In a Nutshell
- Information about your connection to present-day populations
- Easy-to-use DNA swab
- The results are very general
- No DNA matching
People who are just starting to wonder about their ancestry or ethnicity
Why Go With HomeDNA
HomeDNA promises a high level of DNA analysis that you can rely on. The HomeDNA Starter Ancestry Test is a good choice for anyone who is just beginning to be interested in their ancestry or is curious about their ethnic profile. It gives you some introductory information about your origins. Choose HomeDNA Starter Ancestry Test as a gift for someone who is wondering about their genetic makeup, or to get a small insight into your ancestry.
What’s on Offer
HomeDNA’s Starter Ancestry Test is intended to be an introductory test to learn a little more about your ancestry. It divides your genetic heritage into 4 regions and promises to connect your past and your present by telling you which ethnic populations and modern-day countries share your genetic profile.
Ease of Use
The HomeDNA Starter Ancestry Test is pretty easy to use. You can order it quickly online or buy it off the shelf in many pharmacies like CVS. You won’t need to send in any preliminary documentation to use this test – only your credit card information and mailing address if you order online. To register your kit, you’ll have to share your email address.
The test kit uses cheek swabs to collect your sample, which are generally easier to use than saliva test kits. Here’s the process of collecting and submitting your DNA sample:
- Register your Starter Ancestry Test kit on the HomeDNA website, using the barcode on your test kit box
- Read the enclosed instructions
- Use the sterile cheek swabs to get a DNA sample from the inside of your cheek
- Seal the samples in the sample envelope provided and mail them back to the company using the prepaid reply envelope
- Wait to be notified about your ancestry results
The report is easy to access and download, but it’s not always so easy to understand. The population groups and regional ancestry information is fairly self-explanatory. However, the allele bar table won’t mean much unless you put time and effort into researching the significance of each DNA locus and genetic variant.
Speed of Kit Delivery and Results
There’s no information about how long it takes until your HomeDNA Starter Ancestry Test kit arrives. Once it does, it's as quick to carry out the DNA cheek swab as it is for every other similar DNA test. It takes 6-8 weeks for you to get your DNA test results, but you'll get an email when the company receives your sample, and you can follow the progress of testing and analysis on your secure personal account in the HomeDNA website.
You’ll get another email when your HomeDNA test results are ready. The results are uploaded onto the secure website, and you can use your username and password to log in and view your report. You can download the report as a PDF if you want so that you can share it with family members.
Since this is only a starter ancestry test, the results are not very detailed. You won’t get a deep series of clickable maps or complicated tables like some other test kits offer. Your ancestry information is divided into only 4 population groups:
- Indigenous American
- Sub-Saharan African
You can click each group name to see what percentage of your DNA matches that region and get information about the common haplogroups so that you can decide whether you want to investigate further.
The section about your present is more detailed. This part of the report shows a globe with a bar chart that represents which countries in the world have the highest percentage of people who share your DNA. These results give specific countries, not just regions. You’ll see your connection with each country as a percentage. The report also includes a bar table that shows the comparative allele values for all the genetic loci tested. This lets you see which set of alleles you carry for certain gene versions. You can use this information to dig deeper into your ethnic history, but there isn’t much advice provided on how to interpret this graph or the significance of the results.
DNA Test Type
Autosomal (family DNA) SNP test
- Ethnic makeup estimate, simple (chart with broad categories)
- Ethnic makeup estimate, regional detail (i.e., specific areas of Ireland or the UK, regions in Germany)
- Deep ancestry (migration paths from Africa to modern era)
HomeDNA’s Starter Ancestry Test aims to give you a brief overview of your ancestry and how it affects your present. The report has 2 sections—one about your genetic past, which shows what percentage of your ancestry derives from each of 4 population groups. It also tells you which common haplogroups are shared by each of these population regions. The second section tells you which percentage of your DNA is connected to present-day regions and populations and gives a graphic representation of your DNA profile.
HomeDNA offers customer support over the phone, or by email via the online web form. Phone lines are open from 8am to 5pm, on Monday to Friday, and it seems as though email support has the same hours. There's an FAQ section, but specific FAQs about various products are included on the product page only—you won’t be able to find them on the main FAQ page, which is a shame.
HomeDNA Starter Ancestry Test: $69
The HomeDNA Starter Ancestry Test is reliable and accurate, but it doesn’t give a great deal of information. It’s a good choice if you just want to know about which approximate regions your DNA comes from. It gives more information about your connections with present-day population groups, so it’s better for people who wonder about their modern ethnic identity.
However, because the HomeDNA Starter Ancestry Test only gives your ancestry for 4 regions, it’s pretty inconclusive. You won’t be able to confirm whether your ancestors came from Scandinavia or the Mediterranean, for example. It’s fairly expensive for such a general set of information. If you're looking for solid ancestry information, you'll probably get more detail for less money elsewhere. But, if you'd rather learn about your connections to modern-day populations, the HomeDNA Starter Ancestry Test is a good choice.
HomeDNA is the marketing brand for DNA Diagnostics Center (DDC). DDC was founded in 1995 as a leading genetic diagnostic laboratory. It’s located in Ohio and handles over 1 million DNA samples every year, including from celebrities such as Anna Nicole Smith and Prince. HomeDNA has processed over 10 million samples from over 150 countries and is committed to secure, confidential and reliable DNA test results.
HomeDNA is proud of its high-caliber team led by PhD-accredited experts. It maintains a non-contaminated laboratory to ensure accurate results. HomeDNA processes DNA samples from pets as well as humans and uses DNA diagnostics for paternity and relationship tests, health and wellness tests, forensics, and pet breeding.
Email: via online webform