The Greatest DNA Testing Package

An open AncestryDNA kit, our pick for the best ancestry DNA test, on a plain white surface.
Photograph: Caroline Enos

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AncestryDNA makes it straightforward to discover your ethnic origins and provides the most important household matching database. It could’t differentiate between maternal and paternal lineages, and the corporate’s DNA check chip does acquire some biomedical info.

Shopping for Choices

*On the time of publishing, the value was $100.

AncestryDNA is the service we suggest for most individuals who wish to study their ethnic heritage and/or join with unknown family. It’s additionally one of the crucial reasonably priced companies we evaluated, and our testers ranked it among the many prime in providing helpful info in an clear presentation. The corporate additionally has the most important reported database of DNA prospects we’ve seen, offering considerably greater odds of a profitable seek for up to date family than its opponents.

A screenshot of an AncestryDNA ethnicity estimate page showing percentages along side a map’s web site presents helpful ethnicity info in an easy-to-understand format.

All corporations have entry to public ancestry information units just like the Human Genome Diversity Project and International HapMap Project. AncestryDNA, like all the companies we examined, additionally depends on DNA samples from its personal prospects who’ve consented to take part in such analysis. The upshot is that every firm has its personal mixture of DNA reference samples to attract from, explaining why you’ll get barely totally different ethnicity percentages from totally different corporations. AncestryDNA’s V2 reference panel incorporates 3,000 particular person DNA samples meant to symbolize 26 distinct geographic areas.

An AncestryDNA estimate pages showing a results pie chart, genetic communities tile and DNA Matches panel with profile images of cousin matches
As soon as your outcomes are prepared you possibly can view details about your genetic ancestry in addition to potential family decided by means of DNA matching.

Starting the testing course of is simple. Contained in the packaging, clearly marked directions immediate you to register your DNA equipment on the corporate’s web site, create a buyer account, log out on the phrases of service settlement, and select if you wish to grant consent in your outcomes for use anonymously in analysis tasks by AncestryDNA or in collaboration with third events.

The subsequent step is to gather your DNA pattern by filling the supplied tube with saliva. The instructions state that you should chorus from consuming, ingesting, smoking, or chewing gum for at the least 30 minutes previous to gathering your pattern.

A person securing the top on and then shaking a DNA saliva collection tube, as specified by the DNA testing kit instructions.
After submitting the tube with saliva and screwing on the supplied cap to launch a stabilizing liquid, you should shake the tube for a couple of seconds earlier than packing it up for cargo. Video: Caroline Enos

Each the registration and the DNA assortment course of are easy and well-documented. The entire thing takes about 10 to 15 minutes. A small USPS pay as you go delivery field is supplied so that you can ship your pattern to the testing lab.

Our panel of testers shipped their samples from New York, California, and Texas. The earliest outcomes have been accessible in 9 days, and the longest took 4 weeks. Primarily based on suggestions we’ve seen in customer message boards, wait occasions are more likely to range relying on the present stage of demand however the six-to-eight-week timeframe that AncestryDNA provides on its web site appears to be a fairly correct estimate.

As soon as outcomes are prepared you’ll obtain an e-mail with a link to your person web page. From there, a single click on takes you to an summary of your ethnicity estimates in addition to potential family the location has flagged amongst its buyer base because of the similarity of your DNA make-up. Till you be part of AncestryDNA’s subscription service, the data you possibly can glean from these household matches is restricted. You may see their username and profile image and so they can see yours.

A person sitting at a laptop with the AncestryDNA purchase screen displayed on the screen.
Earlier than gathering your DNA pattern you’re requested to create an account and register your equipment on’s web site. A pay as you go return mailer is included within the equipment. Photograph: Caroline Enos

Your ethnicity info is introduced as a pie chart, displaying estimates of “where your ancestors came from hundreds or thousands of years ago,” the location explains, noting that as evaluation improves and reference databases develop over time, your estimated mixture of ethnicities could change. It’s essential to know that these ethnicity proportion estimates usually are not definitive solutions, however chances with built-in wiggle room. It’s no accident that AncestryDNA refers to its algorithmic process as “ethnicity prediction.”

To get a clearer sense of what the numbers imply you possibly can click on on any subregion to get a extra detailed view of your ethnicity estimate.

