March 27, 2020
Product Reviews

Nebula Genomics review | 5 things you should know before buying

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

With so many different DNA testing companies out there, it is hard to understand the differences and choose the right company for your needs. Here at Genomelink (a DNA analysis site where you can get an analysis of your first 25 traits for free!), we know that everyone has unique needs, and we want to help you find the perfect fit for your DNA testing needs. 

Nebula Genomics has many interesting features available. We have reviewed Nebula Genomics below, in our standard format to make comparisons between companies easy!

1. About the Company
2. Test Results and Sample Reports
3. Reviews
4. Cost
5. Best Alternatives to Nebula

1. About The Company

Nebula Genomics site - 30x Whole-Genome Sequencing for $299

Quick Facts:
Company Name: Nebula Genomics, Inc.
Foundation Year: 2016
Location: San Francisco, California
Monthly Visits: 39,660 (Updated on Feb 2020, SimilarWeb)
Number of Databases: Unknown

Nebula Genomics started as an idea to help users manage their genomic data using the power of blockchain technology. This technology - used to power virtually currencies like Bitcoin - makes a very secure way to hold other information, like your DNA data. Essentially, this method of storing your DNA data makes it completely anonymous and none of your personal information is actually tied to where your DNA data is stored. This makes it a very safe method of storing your data and alleviates many of the privacy concerns some users may have with traditional DNA testing companies.

As genomic sequencing gets cheaper and cheaper, several companies have begun offering whole-genome sequencing (WGS). Though the company started with a “low quality” WGS test, they have rapidly upgraded their offerings. In 2016, co-founder of Nebula Genomics Professor George Church joined forces with graduate students Kamal Obbad and Dennis Grishin from Harvard Medical School. Together, they figured out how to offer nearly clinical-grade, 30X whole-genome sequencing technology to Nebula customers - for a crazy low price of $299.

While whole-genome DNA sequencing in itself is a rather unique offering, Nebula Genomics doesn’t stop there. By using blockchain technology, the company allows users to get paid when researchers use their genetic information for medical research. This system allows for users to actually make money from their genetic data, rather than the testing company taking all the profits.

2. Test Results And Sample Reports

With Nebula Genomics, you can receive a wealth of information through a whole-genome DNA test. The test is only $299, though you will have to subscribe to the Nebula Explorer in order to get weekly updates on your results.

A whole-genome sequencing through Nebula will get you much more information than most other genetic testing sites. For instance, 23andMe and AncestryDNA sequence somewhere around 600,000 sites in your genetic sequence. Nebula, on the other hand, sequences over 6 Billion sites!

While research has yet to be conducted on many of these sites, with time all sites within the DNA will be correlated to one trait or another. The test analyzes ever nucleotide within your DNA up to 30 times! 

Nebula Genomics Report Overview

  • Track your family’s migration routes over time using the most comprehensive analysis of your Y and mitochondrial DNA through a Deep Ancestry Analysis
  • Learn about genetic variants that may put you at risk for disease
  • Analyzes your entire genome, and updates and curates information related to you on a weekly basis
  • Tells you about every genetic variant you carry - not just common variants

Nebula Research Library

Nebula Genomics company provides a number of tools for analyzing your genetic ancestry, health risks you may face because of your genetics, and a variety of other tools to explore your raw DNA data. This makes Nebula a great choice for people who want to be on the cutting-edge of DNA technology.

Their three main tools on Nebula Explorer (Nebula’s data management platform) include a genome browser, a gene analysis tool that can analyze any gene of interest, and a variant search tool that can show you which of your genetic variants have been identified and studied in the literature. Unlike simpler reports generated by 23andMe, Nebula Explore is a user-driven process - allowing you to see all the research that has been done on your genome, even the preliminary research that may not be up to 23andMe’s standards. 

In the reports provided, you will also find a Deep Ancestry analysis. For this report, Nebula partners with FamilyTreeDNA, a leading provider of Y-DNA and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) tests. Analyzing every nucleotide in these portions of your DNA can give you the most accurate picture of your ancestry - looking around 80,000 years into the past!

However, not all Nebula Genomics health data has been approved by the FDA for diagnostic purposes. If you want simple, easy-to-understand results on tests that have been FDA approved, you may want to look to 23andMe, or speak to your doctors to learn options for medical genetic testings. The simple amount of data produced by a WGS means there is a lot of data that has not been well-studied. As WGS becomes more popular, Nebula will likely gain FDA approval on many of their tests. 

If you have already taken a test with 23andMe or another company, Nebula does allow you to upload your raw DNA data. While this will not give the same data as a WGS test, it will allow you to see correlations that the original company may have excluded from your results. However, you can get many of these results from Genomelink and other third-party DNA analysis sites for much cheaper! (See the 'best alternatives' section below for several great alternatives.)

Check out the page below to see the tools available from Nebula for exploring your raw DNA data.
Nebula Genomics - Exploring Raw DNA Data

3. Reviews

See what people are saying about Nebula Genomics on the web!

