Finder test, however, is what brought Family Tree DNA to the top of the list.
The price is 89$ and these are the main benefits:
- Discover potential DNA relatives throughout the Family Tree DNA database (around 500k people)
- Connect with and adding them to your personal family tree
- Trace your ancestry throughout history
- Uncover the geographical impact of your DNA
- Compare solitary chromosome via Chromosome Browser
- View migration patterns of up to 16 generations of your forebears
- The test can be bundled with Y-tests and full sequence mitochondrial exploration
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 Review
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.
Live Well Testing Review
Live Well Testing is an e-commerce branch of Confirm BioSciences, Inc. located in San Diego, California. They cover a broad spectrum of budget-friendly DNA testing solutions designed to improve the overall health of your body, pets, and environment.
Confirm BioSciences started out in 2008, developing drug and alcohol tests for employers, schools, individuals, and governments. They are ranked among the top 25 San Diego companies and listed as #1136 on the Inc.com top 5000 rankings for 2016. Live Well Testing follows the same standards of excellence their parent company established almost a decade ago.
Live Well Testing is an e-commerce website with a rich help section covering answers to the most commonly asked questions. Once you decide on a certain test, you can place your order and have the corresponding testing kit delivered to your home address. We can’t get into the specifics of the sample collection here since the process varies between different tests. As we said, you can find all the necessary information (and then some) on the site. Turnaround time also depends on the test you opt for.
The company features a highly competent and professional team of scientists and the largest portfolio of individual tests on the market. The A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau guarantees high-quality service and an effective user support. Live Well Testing also allows you to perform DNA tests using alternative specimens like hair, blood, and various body excretions. Shipping is free and the company has a price match guarantee in place, making sure you always get the lowest price tag possible.
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 population throughout history, identifying your genetic relatives
- Genetic heritage, which pinpoints where your DNA strain came from. You will be able to further explore your genetic origins through ancestry timeline
- Haplogroups determination will show you the origins of the first human ever to bear your DNA
- Neanderthal DNA, showing how many percents of your current genome 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
- 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.
Paternity Depot Review
Paternity Depot offers the lowest prices and the quickest turnaround times on the market. The company was founded about a decade ago with offices in New York and Toronto. Apart from paternity testing, they also offer other testing solutions, which is important to note since people often get confused because of the name.
Paternity Depot follows the clear pattern set by the direct-to-customer business model, allowing you to perform DNA sample collection at home. You can order one of their testing solutions through their official website or by phone. The company chose to implement a DNA testing kit based on buccal swabs instead of saliva. Different customers have different preferences, but it’s a completely painless procedure that takes only a couple of minutes of your time. Paternity Depot offers a multitude of ways you can receive your final report, including email, phone, fax, and others.
If you are unable to perform a buccal swab, Paternity Depot offers DNA testing solutions through alternative sources, including blood found on any material, semen, bones or teeth, toothbrush, dental floss, chewing gum, toothpick, used handkerchief or Kleenex, urine, cigarette butts, razors, licked envelopes, nail clippings, and others.
Paternity Depot has executed more than 300,000 tests so far, guaranteeing 99.99% test accuracy. Apart from legal and non-legal paternity testing, they also offer sibling, avuncular, and grandparent DNA tests. The final report usually arrives within 7 business days.
Choosing The Best DNA Test For Your Needs
Our ultimate guide covers all the possible options for DNA testing, regardless of your preferences and specific needs. Whatever you opt for, you will be informed of the best way to go about it and how to make the most informed choice possible. This guide is updated regularly, so it will always incorporate the newest breakthroughs on the market. Here’s a little example of how to choose the best DNA test.
If you’re not interested in deep ancestry and want to establish a paternal/maternal relationship or you need a DNA test for immigration, child support, family pension or similar purposes, you’ll choose DDC and one of their many tests. For more expensive iterations, they always offer payment plans, so you don’t have to worry about collecting all the funds at once.
Speaking of ancestry DNA tests, if you expect British origins or just want the most detailed ethnic map, Living DNA is the way to go. The most in-depth matchmaking is done by 23andMe. Family Tree DNA has the most impressive list of tests, they offer separate y and mitochondrial results, as well as many possible bundles and combinations. AncestryDNA has the biggest genealogical support and the highest number of related institutions and features. Not to mention the biggest database.