Recent advances in our understanding of genetics and DNA have made DNA testing kits very accessible. Whether you want to learn more about your ancestry, discover mutations that could impact your health, or even test your dog’s genetic composition, there are now a range of tests that allow you to do this from the comfort of your own home.
There are many different DNA testing kits on offer, and it can be difficult to know which one meets your needs. Below, we have created a summary of some of the major testing kits available to help you decide which to choose.
Ancestry is one of the most common and well-known DNA testing kits on the market. To date, over 16 million people  have used the kit to trace their ethnic mix from 500 global regions. What’s more, all of this information is kept on a giant Ancestry database, allowing users to compare their results to other submissions to identify those who are a close genetic match. Ancestry can also test beyond genetics – if you upgrade your subscription to AncestryHealth you can also view personalized health reports based on your genetic profile, as well as access to genetic counseling resources.Order Now
Perhaps the most famous of the DNA testing kits, 23andMe offers both a basic ancestry service, as well as a health  and ancestry upgrade. The ancestry service compares your DNA from more than 1,500 geographical regions, and also allows you to identify users with close results to you, that you could be related to. If you upgrade to the health and ancestry package, you will also receive over ten health pre-disposition reports, which outline aspects of your DNA that make you more likely to develop a disease, giving you the option to take any necessary preventative measures or lifestyle changes.Order Now
The MyHeritage DNA test kit is more affordable than many others on the market and users can access all of  their results without paying for an additional subscription, which is sometimes required with other testing kits. The MyHeritage DNA test kit provides an in-depth analysis of your ethnic background, comparing your DNA to data from 42 regions. In addition, it offers a DNA matching component that can help you to find relatives based on shared DNA. It is important to note that some users have reported waiting for a long time before they received their test results.Order Now
The STK Paternity test is a simple and effective method for determining whether a suspected father and child are  indeed related. While the kit doesn’t provide you any information about your genetic heritage, it will help to determine whether two individuals are related. The test can be easily ordered online (through Amazon), it’s simple to take a sample, and the test even comes with a pre-paid return mailer. Once you send back the samples, your results should be ready in 3-5 days. They can be accessed online, and you can also request a full-color copy to be mailed to your home.Order Now
FamilyTree DNA offers a few different DNA testing kits that focus on discovering different things. The family ancestry  kit is $79 and allows you to see the percentage breakdown of your origins. Your DNA can be connected with relatives within the last 5 generations and used to find genetic matches. Also, there is a paternal ancestry kit that allows you to explore heritage on your paternal line by sequencing genes on the Y chromosome and a maternal ancestry kit that allows you to explore heritage on your maternal line. These start at $119 and $159, respectively.Order Now
LivingDNA offers a range of DNA testing kits that focus either on genetic lineage or wellbeing/disease prevention. The  basic starter kit is available for $49 (plus shipping) and allows you to compare your family ancestry across eight continents. It also includes an optional family matching service that allows you to discover and connect with close DNA matches in the LivingDNA database who you may be related to. The wellbeing kit starts at $79 and also includes the family matching service, as well as ancestry reports, and 10 wellbeing reports including your endurance response, flexibility, lactose sensitivity, and vitamin response.Order Now
Vitagene not only offers ancestry reports based on your DNA profile, but it also provides you with a series of dietary  reports that describe how your DNA may influence the foods you should be eating. The basic health and ancestry kit is available from $89 and will give you a diet report, supplement report (based on your risk for genetic deficiencies, allowing you to boost your intake of certain nutrients), a fitness report describing the types of exercises that your body may benefit most from, and an ancestry report. Additional reports can be provided if you upgrade to the premium report package, which starts at $109.Order Now
Orig3n offers many different DNA tests, each providing you with a snapshot into a specific genetic trait. The “Vitamins  DNA Test” starts at $49 and can inform users how well they process and absorb vitamins and minerals from food, alerting them to potential vitamin or mineral deficiencies. Orig3n also sells personalized vitamins – a customized blend that tries to meet your nutritional needs based on your DNA. A “Fitness DNA Test” is also available from $149; this test provides insights into your metabolism, muscle strength, joint health, and exercise recovery, allowing you to tailor your workouts to better meet your body’s needs.Order Now
Nutrisystem is perhaps best known for its weight loss and diet meal plans and packages, but the company also offers  a DNA Body Blueprint Kit. From this at-home DNA test, Nutrisystem can provide insight into which types of foods your body thrives on, how your metabolism works, the best macronutrient breakdown for your specific needs, how to optimize your workouts, and more. Nutrisystem can provide you with a free Personalized Nutrition Plan, Fat Loss Fitness Plan, and more. This kit typically retails for $99, but can frequently be found on sale at a lower price.Order Now
LetsGetChecked offers a phenomenally large number of different healthcare tests across a broad range of categories.  However, unlike most of the tests on this list, a majority of tests offered through LetsGetChecked don’t actually test your DNA. Instead, they look at levels of certain molecules that can be an indication of an infection or undiagnosed health condition. Rather than swabbing your cheek for DNA, these tests usually require a urine sample, stool sample, or blood taken from a prick of the finger. Tests are available for both male and female hormone levels, diabetes, cholesterol, colon cancer screening, as well as a range of sexually transmitted infections.Order Now
Futura Genetics offers a DNA test that assesses your risk of developing 28 of the most common health conditions  across the world. The idea is that once you know your risk level, you can make the appropriate lifestyle changes or take preventative measures to mitigate this risk. Some of the conditions that the Futura Genetics test evaluates include age-related macular degeneration, lung cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease, melanoma, atrial fibrillation, bladder cancer, multiple sclerosis, prostate cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, and more. The testing kit is available online for $375.Order Now
Sometimes (especially if your dog is from a shelter) it can be difficult to know exactly what breed(s) they are. However, there are now several DNA testing kits for dogs on the market – let’s take a look at a few of them.
