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Top 10 Best DNA Testing Kits in 2024 - Unlock Your Ancestry

Margaret Etudo
The Best DNA Testing Kits of {year}

Recent advances in DNA testing make uncovering the mysteries behind our ancestral roots easier than ever before. In fact, a study published in Genome Biology estimates that 60 million Americans will have participated in genetic ancestry testing by 2025. This will create a vast database that can be used to offer significant benefits to consumers, according to the same study.

With so many options, figuring out which DNA kit is best for your specific needs can be a complex process. Every company leverages its own unique algorithms and research databases to determine results. This raises the question, how do you know which kit is most accurate, meets your DNA testing goals, and keeps your data safe?

To find answers to these questions, we researched and compared the top DNA testing kits in 2024, including what we like best about each kit so you can make a smart purchase more easily.

Our Top 10 Best DNA Testing Kits and Companies:

  • MyHeritage DNA - Best DNA testing kit overall
  • AncestryDNA - Best for finding genetic relatives
  • Living DNA - Best for accuracy in ancestral research
  • LetsGetChecked - Best for checking health-related issues
  • Futura Genetics - Best for identifying carrier genes
  • GPS Origins - Best for mapping ancestral migration patterns
  • 23andMe - Best for learning about your ethnicity
  • HomeDNA - Best for pet DNA testing
  • Vitagene - Best for wellness-focused testing products
  • EasyDNA - Best for testing non-standard samples
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Compare With Top10.com, Choose the Best for You

At Top10.com, we recognize the importance of thorough and accurate product and service reviews in guiding your choices. Our team, comprising editors and industry experts, conducts extensive research to provide comprehensive insights. Our content is continually updated to reflect the latest market trends, offering current information. 

We provide a range of services including comparison lists and in-depth reviews, all tailored to meet your specific needs. Our goal is to empower you to make confident and informed choices.

36 DNA Testing Kits Evaluated | 4 Evaluation Criteria | 10 Best DNA Testing Kits

Our Methodology: How We Reviewed the Best DNA Testing Kits

To find the best DNA testing kits, we reviewed several different criteria, including:

  • Price
  • Resources
  • Privacy and security 
  • Speed of results

These parameters provide a good baseline to use as you do your own analysis, narrow your options, and decide which DNA test to purchase. 

Affordability

We focused on examining DNA test kits that offer excellent value with reasonable pricing. We also considered the overall cost, new subscription plans, renewals, DNA sample results, processing, and shipping costs.

Range of Information

A DNA test's ability to accurately conduct ancestry research depends on the range of information available in the company's databases. The deeper the archives, the more resourceful and accurate the company can be with its results. Most of the DNA testing companies we selected boast millions or billions of records in their archives.

Privacy

The security and sensitivity of private information are essential to DNA testing. This could be a concern for people purchasing at-home DNA tests, which is why we considered the protocols taken by each company we reviewed. The companies that made our list have protective measures in place that keep data secure. We also took into account reviews from people who've used these particular DNA testing kits and felt they were trustworthy.

Result Speed

Time-sensitive DNA tests should be delivered quickly—so we weighed the rate of delivery heavily in comparison with our other review factors. A good example of optimal turnaround time can be seen with MyHeritage DNA: The company delivers testing results in as little as three to four weeks.

Our Top 10 Best DNA Testing Kits

  • 1
    MyHeritage DNA

    MyHeritage DNA

    • Best forDiscovering genetic profiles and building family trees
    • Price per kit$39 (normally $89) + shipping
    • Results in3-4 weeks

    MyHeritage DNA provides tools to help you build a family tree, discover your genetic profile, and explore fun activities like animating family photos. Their test kit gives you access to over 19.6 billion family history archives and offers a detailed breakdown of both your ethnicity and the genetic groups your DNA stems from. 

    It leverages autosomal DNA information, comparing your chromosomes and genetic traits with people whose genetic material has been tested by the company. This can help you find unknown relatives who've used autosomal DNA test kits as well.

    Blaine Bettinger, PhD, a professional genealogist specializing in DNA evidence, explains that MyHeritage DNA also offers "a chromosome browser... that allows test takers to see exactly what segments of DNA they are identified as sharing with another person." In addition, "[this browser permits] users to compare segments of up to seven genetic matches at a time." 

    Why we chose MyHeritage DNA: The Complete plan, MyHeritage DNA's primary offering, unlocks over 10 genealogy research tools along with ancestry information across the company's website. Plus, the 30-day free trial gives you access to billions of records and a free family tree builder. 

