Best DNA kits for Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS)
Whole-genome sequencing (WGS) is by far the most powerful form of DNA sequencing available on the market. Instead of just analyzing a hand-full of individual genetic variants (SNPs), whole-genome sequencing can determine every single nucleotide in your DNA - all 6 billion of them!
While whole-genome sequencing has been extremely expensive, several companies are now offering whole-genome sequencing for very reasonable prices. In this article, we review the top DNA testing companies that can provide you with your entire sequence of DNA. While DNA data analysis is still in its infancy, getting a whole-genome sequence now will put you at the forefront of modern DNA science!
Whole-Genome DNA test kits: Why are they better?
Companies like 23andMe, Ancestry, and other DNA testing companies typically only measure about 0.2% of your DNA using next-generation sequencing. That’s a tiny amount! These companies look at single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) which are single variations in your DNA sequence. Because humans share over 99% of their DNA, these SNPs (or “snips”) are hand-picked to find the common variations in the human genome.
These SNPs often search for genetic variants that have been correlated with diseases, ancestry, or physical traits. This allows companies to give reports on many aspects of your DNA - from ancestry to health. But, these companies are not even looking at the vast majority of your DNA. As the science behind genetic testing expands, these tests are simply not going to cut it.
As we dive deeper into the science of genetics, more and more genetic variations are being correlated to diseases, health traits, physical traits, and aspects of ancestry. Only a whole-genome sequence test will cover every variant in your DNA, allowing you to be at the absolute forefront of DNA science as it evolves! These tests rely on the newest sequencing technologies to provide very accurate genotyping of your genetic make up.
Check out these companies to see how you can get a massive amount of information from your entire genome!
Nebula Genomics is one of the companies leading the charge into whole-genome sequencing. The company uses high-throughput technology to quickly and accurately read all of your genetic information. But, Nebula Genomics is also leading the industry in another area of DNA testing - privacy.
Instead of storing your DNA data in the traditional file format, Nebula is leveraging the power of blockchain technology to store your DNA data anonymously. Yes, that is the same technology behind cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum.
This means that you will never be asked personal information, and your DNA data is never associated with your name, email address, or other personally identifiable information! Plus, this technology allows for the possibility of health care researchers being able to pay you directly if they use your DNA data in a public health research study. Plus, the Nebula Explore platform is a powerful tool for researching and understanding the various coding regions of your sequencing data!
Cost and Results
The WGS test from Nebula Genomics costs only $299, which is by far the lowest in the entire industry (as of this writing).
However, to access Nebula’s platform for exploring your results, you will have to pay a subscription fee. This fee varies, based on the amount of time you purchase upfront. Month-to-month subscriptions are $20 per month. Buy a whole year at once, and you will only pay $10 per month. If you really want to get a good deal, consider buying lifetime access to the platform for $700. Considering that the company is constantly updating the platform with the newest genetic research, this is one of the best values in the whole-genome testing industry today!
The results you will get are comprehensive, and ever-expanding. Results include deep ancestry, polygenic risk scores for many diseases, and exploration tools you can use to really dig into your DNA data. To get your ancestry information, Nebula works with FamilyTreeDNA - a leader in Y-chromosome and mitochondrial DNA analysis. These parts of your genome can give you information on your ancestors that goes back nearly 100,000 years!
Dante Labs is based out of L’Aquila, Italy. In this Italian center of technology, Dante Labs has created a fully-certified lab for sequencing and analyzing whole-genome data. Unlike Nebula, Dante Labs does not work on a subscription model. Thus, their prices are a little higher. But, this price includes lifetime access to their platform. So, all things considered, Dante Labs can provide a slightly cheaper whole-genome sequence test.
Dante Labs took an “Amazon” approach to whole-genome testing, meaning they searched for inefficiencies in the “standard model” of DNA testing, and work hard to increase efficiency in these areas. This gives them the ability to offer their tests at a slightly lower price. In addition to the information you receive as an introduction, Dante Labs provides a number of specific DNA panels that can analyze many different aspects of your genetic code - for a little extra money.
