How badly did the massive holiday sales of DNA tests impact processing times at the main companies? Not much! At least not based on the data the community has been contributing to the DNA Lab Processing Times survey. Here’s proof:
With the exception of Living DNA, the companies are averaging 22–26 days from the moment the test was dropped in a mailbox to the date the tester received their results. Living DNA is a new company, so some delays are to be expected. They’ve shown steady improvement in their lab speed, dropping from an average of 87 days to 56 days in just a few months.
Each point on the graph represents processing times in days averaged over a 3-month period. Because these are rolling averages, someone who got their results in November would be included in the averages for Sep–Nov, Oct–Dec, and Nov–Jan. In fact, because only one person has contributed data for MyHeritage, the orange line on the graph represents just that one person’s processing time over all three intervals. (MyHeritage tests are analyzed by the parent company of Family Tree DNA, so the processing times of the two companies are probably the same.)
The numbers in parentheses after each company name in the legend (e.g., N = 13 for FTDNA) is the number of data points for that particular company across the entire survey period (July to January). Each 3-month average will have fewer respondents. The apparent variation in processing times for Family Tree DNA and 23andMe probably has more to do with small sample sizes than with big changes in lab efficiency.
All data come directly from the survey answers, with one exception. Some respondents did not report the date the completed test was mailed back to the company but did report when the test arrived in the lab. For those people, I added the average shipping time (from mailing to arrival) for that company to allow for more data points.
I’m amazed that we’re not seeing a slow-down in processing times. Last year, AncestryDNA tests were taking 8 weeks or longer after the holiday sale. The companies must have invested heavily in lab capacity, and it shows.
Let’s keep this survey going! Contribute your processing times here: bit.ly/DNAProcessingTimes