    Our experience: We found it extremely useful that MyHeritage DNA lets you manage numerous accounts simultaneously. You don't need to log in and out of different profiles to gather information. Plus, we liked that you can link multiple kits to one account and import DNA results from other companies for free.

    Pros
    • Extensive knowledge base
    • Online genealogical tools complemented by DNA testing
    • Import existing family trees for free
    Cons
    • Online genealogy tools can be expensive after the first year
    • Majority of historical records are outside Asia and Africa
  • 2
    AncestryDNA

    AncestryDNA

    • Best forAdvanced genealogical research
    • Price per kit$99
    • Results in6 to 8 weeks

    AncestryDNA offers several genealogical research tools, including family tree-building software, community features, and health, ethnicity, and heritage databases. It also delivers some of the best genetic testing kits on the market today and opens the door to genealogical records for over 30 billion DNA samples.

    This DNA testing kit company partners with and is owned by one of the largest genealogy sites in the world Ancestry.com. Users can take advantage of this by integrating their results with their genealogical research on the platform. 

    If your main goal is to learn more about your family history, AncestryDNA is perfectly suited to help. DNA wellness expert, Magnolia Pretell, PhD, confirms that AncestryDNA "will give you a percentage of where your ethnicity is from." Information within both the Ancestry.com and AncestryDNA platforms spans over 80 countries, with results that paint a uniquely holistic picture of your ancestry.

    Why we chose AncestryDNA: AncestryDNA and Ancestry.com offer a rare partnership that gives users access to a double-header of heritage records. Additionally, AncestryDNA uses methods like SideView technology to detect what DNA you share with your parents. 

    Our experience: AncestryDNA is a breeze to use. Right from the first click, you're presented with different options to help choose the best plan for your needs. When we got stuck during our research, the site allowed us to contact genealogy experts. However, it didn't provide reliable DNA health test results. If that's your main goal for purchasing a DNA test kit, this product might not be the best for you.

    Pros
    • Billions of US and international records
    • Very easy to use
    • High-quality DNA testing is available
    Cons
    • Above-average price range
    • Can’t merge family trees
  • 3
    Living DNA

    Living DNA

    • Best forAccuracy in ancestral research
    • Price per kit$79/kit
    • Results in6-8 weeks

    Living DNA provides an extensive database to comb through, particularly if you're from the British Isles, Europe, or Africa. This is the best ancestry test to explore your geographic ethnicity. 

    The company is led by a group of UK-based experts and researchers and has a reputation for well-detailed results, access to resources and research, and good customer service. It also lets you publish an ancestry book featuring your story. This is a personal, visual way to explain your results and share them with friends and family—we didn't see this option with any of the other kits we evaluated. 

    To top it off, Living DNA can identify rare genetic diseases, providing insights into genes that may help fight cancerous cells. For example, it may track genes like BRCA1, a marker for breast cancer.

    Why we chose Living DNA: We like Living DNA's testing options and affordable prices, along with its straightforward and easily accessible services. The exciting part for us is how this test kit combines ancestry research and personalized medical insights through forensic DNA testing. 

    Our experience: Living DNA's ancestry test offers a subregional analysis for certain areas like Europe, Africa, and the British Isles. The well-being upgrade is an impressive add-on; it breaks down vitamin response and food metabolism, offering nutritional advice, and exercise and recovery tips. 

    Pros
    • Advanced details for Africa, Europe, and British Isles
    • Haplogroup reports give ancient ancestry
    • Portal is easy to navigate
    Cons
    • Relative newcomer to DNA testing market
    • Smaller user database than market leaders
  • 4
    LetsGetChecked

    LetsGetChecked

    • Best forAccess to in-depth screening options
    • Price per kit$99-$299/kit
    • Results in2 to 5 days

    LetsGetChecked isn't a traditional DNA test. Instead, it looks for health-related issues, like hormone level imbalances, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), or kidney and liver health. The aim is to provide accurate biological information about your wellness before visiting your doctor.

    The company offers several health-focused tests and screenings that can help you double-check for risks, heart problems, vitamin deficiencies, and assorted lifestyle factors that may negatively impact your well-being. These results can guide you in making better lifestyle choices.

    As with any at-home health or DNA tests, we recommend you speak with your healthcare provider about your test results. With LetsGetChecked tests, this is even more important. Because the company focuses predominantly on health screening (and not ancestry tracking), seeking proper medical attention and advice before taking action based on your test's final results is essential.