Cost and Results
The standard Whole Genome Sequencing test from Dante Labs costs $599, which includes hundreds of analyzed traits in three different areas:
Wellness Report - 70+ conditions analyzed related to health, wellness, lifestyle, and carrier status traits and rare diseases
Nutrigenomics Report - 23+ conditions related to nutritional traits like obesity, metabolism, and your body’s ability to process vitamins
Scientific Fitness Report - 114+ traits related to exercise, strength and muscle development, and sports performance.
This WGS test has 30X coverage, meaning your entire genome is sequenced an average of 30 times! Even with 99.99% accuracy, the sheer number of nucleotides measured means there could be up to 600,000 errors after a single analysis. So, most companies analyze your genome repeatedly, to get the most accurate results with few-to-no errors.
You can also get the Whole GenomeZ test for $849, which is a more advanced analysis of your conditions. The test includes all of the results above but includes a special analysis of your exome - the part of your genome that contains protein-making genes. With the advanced test, each exon region is tested 130 times each! That leaves very little room for chance to give you an error, meaning these tests can help a doctor diagnose complex genetic disease.
Dante Labs also offers a Pharmacogenomic report, detailing potential drug-genetics interactions that may be caused by your DNA. Unfortunately, this test is not available in the U.S. due to restrictions from the FDA.
Veritas Genetics was one of the first companies to offer whole-genome sequencing. They made global headlines by offering the test for only $1000. Veritas has extended that reputation by building on its services and further reducing the cost of its whole-genome sequencing tests. The company is still a leader in whole-genome testing globally, but Veritas has run into some financing issues that have caused it to temporarily suspend U.S. operations.
Because of the trade war currently waging between China and the U.S., the United States government has placed limitations on Chinese investors. Veritas was established pre-trade war and has many Chinese nationals as investors. This has forced Veritas (based in Danvers, Massachusetts) to suspend its operations in the United States until its funding issues (or the trade war) are cleared up.
Hopefully this happens soon, because Veritas offers one of the best whole-genome sequencing kits on the market!
Costs and Results
The Standard Kit from Veritas costs $599. With this test you will get information on 200+ general and health conditions, 40+ genetic diseases you may be a Carrier for, 15+ genetic risk panels, and 50+ traits on nutrition and longevity. Plus, Veritas will also connect you with a genetic counselor to discuss any clinically-actionable results.
Veritas also requires that your results be shared with your doctor (or you can find a genetic counselor), so you don’t have to analyze the results alone. Considering how much information will be contained in your results, this should be a standard practice in the whole-genome testing industry. Veritas makes it easy to share results with a health practitioner, so you can easily and quickly understand any reports that may impact your health.
You can also spring for the Premium Kit, which includes 400 more general and health conditions, as well as nearly 200 more Carrier Status reports that can tell you about genetic disorders. That is an enormous amount of genetic information, more than any other whole-genome sequencing company currently offers.
Veritas also offers a customized test that can help your doctor diagnose difficult and complex genetic conditions. These “Diagnostic Kits” range from $2,599 to $3,599, depending on the conditions and genes involved. These results are reviewed by a clinical expert panel, before being passed on to your doctor. This can help your doctor diagnose complex conditions, and may even help them determine the right course of treatment for your specific ailment!
The Bottom Line
All of these whole-genome testing services provide results that are unequaled by the most common DNA testing companies, such as 23andMe or Ancestry. That is because a whole-genome sequence test looks at every single nucleotide in your DNA - over 3 billion base pairs (6 billion points in the data set!). While humans have mostly the same nucleotides at each of these points, 1 small mutation can disrupt the function of any gene. SNP tests will not be able to identify these “abnormal” mutations and may report that you are just fine.
Whole-genome sequencing ensures that every variation you contain is accounted for. Plus, if you get in now you will be able to get, by far, the most information about your DNA and how it relates to health, ancestry, and your ultimate wellbeing!