Living DNA Review

UPDATED May. 2024
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The company’s maxim “Find out where you really come from” best portrays the scope of the ancestry test provided by Living DNA. Our Living DNA review will answer the most relevant of questions you may have concerning this test.

The company originated in 2016, out of DNA Worldwide Group’s need for a more precise focus on genetic ancestry testing. The said parent company was founded in 2004 and has since developed many a genetic test. It has collaborated with Scotland’s DNA, Family Tree DNA, and people behind The British Isle Study of 2015. It is partnered with 100+ world-leading genetics experts, scientists, and academic researchers. The fresh platform was designed to cultivate the most detailed and accurate projection of your family tree, reaching back to time immemorial.

The company’s key personnel are David Nicholson (managing director) and Hannah Morden (marketing director). In their own words, the goal of Living DNA is showing the humanity that we’re all made up of all of us. Continue reading this Living DNA review for more information.

LivingDNA Homepage


How Living DNA Works

With Living DNA, ordering and performing your DNA test including the following steps:

  • Online order, through the option offered on the website. The test kit is then sent straight to the provided address.
  • Kit activation, which is also done online for the purpose of correlating your sample with the results.
  • Sample collection, with the provided easy-to-operate mouth swab.
  • Posting the kit back, using the provided free returns bag.
  • Viewing your results online within 10 to 12 weeks.

There is not much to say about the kit itself. There are two mouth-swab collectors packed in a cardboard box, alongside an instructional brochure. The decision to go with mouth swabs instead of saliva containers definitely makes the shipping process safer for the samples.

LivingDNA Testing Process

Why Choose Living DNA

Living DNA is definitely an impressive ancestry testing service. It’s the only company that can uncover your potential British or Irish descent up to 80,000 years in the past and let you explore your ancestry on a regional level.  The benefits of using the Living DNA service are indeed numerous, so let’s go over some of the pivotal ones:

  • Cutting-edge software innovations and DNA chip technology
  • Collaboration with top scientists and researchers
  • The most region-specific results regarding your ancestry and DNA roots. Living DNA covers 80 different regions around the world
  • The British Isles are represented via 21 regions, which gives the most in-depth regional DNA breakdown for people originating from those areas
  • Raw data results provided, which you can use on genealogy research sites for extra info
  • Free shipping
  • Excellent privacy policy and security of your personal information and test results
  • Free test updates


Living DNA offers 3 testing solutions to its customers, including the so-called Starter Kit, the Ancestry DNA kit, and the newly introduced DNA Wellbeing report.

The Starter Kit provides you with reports on your global ancestry, DNA matching, nutrition, and fitness. The health portion of the results shows whether you are prone to vitamin D deficiency and recommends the type of exercise that will yield the best response from your muscles. The test costs 89.00$ + shipping.

The Ancestry DNA test is based on a customized version of the Illumina Chip Tech, the GSA (Global Screen Array). The high precision comes from representing each of the 650,000 encoded markers at least 15 times.

The test researches all of the 22 autosomal chromosomes but also inspects 4,000 areas in your mitochondrial DNA and 21,000 areas of your Y chromosome. Autosomal chromosomes are the richest repositories of information concerning your heritage, but the so-called “sex chromosomes” (X and Y) allow you to explore your direct father and motherlines.

The purpose of the test can ultimately be reduced to determining the DNA polymorphisms as a bundle of preselected locations in your genome. Said locations dictate all of your characteristics and reveal your ancestry. These “locations” are the aforementioned encoded markers (650,000 of them). The Ancestry DNA kit costs 79$ + shipping.

Lastly, the newly implemented Wellbeing test will tell you more about your vitamin response, food metabolism, and exercise recovery while giving you useful tips regarding exercise regimens ideal for your genetic composition. You can purchase it with the Ancestry kit for 109$ + shipping.

Understanding The Results

The software and various systems used to interpret and analyze DNA samples have been designed in association with leading academics from Oxford and Bristol University. Over 25 experts were included in the projects as well.

The test results include:

  • Motherline ancestry – You will see your assignment in the maternal haplogroup, representing the location of your branch on the human family tree. Everyone with your haplogroup will be connected to an ancient ancestor who lived tens of thousands of years in the past. The percentages will also show the highest point of geographical impact for your haplogroup.
  • Fatherline ancestry – This section of the results is exclusively available to males. Females lack the Y chromosome, which needs to be explored for information on fatherline genealogy. The results follow the same blueprint as the previous category in order to determine the father’s side of your human family tree branch.
  • Family ancestry – This part will give you data on the highest similarity between world populations and your autosomal DNA. Given that your DNA is checked against 80 different world regions, the results should be pretty accurate and on-point.
  • Back in time map – This map can allow you to visualize your test results.
ancestry Motherline

The DNA testing arena is filled with odd and scientific terms, which might prove too difficult to understand. That’s why we’ll explain the science behind the test results.