    Why we chose LetsGetChecked: LetsGetChecked's virtual one-on-one sessions make testing exceptionally easy. You simply download an app to your Android or iOS device and gain access to the kit's tools and resources (including guidance on when and how to take each test). Because their tests are primarily tied to health screening, your results are 100% encrypted and protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).

    Our experience: LetsGetChecked had the fastest turnaround time (2 to 5 days) and returned our results quickly and seamlessly. We were also impressed with the test's accuracy; the company follows the same checks and balances as a standard blood test at your doctor's office. 

    Pros
    • Discreet at-home testing
    • Results available in 2-5 days
    • Medication available for certain conditions
    Cons
    • Some tests require at-home blood test
    • No genetic testing
  • 5
    Futura Genetics

    Futura Genetics

    • Best forIdentifying carrier genes
    • Price per kit$465
    • Results in 4 weeks

    Futura Genetics offers test kits for DNA profiling and identifying carrier genes. It harnesses the power of advanced technology to analyze your genes and aims to help improve overall health and extend longevity.

    To make this happen, the company tests for distinct indicators to determine genetic health risks and 28 of the most common diseases. Although it uses a saliva sample collection method (some people may prefer a cheek swab), it still gets the job done. 

    After receiving your test samples, Futura Genetics conducts a careful analysis to provide you with an extensive overview of the results. This comprises a 26-page health report, complete with nutritional advice based on the findings.

    Why we choose Futura Genetics: Futura Genetics' scientific techniques, paired with a personalized health overview that includes nutritional advice, make their testing process feel more human and personal. We also liked the speedy results delivery and the comprehensive report. 

    Our experience: Before taking the test, we participated in a Futura Genetics live genetic counseling session with a licensed physician. This provided valuable insights to guide us through the testing process. After receiving our results, we had the opportunity for follow-up discussions, which made the experience feel more like a visit with a traditional doctor.

    Pros
    • Scientifically supported insights
    • Lifestyle advice for lowering disease risk
    • Detailed disease and risk information
    Cons
    • No ancestry report
    • No information on health or other traits
  • 6
    GPS Origins

    GPS Origins

    • Best forMapping ancestral migration patterns
    • Price per kit$149/kit
    • Results in4 to 6 weeks

    Compared to other genealogical companies, GPS Origins (owned by HomeDNA) boasts a wide range of geographic research results spread over 900 regions. 

    With innovative technology, it can dig deeper into the general area from which your ancestors may have come, and identify the precise location—even down to the city. You can even follow your genealogical journey along a map to see the direction your family may have moved, and the villages, cities, countries, and even islands that they likely passed through.

    To make this happen, GPS Origins examines thousands of autosomal biomarkers, highlighting their uniqueness. With a heavy focus on location-specific migration, this particular DNA kit also breaks down its reports into gene pools, giving you a close-up view of your genetic makeup and family's ethnic culture.

    Why we chose GPS Origins: The mapping features and distinct geographical bells and whistles that GPS Origins offers set it apart from the competition. Its all-in-one tools also check the genes controlling healthy weight, skincare, and paternity. 

    Our experience: We were impressed with the gene pool profile available to GPS Origins subscribers. The interactive map was a big bonus for our ancestral research, showing detailed information on both our maternal and paternal ancestors and their migration journeys.

    Pros
    • Free shipping
    • Health tests available
    • Robust migration tracking reports
    Cons
    • Higher price than other kits
    • Limited customer service options
  • 7
    23andMe
    • Best forLearning about your ethnicity
    • Price per kitFrom $99 to $199
    • Results in3 to 4 weeks

    23andMe offers DNA-based ethnicity estimates. It uses ancient haplogroups (maternal and paternal lineages that share a common ancestor) and Neanderthal information to track your roots. The service can find your closest living relatives using DNA samples—going back as far as six to eight generations.

    The genetic health reports based on the samples you give 23andMe offer a robust snapshot of your ancestry and health. For example, revealing the science behind your eye color and what influences your smell, taste, and facial features. The evidence-backed reports screen for potential risks tied to various diseases, including respiratory and oncology issues. 

    Although the company's genealogical test is not as precise as others, 23andMe is one of the most accurate DNA kits on the market for ethnicity research.

    Why we chose 23andMe: 23andMe provides a superb and comprehensive genetic health report. Through haplogroup data, they're able to dig deep into your ancient roots. They also have a feature that allows you to study different ancestry timelines and connect with DNA-matched relatives by sending them a message.

