February 20, 2023
Product Reviews

5 Things You Should Know Before Buying LivingDNA

A LivingDNA review by experts. Curated information, including reports covered, reviews, cost and about free DNA data upload.
Tomohiro Takano

The editors here at Genomelink think it is important that users find the right genetic DNA testing company for their specific DNA analysis needs. Through our LivingDNA review in the series of standardized reviews, it should be easy to pick the one that is best for your needs. Below is our LivingDNA review, a genetic DNA testing company that specializes in ancestry testing.

About LivingDNA
Test Results and Sample Reports
Upload Raw DNA Data from LivingDNA

About LivingDNA

Quick Facts:
Company Name: LivingDNA
Foundation Year: 2002
Location: Frome, England
Monthly Visits: 300 Thousand+
Number of Databases: Unknown/Not Reported

LivingDNA was founded in 2002 by husband-and-wife team David Nicholson and Hannah Morden. Based out of Frome, England, the company is striving to be a leader in genetic ancestry testing, and they aim to be the first company to map and describe a global family tree. In 2017, the company initiated the One Family World Project. This project is aimed at eliminating racism through the use of a global family tree, showing us that we are all related no matter the color of our skin. The company offers a 3-1 ancestry test, as well as an optional ancestry book, which details your family history in a convenient coffee table book format.

Unlike many companies, LivingDNA promises not to aggregate and sell your genetic DNA analysis data. Instead, they use it for internal research for their One Family World Project and other genetic research. This is a pretty big deal for anyone concerned about their DNA privacy because many companies aggregate your DNA data into large datasets that can be sold to insurance, pharmaceutical, and research organizations.

If you are wondering whether LivingDNA is accurate, the company offers a 3-1 ancestry test, meaning you can get an ancestry breakdown of your autosomal DNA, as well as insights into your maternal and paternal haplotypes. Plus, the company offers an optional ancestry book that details your family history in a convenient coffee-table-book format.

LivingDNA Results And Sample Reports

Here is what to expect from your LivingDNA results.

LivingDNA genetic DNA testing kit Report Overview

  • Get a breakdown of your genetic ancestry with several detailed reports
  • Learn about how your family may have migrated around the globe over time
  • Get information on your maternal and paternal family lines, using the mtDNA and Y-DNA tests
  • Get an Ancestry Book, personalized with your reports, to share with family and friends

Starter DNA Testing Kit

The starter kit is a super basic look at what LivingDNA has to offer. It will give you a basic ancestry breakdown, but will only show which continents your ancestors likely came from. The starter kit also includes a look at some of the wellbeing traits that LivingDNA covers. The kit is only $49, so it is a good way to get into DNA testing for a very low cost. Plus, you can upgrade your kit to get more comprehensive results at any time!

Your Ancestry Kit

LivingDNA provides accurate, interesting information on your family history using a variety of sources such as Y-DNA and mtDNA. Plus, the company is unique in that it will publish an ancestry book specifically for you. This is a great addition and can help you easily share your results with anyone you would like. The book is professionally bound, and it makes great reading for anyone interested in their genetic ancestry. It has information on your family ancestry, a migration map, and details on your genetic genealogy. Further, LivingDNA is one of the only companies to make a commitment to keeping your results private. While they do use your data to do research, they do not aggregate and sell your DNA like many companies. The company has a majority of users from the UK, making their results for Europe, British, and Irish ancestry very accurate. Outside of the British Isles, some users have complained about a drop in accuracy due to a small reference population.

This kit also includes Y-DNA and mtDNA, so you can get detailed information on your paternal line and maternal line, respectively. While the bigger companies are also starting to look at your maternal and paternal haplogroups, LivingDNA has been analyzing these parts of your DNA for a long time. Compared to the hundreds of dollars you would have to spend to get these results elsewhere, LivingDNA’s $79 is a total steal.

Plus, the company is unique in that it will publish an ancestry book specifically for you. This is a great addition and can help you easily share your results with anyone you would like. The book is professionally bound, and it makes great reading for anyone interested in their genetic ancestry. It has information on your family ancestry, a migration map, and details on your genetic genealogy. 

Old Couple Teaching Kid About DNA

If you want more information on what you can expect from a LivingDNA test, check out the link below!
LivingDNA Sample Report

Wellbeing Kit

If you are less interested in your ancestry, and more interested in learning how your DNA may affect your nutrition and exercise, the Wellbeing Kit from LivingDNA is for you! 

This kit analyzes around 10 traits related to nutrition and exercise including Vitamin D levels, food metabolism, exercise and injury recovery traits, and more. The reports will give you advice on nutrition and specific exercises that may help you meet your wellness goals. 

But, the reports currently do not include any information related to genetic diseases or genetic health risks. So, you will not be able to find out about your risk for breast cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, or if you have a chance of passing on genetic variations that could lead to genetic disorders. 

Wellbeing and Ancestry Kit

With this kit, you get everything that LivingDNA has to offer. This includes their excellent ancestry panel, as well as the wellbeing traits that they cover. One really great thing about their products is that they will continue to update their results as the science behind DNA testing develops. That means that by purchasing the Wellbeing and Ancestry kit now, you will be able to get the most advanced and up-to-date results for years to come!

LivingDNA Reviews

While LivingDNA does not have many online reviews, several people have left reasonable reviews. See them below.

One of the main user complaints with LivingDNA is that their reference populations are concentrated in places like Wales, Ireland, and Great Britain. This means that reports for users with ancestors from France, Germany, Italy, or other European countries are not quite as accurate. However, LivingDNA results will get better over time, as they increase the size of their reference populations.

