AncestryWhen most people think of home DNA tests what typically comes to mind are what is known as ancestry or ethnicity tests. These are tests which pore over your DNA sample in order to get an overview of your ethnicity and build an assessment of the migration paths your ancestors took over the eons.
With many companies, you can combine an ancestry test with access to genealogical records and family tree builders. This allows you to create a comprehensive genealogical research tool that can be eye-opening, and can also help you find long-lost relatives you never even knew you had.
In addition, many ancestry DNA tests can also be used to establish paternity. These can be far more expensive—especially if they need to be legally admissible for immigration or custody reasons. You can expect to easily spend several hundred dollars or more on such a test.
And while ancestry and ethnicity tests are the most popular and prominent type of home DNA tests available today, there are other types that are gaining in popularity at a rapid clip.
Health DNA tests can use your DNA sample in order to build a personalized health assessment. These tests can assess if you are likely to have a genetic disease later in life, which vitamins you should take, and even if you like spicy foods or favor the sweet stuff.
Health tests can also be used to determine if there are any specific vitamins or supplements you should take, and which types of exercise are likely to be better for someone with your DNA makeup. Many companies combine the 2 tests into a health + ancestry test, so you don’t have to choose one or the other if you don't want to.
Though it may give you pause (paws?), a growing field is the world of pet DNA tests. No, this isn’t a way for your terrier to find any long lost relatives in the Old Country, rather, it’s a way for people with mixed-breed dogs to find out the pedigree of their pooch. These tests give an assessment of the breeds by percentage, as well as a health overview and an assessment of how much wolf and coyote DNA the dog has. You can also perform a DNA test on your cat, which can tell you which breeds are in their bloodline and which health issues they may have now or down the line.
DNA Tests at a Glance—What Do They Do and What Do They Cost?
Typically a straight ancestry/ethnicity test on its own will be your cheapest option, ranging from as little as $59 to around $79-$99 for most companies. These kits are often on sale online, especially around holiday time.
Combined ancestry + health tests can easily cost twice this, or around $199. Other tests include not only a health and ancestry report, but also a monthly shipment of supplements. This can cost around $150 for the initial test and then a monthly charge that can be $50-$100.
Here’s a quick glance at the prices of some of the big names in the DNA kit industry:
Discover Your Past With the Right Test
DNA testing companies offer their tests for purchase online through their company websites. Most companies offer special discounts and sales, often around holiday time. You may also find discounted prices if you’re buying more than one kit so check with a friend or relative to see if you can team up for a better deal.
Regardless, before you purchase a DNA kit, make sure to take a look at what each kit offers, and make sure that you’re buying one that has what you’re looking for, or that doesn’t charge for added testing that you aren’t interested in. And perhaps most importantly, have fun. There’s a whole world to explore out there, and endless personal and family discoveries that you didn’t even know were waiting for you.