    Our experience: When it comes to customer service, we think 23andMe is a top performer. Interactions with the company were helpful and comfortable. Interestingly, 23andMe allows users to voluntarily participate in genetic research by linking their information to further studies—we like that this is an option and that you can opt out whenever you want.

    Pros
    • Excellent genetic health information
    • Haplogroup reports show ancient roots
    • Gives estimate of Neanderthal heritage
    Cons
    • No genealogy research available
    • Health test requires upgrade
  • 8
    HomeDNA
    • Best forDNA test-taking enthusiasts of all kinds
    • Price per kitFrom $79
    • Results in4 to 8 weeks

    HomeDNA processes raw data about your genes and is best suited for more specialized testing and DNA research into ancestral origins. Aside from being a go-to for paternity testing, HomeDNA does a good job with DNA origins testing through its subsidiary, GPS Origins. 

    Kits are affordable and HomeDNA's sample extraction process is easy enough to complete. The company also offers genetic health tests that can identify your sensitivity to some foods, pet dander, and skin care products.

    With HomeDNA, you can import reports from other genealogy research websites to help track results. The reverse is also possible—you can export your results from HomeDNA to other websites. You can also track your DNA migration pattern to see the ancestral interaction between your maternal and paternal lines.

    Why we chose HomeDNA: HomeDNA boasts the number-one ranked paternity test in the US (according to the product site) and offers accurate results at a budget-friendly price. Plus, the easy-to-use kit is one of the few we reviewed that extends DNA testing services to pets.

    Our experience: We found the online platform easy to navigate, and liked that you can shop for health and beauty products based on your sensitivity results, which is a convenient and helpful add-on.

    Pros
    • Large selection of test kits
    • Provides access to raw data
    • Detailed, very specific results
    Cons
    • No family tree services
    • Cannot expedite results for most tests
  • 9
    Vitagene
    • Best forWellness-focused testing products
    • Price per kitFrom $89 to $169
    • Results in3 to 8 weeks

    Vitagene puts wellness at the heart of all its services, making it the ideal option if you're looking for personalized health tips based on your genetic makeup. (Although the company offers ancestry test services, they're not as effective as Vitagene's genetic health tests.)

    Vitagene testing options include diet, supplementation, fitness, and skin reports. There are also tests for genetic risks, certain skin conditions, endurance abilities, and nutritional deficiency. In addition, the company's collection of products includes a COVID-19 test kit.

    Why we chose Vitagene: Vitagene provides several detailed health reports that aren't available in most competitors' kits. We were also drawn to the company by its wellness-focused testing products, which include inflammatory testing, a sleep and stress test, and a thyroid test.

    Our experience: Although Vitagene offers several how-to resources and an FAQ section for users to peruse online, there's not much information to read through. Luckily, the test was pretty intuitive to use; it required a basic cheek swab and only took a couple of minutes. We also found customer service reps to be friendly and responsive.

    Pros
    • Useful wellness tips
    • Supplement advice based on DNA
    • Offers health add-on if you already have DNA data
    Cons
    • Low level of detail for ancestry report
    • Website FAQs are limited
  • 10
    EasyDNA
    • Best forResearching the origins of departed family members
    • Price per kitFrom $80 to $433
    • Results in1 to 6 weeks

    In addition to an oral swab, EasyDNA uses hair samples to perform detailed DNA tests. The company can also confirm the presence of DNA in a relative's ash sample by testing cremated remains.

    It offers various test types, such as prenatal and paternity testing. So whether you'd like to know the gender of your child, learn more about your genetic health, or identify the origins of a deceased loved one, EasyDNA has you covered. The company's wide range of services differentiates it from other testing kit providers. 

    EasyDNA's kits include relationship, drug, and clinical testing options. As its name suggests, this kit focuses on making it easy for you to get specialized and specific DNA tests from a single provider.

    Why we chose EasyDNA: EasyDNA provides accurate and fast results. For the number of tests they offer, their speed is outstanding. They also offer a wide range of services and a commendable customer support system. EasyDNA is currently available in 25 countries—we're impressed with how prevalent the kits are, and that customer service can accommodate several languages.

    Our experience: We contacted customer support for help through email and WhatsApp, and experienced responsive and helpful exchanges. We also found quality resources on the EasyDNA website to benefit both curious potential customers and first-time or existing users.

    Pros
    • Wide variety of DNA tests
    • Results in 3-5 days
    • Works with accredited laboratories
    Cons
    • No database for finding relatives
    • Does not include access to raw data



How to Compare the Best DNA Testing Kits

Before choosing a DNA test kit, consider your specific needs, goals, interests, and budget. To help you weigh the pros and cons, we organized these factors into a helpful chart.