Here are the mother/fatherline ancestry results explained:

  • Haplogroups and subcladesThe numbers and letters found here are just the names of genetic signatures. They’re represented via numbers and letters because marker—identification would be too drawn-out. These markers make your “personal signature,” otherwise known as a subclade. A group of related subclades makes a haplogroup.
  • Coverage map – It shows where your haplogroup has the highest relevance in the world.
  • History – It provides historic and genetic information on your haplogroup.
  • Migration map – It shows the potential migration route your motherline lineage took from Africa onwards.
  • Phylogenetic tree – It positions your subclade on the family tree for the whole of humanity.
results Autosomal

We’ll also further explain the “female conundrum” regarding paternal ancestry. Autosomal results are filed under family ancestry since autosomal genes are inherited both from the father and the mother. Mitochondrial results, however, are what determines our motherlines. Mitochondrial DNA is passed down from mothers to both male and female children unchanged. This is a closer explanation of what makes your haplogroup. The ability to follow one’s ancestry millennia in reverse is owed to the unchanging nature of the mother’s mitochondrial DNA.

Alas, the Y chromosome is needed in order to generate fatherline results. If a female wants information on the said lineage, her father, brother, paternal grandfather or uncle will have to be tested to acquire that data. Once finished, you can see your results in the secure section of the customer platform. The system is very user-friendly and features helpful images and explanations. The optional printed version can also be obtained with a surcharge. The extra fee is region-dependent, but it’s usually around 70$.

Finally, you can sign up for a free Living DNA 7-Day Email Course. It will help you better understand how DNA is relevant to you and how testing works. More importantly, you will also learn what happens to your DNA data and how to use it in the best way. Considering it’s free, we recommend taking this course and learning more about DNA in general.


Living DNA offers you the possibility to take part in DNA research, ultimately aimed at uncovering connections between all the humans in the world. With the company’s recently introduced health-related DNA test, we suppose its research projects will start dealing with the science of illness-bearing genes as well.

Participating in research projects is done exclusively with the customer’s consent, so your data will not be used for anything you haven’t explicitly allowed. Once given, your consent can also be withdrawn at any time, without any additional explanation.

Living DNA Privacy

Privacy And Security

Persons under 18 can only be tested with the explicit consent of their parent or legal custodian. Furthermore, the order must come from the parent’s/custodian’s e-mail address. Living DNA features an ISO:27001 certification, which means your data will be well-protected and secure at all times. All the information is kept between you and the person responsible for processing your test. The sample is processed without identity, which means the only things team members can see are your sample and the relevant ID number.

The samples are processed and raw data generated in the Eurofins laboratory in Denmark and analyzed in the UK headquarters of Living DNA. Outside of Living DNA, only you can inspect your final results.

Shipping And Handling

The easiest and fastest ordering option is through the company’s website. You can order it for yourself or as a gift.The company headquarters are situated in the UK and its facilities are in the US. With such a geographic layout, Living DNA can provide its tests to customers all around the world. If you’re not from the US/UK or EU, check the customs policies relevant for your country.

Standard, untracked delivery takes approximately:

  • 5-10 business days for the UK/US
  • 10-15 business days for the EU
  • 14-20 business days for the rest of the world

Premium delivery takes around:

  • 2-3 business days for the UK/US
  • 5-10 business days anywhere else

Once the order is dispatched, you will receive a notification via e-mail. This message will feature your kit ID, which will be the identification number for the results. The kit will also include a prepaid return mailer. Return postage is done through second class and is untracked. You can pay for the tracking option, if you so choose, however. The company has a “December disclaimer,” which pleads for understanding in case of delays during the holiday season.

Bottom Line

Living DNA is made by an industry’s giant and backed up by proficient personnel and cutting-edge technology. Its aim is two-fold; providing consumers with high-quality DNA testing service and showing us that there was a time when our collective DNA was united. We hope our Living DNA review helped draw those concepts a bit closer to you.

The managing director David Nicholson states that Living DNA feels like watching the history of your family on a High Def TV. We’ll have to agree, as the results offered are precise and staggeringly detailed. Most importantly, they cover tens of millennia behind us, providing a clear picture of how your specific family tree developed.

Time will tell where Living DNA will go from here, but with all the innovations and different testing options it will surely implement in the years to come, it is probably here to stay.

User Reviews (32)

Living DNA customer rating based on 32 user reviews.

The Living DNA reviews listed below reflect the opinions and experiences of real users and are in no way influenced by the company reviewed here. Before publishing each review, our team checks whether it was submitted by an actual user in an effort to prevent false or spammy reviews.

  1. John Munroe | March 21, 2021

    This is the second time I’ve contacted you about this problem. Over a year ago, I sent you my fee and you sent me the kit to send my saliva sample. The test failed and you never sent me another kit or refunded my money. I’m still waiting for you to do one or the other.

