23andMe vs. MyHeritage: Expert Review and Comparison
With so many genetic DNA testing kits out there, it is hard to know which DNA testing companies are right for your needs. The good news is you can narrow your search for DNA testing services simply by doing a little research on the most popular DNA testing services.
In this article, we take a look at the similarities and differences between 23andMe and MyHeritage, as well as the advantages each company has to offer.
Similarities Between 23andMe And MyHeritage
23andMe and MyHeritage both offer genetic DNA testing kits for ancestry composition and health information, and both are among the best DNA tests on the market. The MyHeritageDNA test and the 23andMe Ancestry test both search through over 600,000 single-nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs. These companies' DNA analysis and ancestry tests are very similar, though they measure slightly different SNPs in different locations.
Both companies also allow you to find DNA matches. Each company only allows you to search for family members within their own database. You can use this feature from either company to find DNA relatives. These testing services also offer ethnicity estimates, though the estimate from each DNA testing company will be slightly different based on the company’s reference populations and methods, as we will see.
How Are 23andMe And MyHeritage Different?
MyHeritage is primarily a company based around building and researching your family tree. Before the days of DNA testing, MyHeritage provided software and access to a large historical document database. Their DNA testing kit can be used to help research and build your family tree. MyHeritage recently started offering a health report in addition to their ancestry report, to better compete with companies like 23andMe. However, their primary business is still genetic genealogy and building family trees.
By comparison, 23andMe offers both an Ancestry test, and an Ancestry + Health test. The Health test analyzes portions of your DNA, increasing or decreasing your risk for certain health conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease or genetic disorders. 23andMe is primarily a genetic DNA testing company, and as such does not offer the extensive resources MyHeritageDNA offers to create and research a family tree. However, it does give you a similar ethnicity estimate and shows you where your genes come from.
The two companies also differ slightly in how they collect your DNA sample. 23andMe takes a saliva sample. This is a tube which you must fill with spit. MyHeritage uses the cheek swab method, which has the user swab the inside of a cheek with a cotton swab. Both methods are good for collecting DNA, and there is no scientific difference. However, users have found that cheek swabs are much easier than filling an entire vial with spit.
If you want to check out the differences actual users have found between these two companies, check out this Reddit page on the differences between 23andMe and MyHeritage.
23andMe DNA Test Advantages
If you get a test with 23andMe, there are several advantages compared to the MyHeritage DNA tests. First, 23andMe has been researching and collecting health information for a lot longer than MyHeritage. This likely means that both the information that they present in the health reports and the ease-of-use in understanding the reports will be slightly better. But, in general, you will find similar health risks reported by both health tests.
As far as Ancestry goes, 23andMe also has several advantages. Most of these come from the fact that 23andMe tests autosomal DNA, X-chromosome DNA, Y-chromosome DNA, and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). MyHeritage is strictly an autosomal test. Using these extra sources of DNA, 23andMe can determine your haplogroups, which can tell you about your maternal and paternal lines. 23andMe also estimates your Neanderthal DNA, and can also give you better information if you have Native American ancestry. You can see an example of this deep history report below.
In addition to these advantages, 23andMe also provides a chromosome browser to explore the different genes you carry. This browser ties into both your health information and the geographic regions from which your genes came.
MyHeritage DNA Test Advantages
While 23andMe has several important advantages, MyHeritage has its own angle on the ancestry test. With the largest database size of nearly any genetic DNA testing company, the test results you receive from MyHeritage have a higher statistical probability of being correct. The company also allows you to do in-depth ancestry research on your family history. Using your DNA sample, you can not only connect to your relatives, but you can use your ancestry report to help build your family tree, as seen in the image below.
As far as ancestry DNA tests go, MyHeritage provides one of the best. While they have fewer regions than 23andMe, this actually makes MyHeritage more accurate and its ancestry reports easily understood. MyHeritage recognizes all of the major European regions, such as Scandinavian and Irish. Plus, MyHeritage's ancestry DNA testing kit is slightly cheaper than the 23andMe ancestry test, and it has a faster turnaround time. It is typically completed in as few as 4 weeks, whereas 23andMe may take longer than a month.
Raw DNA Data Portability
Fortunately, both companies allow you to download your raw DNA data. This is fortunate because raw data can be used on a number of third-party sites to learn even more about your raw data. The testing companies below can reanalyze your DNA kit to determine aspects of your genetics that your original testing company did not cover.
While both companies allow the download of raw DNA data, 23andMe has an advantage. 23andMe tests multiple sources of DNA, including X-DNA,Y-DNA, and mtDNA. These features help free sites like GED match to conduct further DNA analysis to provide you with information about your deep ancestry and haplogroups.
You can also use the sites below to search for family matches in other databases, learn more about your DNA, and find additional information on genetic health risks. Many of the sites below offer their DNA analysis services for free. Check them out!
Know "More" About Your DNA Data
1. Genomelink — FREE
2. Promethease (genetic health risk)
3. Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) — FREE
4. MyHeritage DNA — FREE
5. LivingDNA — FREE
6. GEDmatch — FREE
Nutrition and Fitness
The Final Word on MyHeritage vs 23andMe
23andMe and MyHeritage have some features in common. Both offer genetic DNA testing services. Both let you learn more about your ancestry and genetic health risks by analyzing your DNA. That said, knowing the key differences between the two services will help you choose the right one for you. Because of their similar nature people often ask about the difference between popular DNA testing services like 23andMe vs Ancestry vs MyHeritage. We’ve done the leg work for you, by tracking the similarities and differences between the two services, 23andMe vs MyHeritage.
23andMe is a company that primarily provides DNA testing services, including an Ancestry test and an Ancestry + Health test, and that claims to be all about real science, real data, and genetic insights that can help make it easier to take action on health related issues. The Ancestry + Health test analyzes portions of an individual's DNA to determine their risks for certain health conditions, such as Alzheimer's disease or genetic disorders. In addition to these tests, 23andMe also offers a chromosome browser, which allows users to explore their DNA at a deeper level, and a lifestyle report that provides personalized recommendations based on genetics.
MyHeritage, on the other hand, is a company that is primarily focused on building and researching family trees. Their aim is to help you discover your family story, grow your family tree, and find new relatives. They do this through an extensive collection of billions of historical records. They offer a DNA testing service, called MyHeritageDNA, which can be used to help research and build a family tree. In addition to their ancestry report, MyHeritage recently started offering a health report as well. However, their primary business is still genetic genealogy and building family trees.
Both services are pay-to-use, and time is needed to get all your results. MyHeritage is typically less expensive than 23andMe, and is able to return results faster. If time is of essence, MyHeritage may be a better option.
While both 23andMe and MyHeritage offer DNA testing services and allow users to search for DNA matches and receive ethnicity estimates, there are some differences between the two companies. 23andMe tests a wider range of DNA, including autosomal, X-chromosome, Y-chromosome, and mitochondrial DNA, which allows them to provide more detailed information on ancestry. They also offer a chromosome browser and a Lifestyle report. When comparing 23andMe vs MyHeritage for family tree genealogy, MyHeritage is primarily focused on building family trees and has a more intuitive interface.
Overall, both 23andMe and MyHeritage are popular DNA testing services that offer a range of features and options for individuals interested in learning more about their ancestry and genetic health risks. It is important to consider the specific features and options offered by each company to determine which one is the best fit for your needs. In short, if you’re looking for information about your family tree and past relatives, start with MyHeritage. If you’re looking for information about your genetics for health purposes, 23andMe is the place to start.
To find out more DNA upload sites, check out our article "The Best DNA Upload Sites"