There are few negative reviews on this company’s personal genome sequencing service. However, a much larger number of users have shown strong support for the company. Several low-scoring reviews are from people who struggle to understand the value blockchain technology brings to customers, and some users who complained about a 0.4X WGS test that Nebula no longer offers. As for their newer products, the reviews are very good and would likely be closer to 5 if it were not for these old reviews of previous products.

4. Cost

To get 30X whole-genome sequencing, Nebula Genomics charges $299, plus a subscription fee to access the Nebula Explore platform and get weekly updates with new results and reports. Subscription fees are $20/month, but you can reduce this price significantly by buying a year or lifetime access. A year upfront brings the price down to $9.99 per month. Lifetime access is $700, which is the same as around 6 years at $9.99 per month.

So, if you really think that WGS is going to change the world and become more valuable, Lifetime Access might be a great way to ensure your continued participation in the growth and discovery of DNA. Plus, with the company’s blockchain technology, it may be possible to earn money through data sharing with researchers!

5. Best Alternatives to Nebula 

Interested in whole-genome sequencing, but not convinced by Nebula Genomics?

Check out these other great WGS companies!

Dante Labs

Dante Labs can complete WGS testing at 30X in their basic test, but they also offer a 130X “Advanced Analysis” version to get diagnostic-level tests that your doctor may want to use to help diagnose a rare genetic condition. Dante Labs charges $599 for the 30X test, and you can buy individual analyses on a large number of conditions if you want extra information about any aspect of your DNA.

Veritas Genetics

Veritas Genetics also offers a 30X WGS test, also available for $599. As opposed to Dante Labs and Nebula, Veritas simply offers tests at different levels that include more or less information. These range from the basic test for $599 all the way to $3,599 for people with a complex medical history that want the most in-depth analysis possible. 

Check out our side-by-side comparison of all three of these WGS companies!

Get your Raw DNA Data Analyzed!

If you have already taken a DNA test and have access to your raw DNA data, you can upload that data to Nebula Genomics. However, Nebula won’t be able to tell you any more than these companies:

Genomelink - get 25 traits for free when you upload your data, plus over 170 traits with a subscription.

Promethease - acts like a literature retrieval system, connecting you to all the scientific literature that has been published on your specific genetic variants, with reports starting at $12.‍

How to Know if You Should Use Nebula Genomics

Now that you know more about the services offered by Nebula Genomics, including the costs and what other users are saying based on Nebula Genomics reviews, it’s time to decide if you’d like to add Nebula Genomics to your lineup of ancestry and genetics research providers. First, let’s take a look at some of the concrete pros and cons of Nebula DNA services, according to what users are saying in those reviews, as well as some objective metrics (like pricing):

Pros of Nebula Genomics:

  • Super solid privacy protections, thanks to blockchain technology
  • Offers whole-genome sequencing (WGS)
  • You could get paid when researchers use your (anonymous) data 
  • Option to upload your raw DNA data to obtain new insights
  • Mostly positive online reviews from Nebula users
  • Nebula works with other DNA companies, like FamilyTreeDNA, to build out more comprehensive reports

Cons of Nebula Genomics: 

  • Higher cost that other DNA platforms,  starting at $299 + monthly subscription fees (that said, some users find this price to be quite low, considering how much information you can get from Nebula’s WGS)
  • Not all Nebula Genomics health data has been approved by the FDA for diagnostic use
  • Other platforms offer more insights - for free - when you upload your raw DNA data than Nebula Genomics does (although most users go with Nebula for their DNA testing + reports to begin with)

As you can see, most users find that there are more (and more compelling) pros to using Nebula Genomics than there are cons. If you agree with their assessment, then here is what you have to look forward to when you research your DNA using Nebula Genomics:

Whole-genome DNA sequencing

This is a pretty unique offering from Nebula Genomics, and will get you more information that you’ll find through most other genetic testing companies. As mentioned before, the test costs $299, and then you have to subscribe to the Nebula Explorer to get weekly updates on your results. 

In-depth reports and analysis

The three main tools offered by Nebula Genomics are a genome browser, a specific gene analysis tool, and a variant search tool. The reports these tools generate are more in-depth than what you’ll find on other sites, like 23andMe, for example, allowing you to see all the research that has been done on your genome.

Explore More - for Free - with Genomelink

For genealogy buffs who already have their raw DNA data from another site, you can still access additional information about your genetics and ancestry - often for FREE! A number of sites allow you to upload your raw DNA data to gain access to their unique reports, family finder tools, trait insights, and more. This is a great option for someone who is looking to learn more about their family history and personal genetic profile, but not quite ready to spend the money or time it costs to access Nebula Genomics’ databases. Getting started with Genomelink is quick and easy. It’s also free! Build a broader picture of you and your ancestry today using Genomelink. 

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

Tomohiro Takano
Tomohiro Takano
Co-Founder and CEO