Use the information provided here to track which DNA kits are best for genealogy research or which companies lean towards genetic health and wellness. The chart also breaks down pricing and indicates which companies include shipping in their cost. Finally, note that most test kits only measure genetic risk, or help find your ancestral roots and shouldn't be used as valid diagnoses (except for some LetsGetChecked tests).

Company
Specialization
Collection Method
Results Timeframe
Price
Key Features
Historical Records
Testing Offered
MyHeritage DNA
Uncovering ethnic origins and finding relatives
Cheek swab
3-4 weeks
$44.50 + shipping
19.6 billion archives; Free family tree builder
19.6 billion
Genealogy, Autosomal DNA
AncestryDNA
Discovering origins and learning about family’s health
Not specified
6-8 weeks
$99
20+ billion historical records; SideView technology
20+ billion
Health, Genealogy, Autosomal DNA
Living DNA
Exploring ancestry and understanding health genetics
Cheek swab
4-6 weeks
$79
Subregional analysis for Europe, Africa, British Isles
20 billion historical records
Comprehensive (All types)
LetsGetChecked
Checking health-related issues
Not specified
2-5 days
$99-$299
Health screening: HIPAA compliant data protection
N/A
Health Only
Futura Genetics
Identifying carrier genes
Saliva
4 weeks
$465
Tests for 28 common diseases: Nutritional advice included
N/A
Health Only
GPS Origins
Mapping ancestral migration patterns
Not specified
4-6 weeks
$149
Over 900 regions analyzed; Gene pool profiles
Over 900 regions
Genealogy, Autosomal DNA
23andMe
Learning about ethnicity
Saliva
3-4 weeks
$99-$199
Neanderthal heritage; Haplogroup reports
N/A
Comprehensive (All types)
HomeDNA
Pet DNA testing
Cheek swabs
4-8 weeks
From $79
Specialized and ancestral origins testing; Pet DNA tests
Subsidiary: GPS Origins
Health, Genealogy, Autosomal DNA, Paternity
Vitagene
Wellness-focused testing products
Cheek swab
3-8 weeks
$89-$169
Health and wellness tips; Supplement advice based on DNA
N/A
Nutritional + Health Only
EasyDNA
Testing non-standard samples
Oral swab / Hair
1-6 weeks
$80-$433
Wide variety of DNA tests; Works with accredited labs
N/A
Comprehensive (All types)


Our  DNA Experts

Top10.com's content is developed and reviewed by an elite team of medical experts. This panel of professional genealogists, biomedical researchers and medical writers helps to review articles and provides unbiased opinions.

What are DNA Tests?

DNA tests, also known as genetic tests, are medical checks that look for variations or mutations in your genetic sequence. Through blood, hair, or bodily fluid samples, these tests check for changes in your genes, proteins, or chromosomes. By identifying the variations in genetic code, they can map out your family history, assess the likelihood of inheriting a genetic condition or estimate your chances of developing a disease.

Although a doctor may request a genetic test for medical reasons, many people purchase at-home DNA kits out of curiosity and to learn about themselves.

Privacy Considerations with DNA Test Kits

As the popularity of DNA testing increases, there's a growing concern about privacy and data security. Common worries include the possibility of sensitive genetic information being released without your permission to third parties or the commercialization of personal data.

For example, companies may use genetic information for research and product development without authorization or consent. Some insurance companies may also use this data to determine eligibility or set premiums.

Before taking an at-home DNA test, consider the potential consequences. Sharing genetic information is a personal decision that requires careful deliberation and an understanding of both the potential benefits and risks. 

Privacy and DNA Test Kits: Should You Share Your Data?

Before submitting your DNA sample for analysis, familiarize yourself with the privacy policies and potential risks involved. DNA test kit companies can collect, store, and use your genetic information for various purposes, including research, product development, and marketing. Data may also be accessed by law enforcement

Most providers post their policies online or with product packaging so be sure to carefully read over all terms and conditions.

Another consideration should be that you and your relatives have similar genetic sequences. When sharing your genetic code, you're also sharing your family's data. Be mindful of the information you share online and only use secure digital storage that maintains safe access to your results.

How Does DNA Testing Work?