Further, LivingDNA is one of the few companies to make a commitment to keep your results private. While they do use your data to do research, they do not aggregate and sell your DNA data like many other companies. The company has a majority of users from the UK, making their results for Europe, British, and Irish ancestry very accurate. But, the company has recently expanded into Africa. With 72 new regions, they now have one of the largest reference panels for African ancestry testing!

LivingDNA, overall, has a very comprehensive and thorough Ancestry analysis. While they are still working on creating a comprehensive DNA Wellness analysis, this company is best for people who want to explore their DNA ancestry. Unlike MyHeritage and Ancestry, LivingDNA does not have a historical records database or the ability to build a family tree. But, they do have probably the most detailed ancestry reports on the market today.


The cheapest test offered at LivingDNA, the Starter Kit, is only $49. However, this kit is mainly to get users interested in their DNA results and upsell them on a more comprehensive DNA analysis. That being said, even this basic starter kit allows you to download your raw DNA data. Check out the Raw DNA Data section below to learn what you can do with this data!

The basic ancestry test is $79. This test covers autosomal DNA, as well as mtDNA and Y-DNA sequences. While this is slightly more expensive than some companies, the test is analyzing your mtDNA and Y-DNA for no additional cost. This makes LivingDNA DNA testing kits worth the money you spend. Further, the company often runs promotions which reduces the cost of the test kit further. Plus, for only an additional $69, you can get the professionally-produced Ancestry Book. This book is specific to your personal ancestry and can be a great way to share your results.

You can get a Wellbeing kit for $99, or you can go for the whole enchilada with the Wellbeing and Ancestry kit for $149. The Wellbeing kits are priced similarly to health tests offered by many companies but don’t actually offer Carrier Status reports or Genetic Health Risk reports. So, you may be better off with another company if health traits are your focus. Many of the wellbeing traits covered by LivingDNA can be found for free on Genomelink and other third-party DNA analysis sites that use your raw DNA data.

Understanding Health Recommendations from Living DNA

If you’ve read Living DNA reviews, you may be unclear about the company’s process for making health recommendations. Living DNA has a standard set of categories for which it provides genetically tailored recommendations, such as:

  • Food metabolism related to lactose and gluten sensitivities
  • Exercise tips focused on maintaining balance between cardio, weight training, and recovery specific to your genetic makeup
  • Genetically informed nutrition advice
  • Vitamin needs

While that information is useful, the company does not provide in-depth, individualized information that can guide personalized health care. Living DNA also does not provide carrier gene sequences or disease tracking for those who are interested in learning more about their genetic predisposition for certain diseases.

This lack of information is a missed opportunity, as many customers use DNA testing to learn about their genetic risks and improve their overall health. The good news is that even if you use Living DNA, you can upload your raw DNA data to Genomelink for more in-depth information. With Genomelink, you can get reports on 100 different traits for free.

LivingDNA Privacy and Security

Most DNA services provide essentially the same security measures and privacy policies. While Living DNA lacks in services, it does make special efforts to safeguard your data. 

Genetic information is stored separately from user data. In other words, your DNA info will never include your name, credit card information, email address, or other personal details. A random barcode is used to identify genetic data instead. Even lab techs who access your file won’t know your name because all genetic data remains anonymous and is stored in a secure database. 

Keep these iron-clad security measures in mind if you need customer support. Identity confirmation is required to provide any information over the phone or online. While these measures make for good security, they can be frustrating when you need help and can’t recall passwords and usernames.

The user agreement allows customers to share data anonymously with third parties if they choose. Customers retain the right to withdraw their DNA data from research projects at any time, and Living DNA will not sell your data. You can choose to include your data in Living DNA’s family-matching database. This is a service you must opt for; you will not be automatically included. 

Living DNA Review Summary

Living DNA is a good budget-friendly option for users who want basic health reports and ancestry information. Customers looking for high-quality or in-depth versions of an ancestry or wellness report may be disappointed. However, the services provided by Living DNA may be a great starting point for people who are just beginning to investigate the world of DNA data.

Though Living DNA reviews from users are limited, they are positive overall. The lower price point is popular with customers, but genealogy information is inferior to that of many other ancestry services, especially for ancestry groups outside of the UK.

Customers who are excited by cutting-edge DNA technology and the possibility of customizing their lifestyle based on genetic information are not likely to be satisfied with the limits of LivingDNA.

Upload Raw DNA Data from LivingDNA

LivingDNA allows you to download your raw DNA data from any of your DNA testing kits. If you don’t care about your ancestry results, this creates a great opportunity to learn more about your health and wellness traits from other companies. When it comes to LivingDNA vs. 23andMe or any other genetic testing DNA company, the starter kit is only $49, which is about the cheapest DNA sequencing kit on the market. Then, using the data you download, you can access a wide range of traits. For example, Genomelink covers hundreds of DNA traits related to health, wellness, mental traits, nutrition, and exercise.

Even if you do go for the more advanced Wellness or Ancestry testing kits, you can still get your raw DNA data. Using this raw DNA data file, you can get a plethora of other information from the following sites. Some of these sites allow you to upload your raw data for free, and give you access to information on health traits, disease-causing genes, and lifestyle traits influenced by your genetics. One cheek swab can get you so much more. Check them out!

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

Tomohiro Takano
Tomohiro Takano
Co-Founder and CEO