The screenshot beneath is from certainly one of our testers whose identified ancestry (based mostly on household data) contains British and Greek heritage, info that’s supported by her DNA outcomes. Her ethnic ties to Eire are listed at 5 %, but the vary slider signifies that her genetic ties to this area (on AncestryDNA this contains Wales and Scotland) might truly be wherever from zero to 16 %—she shares DNA related to individuals from these geographical areas, however as we’ve mentioned above, given the historical past of human migration, individuals who’ve ended up elsewhere share a lot of those self same markers too. So for our tester to make use of these outcomes to say with certainty an Irish heritage of precisely 5 % could be deceptive.

A screenshot displayed showing European subregions reported for an AncestryDNA test
Clicking on a subregion reveals a drop-down menu giving a spread of accuracy in your ethnic ties to the precise area or nation.

This instance just isn’t an indictment of AncestryDNA. All testing corporations face the identical dilemma; prospects wish to know their exact ancestral make-up, however the science can present solely educated estimates. What we like about AncestryDNA is that it gives a simple technique of placing your genetic info into context. Clicking on the See Particulars field (beneath the vary slider within the screenshot above) takes you to a historic overview of the area and a Genetic Variety web page that explains the link between your outcomes and people of natives of that area. Within the case of our tester, this reveals the tenuous hyperlinks between their outcomes and people of a typical particular person of identified Irish heritage.

A screen showing genetic diversity insights provided from an AncestryDNA test estimates the quantity of your DNA that’s linked to a geographical area and compares it with the quantity of DNA that these with deep ancestral ties to that area possess. (We’ve hidden our tester’s title for privateness.)

As you possibly can see within the above screenshot, AncestryDNA estimates that 5 % of our tester’s DNA comes from the Eire area. A “typical native”—described by AncestryDNA as an individual of their DNA database whose ancestors have lived in that area for hundreds of years—has a median “ethnicity estimate” of 95 %. Which means that half of the 154 individuals linked to Eire within the reference database—individuals with documented household ties going again a number of generations—have greater than 95 % ethnicity that’s native to this area and half of them have lower than 95 % ethnicity native to the area. Given this context, although it’s statistically doable for our tester to have roots from this area, it’s definitely not one thing she will be able to declare with any certainty until supported by household paperwork or historic data.

That is the truth of DNA ancestry testing with regards to ethnicity. Regardless of which firm you check with, you’ve bought to dig into the info on the web site at the least somewhat bit to really perceive your outcomes. And when you do, the image typically turns into much less exact than you might have initially assumed. AncestryDNA makes accessing extra element and context extra intuitive than most of its rivals do. Further info is normally only a click on away, simply recognized by well-designed icons with plainly worded textual content.

AncestryDNA additionally mechanically builds what it calls Genetic Communities—collections of its prospects who share some DNA—that may determine migration routes which have occurred inside very current generations. AncestryDNA was the primary firm we noticed to supply the sort of info and, mixed with the corporate’s giant buyer database, it may be precious to historical past buffs who wish to understand how each shut and distant family ended up of their up to date areas.

A screen showing the migration patterns associated with the Syrian-Lebanese genetic community defined by AncestryDNA’s Genetic Communities characteristic maps the current migration patterns of people sharing widespread ancestral DNA.

Dr. Julie Granka, who’s AncestryDNA’s supervisor of customized genomics, defined to us that the corporate begins by figuring out clusters of shoppers in its database with related ancestral DNA. Via the method of analyzing historic data like customer-provided household bushes and different paper-trail documentation related to this assortment of people, the corporate is ready to piece collectively the geographical actions of that neighborhood over time. This genealogical crowdsourcing combines the science of DNA with historic context to offer a fuller image of your loved ones historical past.

In case you’re utilizing a DNA check to attempt to discover unknown family or organic dad and mom, the most important benefit to picking Ancestry is that the corporate claims a DNA database of 10 million prospects as of this writing; that’s twice the dimensions of its closest opponents. Although you’re not assured to discover a match, entry to such a big database will increase the chances of discovering unknown cousins or organic dad and mom.

The corporate’s DNA-matching characteristic mechanically compares your DNA with that of its whole buyer database, alerting you to any genetic matches alongside an estimate of how intently chances are you’ll be associated. Amongst our panel of seven testers, three have been notified of matches to both first or second cousins.

You may see the username and profile photograph of your potential match (they will see yours as properly), and utilizing the location’s messaging platform you possibly can attain out to them. However entry to private contact info in your matches, their household bushes, and the corporate’s database of historic data requires you to purchase a subscription, an improve that over the course of a 12 months is dearer than the DNA check itself. The corporate does present a two-week free trial, nonetheless, that can assist you determine if this information is well worth the extra expense.

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