The Embark Breed & Health Kit allows you to discover more about your dog’s breed, ancestry, health, and relatives. The  Embark DNA kit tests your dog’s DNA against over 350 breeds and 175 genetic health conditions and traits. The kit contains swabs (a simple sample from the cheek is required – as with the human kits), instructions, and a return (postage-paid) envelope. Results are available online and include an analysis of over 200,000 genetic markers, more than 170 health conditions, trait tests, relative finders, and the option to talk with a Vet Geneticist. This kit is available online for $169.Order Now
DNA My Dog offers a basic DNA testing service which is great if you just want a breakdown of which breeds your dog  is made up of. The test costs just $68.99 and includes free shipping. After you send in your dog’s DNA sample, it will be processed and you will receive your results within two weeks. Your results will include a personalized analysis of the breeds found in your dog, as well as a report detailing the dominant breeds, plus personality traits and health concerns based on this information. You will also receive a custom photo certificate of the breeds found in your dog’s DNA – great for framing on the wall.Order Now
Wisdom Panel has two main DNA testing kits available for your pup. The “Essential” kit is available online for $99.99 and  includes over 25 tests to detect medication sensitivity, immune deficiency, bleeding disorders, and other medical complications. It also includes a breakdown of over 350 breeds and a family tree allowing you to trace your dog’s ancestry back three generations. The “Premium” kit is available for $159.99 and includes all of the listed features, as well as an analysis of over 180 genes which may indicate a predisposition to various diseases, and an analysis of your dog’s “carrier status” – whether they could pass a genetic risk on to their puppies.Order Now
With so many different DNA testing kits available on the market, it is important to do your research and find one that suits your needs. The good news is that many of the kits have similarities when it comes to the results and information they can provide, particularly in terms of details regarding your ancestry and racial breakdown.
The main area where some of the kits differ is the medical results they can offer in terms of genetic pre-dispositions or risk factors for various conditions. If you are interested or concerned about a specific disease and would like to gain more insight into your risk level, make sure you choose a kit that specifically includes the testing of genetic markers relating to this condition.
The DNA testing kits themselves are very accurate. The laboratory test performed is called a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and is a simple and reliable assay that is used in almost all biological research settings. Basically, a small section of your unique DNA is amplified so that the genetic data it encodes can be interpreted. The PCR test itself is highly reliable and accurate.
However, it is important to realize that the results can only be interpreted so far – in most cases your test will not be able to provide you with definitive answers regarding either your heritage or your risk levels for certain diseases. For example, just because a DNA test shows that you have an increased risk of developing lung cancer, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will. Conversely, even if you show no increased risk for developing lung cancer, you may still develop the unfortunate disease. There are many genetic factors that scientists and doctors are still discovering, so the results you are provided with cannot be described as conclusive.
The test itself is incredibly safe. Most of the kits described above require a simple swab that you can take from the inside of your cheek. It is painless, quick, and simple, and provides enough DNA to give an accurate test result. So, in terms of safety, there’s nothing to worry about with the test itself.
However, many people are concerned about their privacy when it comes to DNA testing kits. This is completely understandable – in some ways, your DNA is the most private information you can share. Some DNA companies share your genetic information with law enforcement, and many companies sell your DNA to third parties. In some cases, it is hard to know exactly where it ends up. In countries with private health insurance like the USA, your insurance company could potentially alter your insurance premium if could see your DNA data.
Often when you sign up for a DNA testing kit, you will be asked numerous questions about how your data is used – make sure you pay attention to these and read them carefully as there could be implications when it comes to the use of your data. Many DNA testing companies also have options for deleting your data as well, if you decide to do this down the line.