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February 18, 2020
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23andMe vs. AncestryDNA: A simple comparison for the DNA newbie

DNA results for genealogy purposes should be similar as both AncestryDNA and 23andMe have well-researched reference populations.
Tomohiro Takano

When it comes to DNA testing companies, 23andMe and AncestryDNA are two of the most well-known genetic testing companies. But with so much hype, advertising, and competition between the two companies, how are you supposed to know which test is right for you?

Well, we at Genomelink think that everyone should find the best DNA test for their needs. While these two companies do have some overlap, they provide very different test results. Read our short comparison below to learn how they are different!

Ancestry Test

Both of these companies do offer ancestry tests, based on the DNA samples sent to them. 23andMe was one of the first companies to offer a DNA test of any sort. 23andMe, therefore, has one of the largest reference populations of any DNA testing company. Plus, the company is backed by Google Ventures. Their results will give you a brief look at your family history and will show you ethnicity estimates based on which reference populations you match. The platform also allows the ability to find DNA relatives, as long as those living relatives also use 23andMe. While the company does allow you to find DNA matches, it has no ability to create a family tree. This is where the Ancestry DNA kit gets a leg up.

Ancestry.com has been in the genealogy game much longer than 23andMe. Their DNA results should be similar because they both have well-researched reference populations. However, if you are looking to build a family tree and back it up with historical documents, AncestryDNA is a better option. For decades, Ancestry has been compiling the world’s largest online repository for historical documents. Combining your ancestry reports with their research library allows you to build a well-supported family tree that can include thousands of your closest relatives.

Using their autosomal DNA test, you can also find information on your possible Neanderthal Ancestry, your maternal and paternal haplogroups, and possible migration routes taken by your family. This allows you to see if you are Scandinavian, British, Irish, African, Native American, or a mixture of everything. Plus, with AncestryDNA genotyping you can see historical reports of your distant relatives written by actual historians.

Health Test

However, AncestryDNA has yet to expand its DNA test to include health reports. They do offer a report on several traits influenced by genetics. To understand how your genetic information influences various health risks, you will need 23andMe.

23andMe offers a Health + Ancestry package that includes both an ethnicity estimate as well as information on your genetic health risks. The health reports include information on how your genetic markers may be increasing your risk for diseases like Alzheimer’s, cancer, and other conditions. The wellness reports provided by the company analyze your genetic data and give you ideas for how to live a healthier lifestyle. Further, the 23andMe reports give you information on your carrier status for certain known genetic diseases.

So, if you want to test yourself or your family members to see your ancestry composition, carrier status reports, and genetic health information, 23andMe is the better choice.

Raw DNA Data

Fortunately, both of these companies allow you to download your raw DNA data! That means that regardless of which company you select, you will still have options. Below are several DNA testing companies which allow you to upload your raw data. These companies offer a variety of reports not available from 23andMe or AncestryDNA. Plus, many of these companies offer their services for free! Check it out!

Know "More" About Your DNA Data

1. Genomelink — FREE
2. Promethease (genetic health risk)

Ancestry Tests

3. Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) — FREE
4. MyHeritage DNA — FREE
5. LivingDNA — FREE
6. GEDmatch — FREE

Nutrition and Fitness

7. Genopalate
8. Athletigen
9. Vintage
10. DNA Fit

To find out more DNA upload sites, check out our article "The Best DNA Upload Sites"

Did you get 23andMe, AncestryDNA, or MyHeritage results back? Upload your raw DNA data to access 25+ traits for FREE at Genomelink!
Tomohiro Takano
Tomohiro Takano
Co-Founder and CEO