DNA testing analyzes genetic material to determine specific information about your traits, ancestry, and hereditary health risks. To test your DNA, companies generally follow these steps:

  1. A DNA sample is collected from your blood, saliva, or hair and submitted through a test kit.
  2. The sample then goes to a laboratory for analysis. 
  3. Laboratory technicians make multiple copies of the DNA through a process called amplification.
  4. The amplified DNA undergoes analysis through techniques like sequencing, to identify certain genetic markers.
  5. This analysis informs the DNA testing kit's final results.

Using the DNA Testing Kit: Step-by-Step Guide

Using a DNA kit is a simple and convenient way to collect genetic material and send it to a laboratory for analysis. Reputable DNA testing companies include step-by-step instructions to guide you through the collection process and ensure the most accurate results.

To use the kit, you need to collect a saliva sample, usually through a cheek swab. (Although, some kits may require a blood sample). The instructions provided with the kit will guide you through how to collect the sample and how much saliva you'll need to submit.

If the DNA test kit instead requires a blood test, it'll instruct you to collect a DNA sample by pricking your finger with a lancet, gently massaging the finger to increase blood flow, and filling a supplied blood tube. 

In the final parts of the testing process, you'll register the sample online using a barcode that matches your specific kit. The testing kit will include detailed instructions for finalizing your sample, along with return shipping packaging, cost information, and the expected turnaround time to process your results. 

Different Types of DNA Tests

As genetic testing technology advances, so does the versatility of DNA tests. As a result, they're classified into several different types, based on the specific information they reveal. Below are the seven most popular types of DNA testing you should know about:

Family Tree Builders & Genealogy Tests

Genealogy tests like 23andMe and MyHeritage use DNA-based genetic markers to determine your ancestry—and also offer family tree-building tools. This lets you leverage genealogy test results to create a visual family tree. Although you can use one without the other, many people enjoy using the tests and family tree tools together to capture and organize their findings.

With this information, you can learn more about your background, including where your ancestors came from, their migration patterns, and their ethnicity. Family tree builders and genealogy tests are a fun and informative way to explore your ancestry and family history.

Sibling DNA Test Kits

Sibling DNA test kits may be particularly helpful in confirming genetic bonds between brothers and sisters, or reliable parentage testing (if one or both parents are unavailable or deceased). This type of DNA relationship testing also helps establish legal relationships for inheritance or immigration purposes.

Paternity Tests

Paternity tests are often used to compare the DNA of a child with their potential father's, to see if it matches. A positive result indicates that the man is indeed the child's biological father. 

Paternity tests are usually done to establish or prove legal parentage, and assist with child custody or support arrangements.

Ancestry Tests

Otherwise known as genetic genealogy, ancestry DNA testing determines your ethnic background and family history. These tests can fill in any gaps you may have with historical records, and confirm stories from relatives.

Because ancestry tests make ethnicity estimates based on genetic data, some are designed specifically for certain populations. For example, certain kits have an extensive database of African American and Asian genetic information and provide detailed and specific results for descendants of these ethnic groups.

Health Tests

Health DNA tests analyze your DNA to identify any genetic markers or variations that could indicate an increased risk for certain health conditions or diseases. They provide health information that can shape daily lifestyle choices, medical decisions, or treatment options. 

In addition, several health DNA tests are designed to detect carrier status for specific conditions, such as sickle cell disease.

Note: You shouldn't use health DNA tests to diagnose illnesses or diseases without the guidance of your healthcare provider.

Gene Therapy

Gene therapy is a medical process that aims to prevent and treat genetic disorders. It does so by identifying the underlying issue and modifying genetic material within your cells.

This process may include replacing a mutated gene with a functional one, deactivating a disease-causing gene, or introducing a new gene to fight a particular disease.

Although gene therapy is still in early development, it could treat or cure many genetic diseases, including diabetes, cystic fibrosis, and cancer.

Forensic Tests

Using techniques like DNA profiling or fingerprinting to analyze samples, forensic DNA testing can identify individuals based on their genetic patterns. The process involves collecting DNA samples from various sources to create a profile for the individual. The profile is then compared to known samples, like those of a person in a law enforcement database, to see if there is a match.

Forensic DNA testing has become a crucial tool for both law enforcement and legal purposes. It is used not just to establish biological relationships between people but to confirm the identity of crime suspects. 

How to Choose a DNA Test Kit?  

Different DNA test kits focus on providing a wide variety of data and results. To determine which is right for you, consider your goals. Are you hoping to confirm ancestry, find lost relatives, or learn more about potential health issues?

Along with these considerations, seven key factors can connect you with the best DNA test to match your specific interests or needs.