  2. Charles Misfeldt | February 23, 2020

    Do not purchase this service. My results were “Europe zone 100 percent” if I wanted results from 17 other regions I am required to pay 39 more dollars. I will not throw good money after bad. I will go elsewhere and I recommend you do not waste your money here.

    • Charles Misfeldt | February 23, 2020

      Excuse the second review I did not realize I had already done one on this site.

    • Virginia | May 29, 2020

      It sounds like you purchased the “starter kit” which states on the website that it only includes a continent-level break down as far as ancestry goes. There is a separate ancestry test.

  3. Charles Misfeldt | February 16, 2020

    I bought what I thought was a comprehensive regional breakdown of my ancestry, what I got was a report that stated 100 percent European with an offer to give me a regional breakdown of all 17 regions if I upgraded for 39 dollars. I opted to spend no further money with these folks and go somewhere else. Don’t waste your money on a product sold through such deception.

  4. Aiza Hayes | January 9, 2020

    It’s great that Living DNA offers combined ancestry and health test combined. I’m glad I managed to find out more about myself and my family’s history for less than 100$. I can honestly say it was the money well spent!

  5. Willem Black | January 9, 2020

    I’ve ordered The Ancestry DNA kits since I’m a huge history buff and I want to know everything there is to know about my past. I did my research and I think this is one of the best ancestry tests available on the market with more than affordable price. I was very pleased with the results and decided to help Living DNA with their research projects by giving them consent to use my results for research purposes.

  6. Fatma Lozano | December 9, 2019

    I thought that Living DNA’s Wellbeing test is the perfect present for my overly active boyfriend who simply lives and breeds sports. It arrived at our home address, we registered without any problems, took a mouth swab and sent it back free of charge. He was thrilled when the results came back and he immediately started with his new and improved fitness regime.

  7. Sandra | August 15, 2019

    I ordered two tests in December 2017. I did get results for the mitochondrial and Y DNA. To date only one match to my father which is me. My husband’s test has no matches. He has a ton of matches on other sites. I have not had any other communications from this company.
    I uploaded a test from Ancestry in January 2018. It was my test and I did match my father. It is the only match out of three tests. I guess if I want more matches I will need to upload more tests from Ancestry? Does anyone have matches from this site? Am I doing something wrong or is this site a dead-end?

  8. Joseph Flores | July 8, 2019

    The best DNA company ever…accurate…on everything…my haplogroups glad i tested with living DNA….23andme lousy always waiting for updates on what my ethnicity might turn out to be!same with all the other sites….not living DNA it gives me every thing on what i am ethnicity wise…thankyou living DNA

  9. Paul Dove | May 24, 2019

    I uploaded my DNA file, from Ancestry, and my wife’s, from 23andme, and then waited and waited. A month later, after progressing through various stages of “testing”, the status for both went back to Uploaded and hasn’t changed since. No idea why but might be related to me deciding not to continue my membership of their partnering company Find my Past; without the DNA analysis I didn’t see any point in continuing with Find my Past but I did expect to get DNA results eventually from Living DNA.

  10. RCCCCcweraer | May 11, 2019

    You do not want to use LivingDNA. They have operational and lab issues. They are disorganized, unable to respond even within a week to a question. They apparently outsource to two different labs in different countries and yet their business is in England. We started the process in January as as of today, no results. It doesn’t matter if their testing is good, we can’t get our results and how much confidence can we have when they are not operationally sound?

  11. JBobela | May 3, 2019

    I submitted my Livingdna test and received an acknowledgement on Jan 8, 2019. I subsequently checked my account and found my dna test was pending with a scheduled completion date of April 2, 2019. So far so good. Then in the beginning of April the problems began. First I couldn’t login—response was that there was an incorrect entry; I couldn’t find a hot button to request password reset on the login page. Once resolved and I logged in, my account did not show any pending or completed tests—my account is there but no tests. Several emails later, I am repeatedly informed there was a system upgrade and all should be resolved. Each time I log in, there are no pending or completed tests. It is May 3, 2019 and I still have nothing. Clearing history and cache does nothing to solve the problem as they suggest. Very disappointed. The grand reviews by major media outlets can’t be true. Stick with the tried and true ancestry sites.

  12. DChane | March 3, 2019

    Living DNA never received my test and I have been asking for a replacement test or refund and they are not responding. I have been communicating with them via email (the only way I’ve found to contact them in the US) and they are radio silent after two months. Buyer beware – their support is non-existent.

    • Klee | March 11, 2019

      Try contacting them via their FB page on messenger….I got a reply within a few days….good luck!

  13. Steve | March 1, 2019

    Good results for geneology, have uploaded the dna results into various databases without issue.
    Everything delivered on time, no problem. Deducted 1 star because the cousin match feature still not running but since you can now upload elsewhere perhaps not a big deal

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