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January 10, 2020
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23andMe vs. FamilyTreeDNA: A simple comparison for the DNA newbie

Before you buy, it’s important to know the differences between 23andMe vs. FamilyTree DNA. Both companies offer several unique features!
Tomohiro Takano

Here at Genomelink, we think it is important that everyone picks the DNA testing company that is right for them. In this article, we directly compare 23andMe and FamilyTreeDNA (FTDNA), to help you figure out which one may be the best DNA fit for you!

Keep reading to see how the companies are the same, how they differ, and what your options are with a raw DNA data file from each company!

Similarities Between 23andMe and FamilyTreeDNA

Both 23andMe and FTDNA offer ancestry reports based on an autosomal test. With their ancestry test results, you can find out where your genes came from in your ethnicity estimate, learn about potential mass migrations your family may have been a part of, and use a chromosome browser to see where particular DNA segments came from. You may find that you are European, Scandinavian, Irish, Native American, Asian, or you may even find that you have a little Neanderthal DNA!

Each company offers DNA test kits for various purposes, though the offerings are slightly different. You will also be able to search for DNA matches in each company’s database. This is a great option for people looking to find family members or distant relatives for genealogy research. Both companies use industry standard DNA kits for analyzing your DNA data, and measure a similar number of SNPs. Both will give you similar ancestry DNA results to research your family history.

Differences Between 23andMe and FamilyTreeDNA

A major difference between the companies is that FTDNA does not give health reports, wellness reports, carrier status reports, or information on general genetic traits. 23andMe tests offer genetic testing reports on many of these traits, and can give you a lot of information about specific genetic predisposition health risks, such as your risk for breast cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, and Crohn’s disease. 23andMe also has fun reports which detail how your genes affect your eye color, height, and other physical traits.

FamilyTreeDNA is more focused on ancestry, similar to Ancestry.com without the extensive historical records database. While the Family Finder autosomal DNA test is very similar to the Ancestry test from 23andMe, FTDNA offers two other options for exploring your genetic genealogy. First, you can do their mitochondrial (mtDNA) test to find out about your maternal line and haplogroup. Mitochondrial DNA is only passed on through the egg, so it only traces your mother’s heritage.

On the other hand, the Y-DNA test analyzes the Y-chromosome your received from your father’s side (if you are a male). If you don’t have a Y-chromosome, you can have your dad or brother tested to learn about your paternal line and that side of the family. The FTDNA Y-chromosome test is one of the best DNA kits for discovering information only a genealogist can provide. 23andMe does not offer DNA testing kits for mtDNA tests or Y-DNA tests. 

Additionally, one important difference exists between each company’s raw DNA data files. Keep reading the section on Raw DNA data to learn more!

Raw DNA Data

FTDNA and 23andMe use different types of files to store their raw DNA data. 23andMe users will be able to use their data file at a larger number of sites, because 23andMe is more popular. You can use a 23andMe raw data file with companies like Genomelink. FTDNA data files are accepted in a few places, but not all. Check out the sites below to see all the things you can do with raw dna data from each company!

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

9. Vitagene

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
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Looking for DNA matches? Try FamilyTree DNA, MyHeritage, LivingDNA and GEDmatch.
Tomohiro Takano