Information Revealed by the Test

Before buying a DNA kit, consider your motivation and goals for taking the test. For example, an ancestry DNA test will help you learn more about your ethnicity and family heritage. A health test is best if you and your doctor want to rule out potential genetic conditions.

Type of Test

DNA tests uncover different types of data, depending on the genetic material they analyze. For example, mitochondrial DNA tests reveal information specific to your maternal line (your mother's side of the family). In contrast, Y-DNA tests show information specific to your paternal line (your father's side of the family).

Pricing for DNA Testing

The price of a DNA kit varies based on the type of test and the laboratory performing the analysis. Some kits, such as LivingDNA, can be relatively inexpensive, while others can be quite costly.

Research the cheapest DNA testing kits available today to find one at a price that fits your budget. As you conduct your search, be aware that insurance may not cover the cost of health-related DNA testing. Check with your insurance provider and the test distributor to learn if you'll need to pay for the full price of your test or if some of the cost could be covered.

Pricing for Other DNA Test Types

There are sometimes other costs to consider beyond the purchase price of your DNA testing kit. For example, you may need to pay extra for testing processes. Certain types of DNA tests may collect and submit multiple samples, which increases the overall cost of the testing.

Others, like those for prenatal or cancer-related genetic information, may require further medical procedures, biopsies, or imaging tests. Plus, you may need to pay for genetic counseling and follow-up medical care. Consulting with healthcare providers or genetic counselors will help you better estimate total costs.

Ease of Use

Simplicity can be a differentiator when it comes to selecting DNA testing kits. The process of collecting a sample can vary depending on the type of test—with some methods being significantly more difficult than others. As you shop for tests, look for those that include step-by-step instructions, non-invasive sample collection, and easy-to-understand privacy and security protocols.

Quality of Reports

If you go through collecting and submitting DNA samples for testing, you'll need to understand the results in the final report. Get the help of your healthcare provider or a genetic counselor to explain some of the raw data. You can also choose a company that offers a clear and straightforward final record. (Kits like 23andMe and AncestryDNA are known for their user-friendly reports).

Accuracy of DNA Test Results

The type of test you take—and how you take it—can impact the accuracy of your results. To sort through which tests have higher levels of accuracy, you may need to do a little homework. We advise you to read user reviews and explore what customers say about test results and accuracy before making your purchase. Also watch for reports of false positive or negative results, which can have serious implications, especially in the case of paternity.

Brands like AncestryDNA and MyHeritage DNA are well known for their accurate testing results.

Privacy Protection

DNA testing reveals sensitive information about your genetic makeup, impacting your personal, medical, and familial data. To protect your privacy, you need to know how your samples and results may be used and stored, and how access to results is managed.

Some DNA tests require the submission of a sample to a third-party laboratory, which should raise privacy concerns. We recommend carefully reading testing kit privacy policies to better understand any potential implications that may come with the analysis, and publication (or distribution) of your DNA kit's results.

Special Features

Beyond basic genetic results, some DNA kits boast bonus features and may provide additional particulars and insights about your genes. For example, several DNA tests identify carrier status for certain genetic conditions or can provide information on your ancestry timeline. Others grant access to larger databases filled with millions or billions of DNA matches.

Who Should Consider DNA Testing? And Who Shouldn't?

Even if you're looking to find specific DNA results for your gene sequence, there are some instances in which it may be better for a family member to take a test, rather than you. There are also situations in which taking a DNA test may negatively impact your health. 

To help confirm if the benefits of testing outweigh the risk, we recommend genetic counseling before and after taking a DNA test. But in most common-use cases, the following information can help discern if it's a safe option.

Some of the best reasons to get a DNA test include:

  • Wanting to know more about your ancestry and family history.
  • Determining if you're at risk of a particular health condition.
  • Finding information about your biological family.
  • Confirming maternity or paternity.

Although it's generally safe for most people to take a DNA test, there are circumstances where a test may not be necessary or appropriate for you. These include:

  • Currently undergoing medical treatment, such as chemotherapy (which can temporarily affect the accuracy of your results).
  • Being uncomfortable with a company analyzing and storing your genetic information.
  • A history of mental illness that may cause you or your family to struggle with the emotional impacts of your test results.

What Can DNA Testing Reveal?

DNA tests can reveal a scope of information not limited to your ancestry or health. They can also indicate dietary limitations, share genetic markers, predict or explain reactions to certain medications, and help develop or prescribe personalized medicine.

