Black Friday for DNA!

Considering a DNA test as a gift (or for yourself) this year?  Not sure where to start?  These guidelines can help you get the most bang for your buck and  keep you productive during the coming months ahead.

Pro Tip:  If you’re buying the test for yourself, take it and send it back to the company before Christmas to avoid lab backlogs.

 

Genealogy and Ethnicity

If you are in, or have recent ancestors from, the USA, UK, Canada, or Australia, and you are mainly interested in genealogy, AncestryDNA may be the best test for you.  They have the largest database by far (more than 18 million tested), so your chances of being matched to relatives who can help you enhance your family tree are very good.  Their ethnicity estimates are quite detailed, and they also have automated tools like ThruLines to integrate your family tree with your DNA results to help you find the ancestors you share with your DNA cousins. Their Cyber Sales end Monday, November 30.

And in the USA, for $1 more, you can get a 3-month World Explorer membership!

  • AncestryDNA in the USA $49 US
  • AncestryDNA in the UK £49
  • AncestryDNA in Australia $85 AUD
  • AncestryDNA in Canada $69 CAD

If you are in, or have recent ancestors from, continental Europe, and you are mainly interested in genealogy, you might consider starting with MyHeritage DNA.  Their database of more than 4 million testers has good representation of Europeans, and they also have tools, like Theories of Family Relativity and AutoClusters, to help integrate your DNA results with your traditional genealogy research.

  • MyHeritage DNA US$39 + free shipping on 2+ kits

 

If you’ve already tested with AncestryDNA and are looking for more matches and perhaps a “second opinion” on your ethnicity estimates, try 23andMe.  They have the second largest database in the world (more than 12 million), and their Ancestry + Traits test comes with the side bonuses of genetic trait reports, a Neanderthal estimate, a small auto-generated tree, and haplogroup assignments for yDNA and mtDNA.  Unfortunately, the lack of integration with your family tree makes this site a secondary choice for genealogy.

  • 23andMe Ancestry + Traits US$79 (ends Sunday, November 29)


If you are in, or have recent ancestors from, the British Isles, and you are mainly interested in regional ethnicity estimates within the UK and Ireland, consider LivingDNA’s Ancestry test.  Their analysis can delineate 21 distinct regions in the British Isles, and the company is making strides at regional breakdowns in continental Europe and in Africa.  Their matching database is still too small for serious genealogical work, though.

  • LivingDNA US$59 (ends Wednesday, December 2)


Living DNA

Health Applications

DNA-based health and trait reports are a growing area of interest in the field of genetic genealogy.  These products can predict some of your biological characteristics from your DNA.  The trait reports are non-medical, like hair color or caffeine sensitivity.  The health reports can assess your carrier status for genetic diseases like Tay-Sachs disease and cystic fibrosis as well as predict elevated risk for certain cancers or, say, Parkinson’s disease.  Overall, 23andMe offers more health and trait reports (99 total) than AncestryHealth (58 total) at the moment.

  • 23andMe Health + Ancestry Service US$99 (ends Sunday, November 29)
  • AncestryHealth US $99 (ends Thursday, December 31)


Genealogy Subscriptions

A subscription to a genealogy service can be worth its weight in gold by saving you travel expenses, repository fees, and wait times to obtain records.  With the right subscription, those records can be available at your fingertips, 24-7, and can be integrated into your genetic genealogy research.  You’ll want to compare Ancestry and MyHeritage to see which is best for you.  Both offer a 2-week free trial period.

  • Ancestry USA Gift Subscription 50% off (ends Monday, November 30)
  • Ancestry Canada Gift Subscriptions 40% off (ends Monday, November 30)
  • MyHeritage Data Subscription US$129 for the first year

15 thoughts on “Black Friday for DNA!”

  1. Sorry to see that you left out one of my favorite testing companies – FTDNA. Their sale runs thru Dec. 1st.

    1. I cannot in good conscience recommend FTDNA. I deleted all of my own atDNA kits from their database because I no longer trust them.

        1. They violated their Terms of Service to allow law enforcement into their database and didn’t tell their customers until they got caught. Furthermore, they opted all of their American customers into criminal investigations without getting consent. That was just the latest in a string of privacy breaches that led me to delete all of my atDNA kits from their database.

        1. They violated their Terms of Service to allow law enforcement into their database and didn’t tell their customers until they got caught. Furthermore, they opted all of their American customers into criminal investigations without getting consent. That was just the latest in a string of privacy breaches that led me to delete all of my atDNA kits from their database.

  2. Curious about LivingDNA… I have uploaded there and have some matches but have considered testing with them directly for ethnicity purposes. You mentioned that it’s good for those with more recent ancestors from the British Isles. My ancestors from that area are back to 3rd and 4th great grandparents… so very early 1800s and late 1700s. I suppose for me, this one would probably not be a wise choice?

    1. That’s probably a pretty reasonable time frame, but I suspect the accuracy will depend on how many of your ancestors were from the British Isles. I found that they overestimated my British ancestry, but my British friends consider it to be very acccurate.

    2. I’d also add that they’ve expanded their African heritage immensely so if you have any friends of African descent, I’d let them know about LDNA.
      Their ancestry kit is discounted to $69 and it does provide a closer haplogroup match than 23andMe. They also have a “Well Being” kit, which provides dietary and health features. You can also upload your DNA file from another testing company to get into their match database.
      I agree with Dr. Larkin that they are still a bit behind on adding DNA tools to their platform as well as a link to their partnered genealogy company, FindMyPast. Hopefully they’ll add some new features in 2021.

  3. Thanks for your comments. Several years ago looked at which company would be the best to go with. At that time it was FamilyTree for privacy. Little did I know.

  4. Hi there,

    I was wondering about your opinion as a first time user of these services, which company to go with.

    I noticed you compared the main companies back in 2018, but I could not find an article for 2020.

    I ask, because it seems Living DNA are offering more services and have this ‘One World’ thing as well, as well as nutritional additional components advertised too.

    I am born in England, and likely have Welsh and Irish Grandparents, and would like to know some more. But further back in time than that, I am not sure, and perhaps, Living DNA is the best bet for that region ? Perhaps thus they could confirm if my last 5 generations had all been in Wales and Ireland resepectively from an autosomal DNA test ?

    (I read you said after 5 generations, the autosomal DNA is too diluted for further analysis, which is why I ask.)

    I would be great to have some analysis further back than 5 generations too, (multi-continental, Neanderthal, Denisovan e.t.c) in which case, I assume I would need Y patrilineal and mitochondrial DNA tests.

    My question there would be that if I did these 2 extra tests through Living DNA (somewhat practical since they are included on their website now), would they have access to a decent mitochondrial and Y chromosone database with which to compare and locate ?

    (My optimistic hunch is that mtDNA and Y DNA are public databases, and Living DNA would have total access just as any other company would, but perhaps this is not the case, and perhaps 23 or MyAncestry have monopolies over the databases, just as it seems has been suggested with regards to autosomal DNA databases ?).

    Kind Regards,

    Chris

    1. As a Brit with deep roots there, I think you’ll get benefit from the ethnicity estimates at Living DNA. The mtDNA and yDNA haplogroups you’ll get from them aren’t compatible with public databases, though.

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