The Best DNA Testing Kit

The Best DNA Testing Kit

Our pick

AncestryDNA

AncestryDNA

A DNA test kit that’s great for tracing your roots and finding relatives

AncestryDNA makes it easy to explore your ethnic origins and offers the largest family-matching database. However, it can’t differentiate between maternal and paternal lineages, and the company’s DNA test chip collects some biomedical information.

Buying Options

$100 from Amazon
$100 from AncestryDNA

The aptly named AncestryDNA test stood out as the best DNA testing kit because it presents test results in a clearer manner than other services and places the ancestry information it provides in a useful historical context. Since all the DNA services we tested provided broadly similar results for the ethnic origins of our panel of testers, AncestryDNA’s thorough reports and interface gave it a clear advantage. Plus, for people seeking distant cousins or even biological parents, the company’s claimed DNA database of more than 18 million customers increases the odds of successful matches. Unlike most of the other services we tested, however, AncestryDNA cannot track your maternal and paternal heritage independently or trace your ancient migration path out of Africa.

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Runner-up

23andMe

23andMe

A more polished interface, with results for maternal and paternal heritage

23andme is as accurate as AncestryDNA and also provides the migration paths for maternal and paternal lineages. But its DNA database is smaller than AncestryDNA’s, and the company monetizes its customers’ biomedical data.

Buying Options

$100 from Amazon

23andMe offers the same type of ethnicity estimates (and presents the same privacy concerns) as AncestryDNA at a similar price. With a DNA database of 12 million customers, it may offer lower odds of connecting with unknown relatives, but it has the most polished site design, which makes navigating the myriad charts, reports, and explanatory documents easier than on competitors’ sites. For male testers, 23andMe can provide a look at the ancient migration paths of both maternal and paternal lines independently. We didn’t evaluate biomedical testing for this guide, but if you’re seeking info on potential health indicators in your DNA, 23andMe offers a suite of reports as a paid add-on service. Just be aware that the company monetizes your (anonymized) medical data.

Upgrade pick

FamilyTreeDNA

FamilyTreeDNA

A data trove for genealogists with a bigger budget

This DNA test is fine for tracing your general ethnic origins but shines in its optional add-ons, which provide highly detailed analysis of maternal and paternal lineages. Just be aware that the company voluntarily provides law enforcement access to its customer database.

Buying Options

$80 from FamilyTreeDNA

FamilyTreeDNA’s ethnicity estimates for our testing panel were broadly similar to those from AncestryDNA and 23andMe. Compared with those competitors, it provides the most comprehensive suite of testing options, which it offers as add-ons to the basic ethnicity test. These additional tools should satisfy nearly any genealogy buff looking to explore their connections to early human migration or wanting to find relatives from one particular side of their family tree. The company’s à la carte approach quickly adds up, though, and you can easily spend more than three times what you would with AncestryDNA or 23andMe. Those concerned about privacy should know that FamilyTreeDNA is the only DNA testing service we’re aware of that is voluntarily providing customer data access to law enforcement.

Source: NY Times – Wirecutter

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