Limits of DNA Testing

Although DNA tests are a powerful tool to reveal lots of information about you and your ancestry, there are limitations. For example, they can't predict behavior, personality, environmentally-influenced traits, and other non-genetic factors. Although health-related tests can alert you to potential health developments, they also can't provide a 100% guarantee regarding your future health or the likelihood of developing a genetic condition.

Important DNA Testing Terminology

When researching DNA test kits, you may run into unfamiliar terms and language. To help decipher the most commonly used terms, we created a dictionary capturing the top nine genetic words or phrases you'll need to know. 

  • Chromosome: A cell structure that contains DNA and proteins. Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes in each body cell, one of each pair from the mother and the other from the father.
  • Gene: A section of DNA containing instructions for making a specific protein. Genes determine many physical characteristics, such as eye color and height.
  • Genetics: The scientific study of genes and heredity.
  • Heredity: The passing of genetic character from parents to their offspring through genes.
  • Haplogroup: A group of individuals who share a common ancestor based on their DNA.
  • Autosomal DNA: DNA found in the 22 pairs of chromosomes, other than the sex chromosomes (X and Y). Autosomal DNA is a key factor in learning about your ancestry and ethnicity, collecting information from as far back as five generations.
  • Mitochondrial DNA: DNA found in the mitochondria, or the energy-producing structures in our cells. Since mitochondrial DNA is inherited from the mother, it can reveal information about the maternal side of your family.
  • Y-chromosome DNA: DNA found on the Y chromosome, passed down from the father. Y-chromosome DNA can provide information about your paternal family members.
  • Reference population: A group of individuals used for comparison purposes in genetic testing. This can include individuals from specific regions or ethnic groups.

Emerging Trends in DNA Testing Shaping the Future

The DNA revolution has arrived—and it's here to stay. From history to health and forensics, DNA testing provides comprehensive insights and genetic information to broaden scientists' understanding of the human genome. 

Recent DNA research and testing have created several notable trends that may influence and potentially revolutionize the future. Some of these include:

Retelling History

Today, the study of DNA is changing the way we understand history. Researchers are using DNA testing to learn more about the migration patterns of ancient populations and gain a deeper understanding of human evolution. For example, in a 2020 study, Takashi Gakuhari and Shigeki Nakagome of Trinity College, Dublin, led a team that analyzed whole-genome sequence data from a 2,500-year-old Jomon individual using DNA testing. They were able to gain new insights into the migration routes of early East Asian populations.

Heritage Travel

Not only can you investigate your ancestry, but you can also explore your heritage. Thanks to DNA testing, heritage travel companies help individuals connect with their ancestral homelands and provide personalized travel experiences based on their genetic heritage.

Advancing Wellness

DNA testing can provide information about genetic risks for certain medical conditions and drug reactions. This can help you make lifestyle changes to reduce the probability of developing those conditions. Building knowledge of your biological responses to certain pharmaceuticals can also help your healthcare provider personalize medications and treatments to your needs.

Early Disease Detection

Recent studies are using DNA testing to detect diseases earlier—significantly improving survival chances. For example, in 2020, Xindong Chen and his team of researchers successfully used DNA testing to detect cancer in its early stages. This is a notable advancement, particularly when treating diseases like cancer; early detection can be the difference between survival or seriously perilous consequences.

Fighting Crime 

DNA testing is increasingly important in solving crimes and bringing criminals to justice. The ability to collect an individual's DNA and match it to evidence at a crime scene has revolutionized law enforcement and forensic science. For example, in 2013—49 years after the crime occurred—the Boston Police Department used Y-DNA analysis to solve the case of the Boston Strangler.

Additional DNA Test Kits and Companies We've Reviewed

As DNA testing becomes increasingly popular, many new companies and test kits are entering the market. While this top 10 list of DNA testing kits is a good starting point, there are additional options that didn't make our list but are still worth exploring:

Our Most Popular Articles on DNA Testing


Making an Informed Purchase of a DNA Testing Kit

DNA testing is a rapidly growing field offering a rich bank of information about your ancestry, health, and genetic predispositions. 

Our picks for the top 10 best DNA testing kits are MyHeritage DNA, AncestryDNA, Living DNA, LetsGetChecked, Futura Genetics, GPS Origins, 23andMe, HomeDNA, Vitagene, and EasyDNA.

Top10 offers tips to help you identify the best DNA test kit for your needs, interpret your results, and understand the terminology you may encounter so that you can make the most informed decisions about DNA testing.

Frequently Asked Questions
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