Best DNA test kit for ancestry: for the DNA newbie
What is the Best DNA Ancestry Kit?
When it comes to DNA testing for ancestry, not all DNA testing services are equal. Here at Genomelink, we know that people have different needs, budgets, and are looking for different things in their family history. Some people are looking for family members, others are trying to create a family tree, and still other people are looking for genetic health information in addition to their ancestry test.
With just a cheek swab or saliva sample in a tube, you can find out if you are African, British, Irish, Asian, or Native American, all without a genealogist to interpret your DNA results. Check out our short overview of each company to determine which DNA test kit is right for you!
If you are looking for ancestry DNA testing, a 23andMe DNA kit can serve that purpose. Their report can give you an ethnicity estimate based on your genetic information. Because 23andMe is one of the most-used genetic tests, they also have some of the largest reference populations. The larger the reference populations, the more accurate the results.
Plus, in addition to ancestry information, 23andMe will provide you with information on your genetic health risks, including carrier status reports and risks you may face due to variations within your autosomal DNA. The Health + Ancestry test is a great choice for people who are simply interested in their family history but have little experience with DNA testing, family trees, and other aspects of genealogy. However, if you want more powerful tools for building a family tree or researching your common ancestors, you may want to choose one of the other companies listed on this page.
Ancestry.com has been in the genealogy game longer than any other ancestry testing company. They started in the days of magazines (remember those?), long before SNPs could be tested in a number of hours. As such, AncestryDNA not only provides ancestry testing based on your DNA profile but also has the world’s largest repository of historical records. While it does take an additional subscription to access this information, Ancestry provides the best option for Americans seeking information about their family history or family tree. Plus, the company offers the ability to produce a family tree based on your DNA matches, and DNA samples of other people.
While Ancestry serves mostly the American market, MyHeritage represents a very similar company, but with its foundations in Europe. MyHeritage started as a company producing software for building and tracking family tree information. Like Ancestry, they have compiled a huge database of historical records. However, these records are more focused on European ancestry. So, if your ancestors are likely from Europe, you may find information on them using the database kept by MyHeritage. Like Ancestry, this service will cost you extra.
The name FamilyTreeDNA is a little confusing because this company does not actually offer the ability to build and maintain a family tree. Moreover, they have no historical databases to search or other tools to research your family members. However, they do offer maternal and paternal genetic testing which can give you a much deeper look at your genetic ancestry. Using mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), the company can trace your maternal line all the way back to Africa, and determine your haplogroup. Using Y-chromosome DNA, the company can track surnames, show you related surnames, and show you possible migration routes of your paternal line. These tests are a little more expensive than a standard autosomal DNA test, but well worth it for the advanced amateur genealogist.
National Geographic Geno 2.0
This test, produced by the nonprofit organization National Geographic, is a cool option for people who like to support science. The best DNA testing includes large reference populations, which National Geographic strives to be the best at. With some of the most well-researched and diverse reference populations, the test results from the Geno 2.0 test are likely to be the most accurate. Plus, by using the Geno 2.0 test, you can opt-into a program which uses your genetic information to help researchers gain new insights into genetic testing, genealogy, and can help researchers track the migration patterns of humans over evolutionary time. Pretty cool!
So, What is the Best DNA Ancestry Kit?
As the beginning of this article discusses, the best DNA ancestry kit is based on the needs of the user. If you just want to see a pie chart with an ethnicity breakdown, 23andMe offers this plus a genetic health screening. If you want to dive deeper into your genetic data by combining it with a family tree, Ancestry and MyHeritage are both great choices for autosomal testing. If you really want to dive deep on a DNA ancestry test, try the mtDNA test from FamilyTreeDNA. If you want the most specific geographic regions and want to help support research, get a test from National Geographic.