Ancestry DNA Testing Kit Review
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Now more than ever, we have the opportunity to trace out family history with the help of DNA testing kits. There are many services available that will bring you information about your genetic ancestry. AncestryDNA, launched in 2012, is top amongst competitors in terms of database size, value, and simplicity of DNA collection.
With AncestryDNA, you can learn more about your family history and dive deep into the world of genealogical data. Collecting your genetic information is simple, and so is creating an account.
Once you have access, you can keep returning to your dashboard as the system grows, and results become more precise. The interface is beautiful and packed with interactive features that make your genealogy research more engaging.
Pros and Cons
- Collection and shipping is straightforward
- Match with possible relatives from around the world
- Permanent access to your important genetic information
- Results will become more accurate over time as more data is collected through AncestryDNA
- Family tree service that is more detailed and utilized than ever
- AncestryDNA does not support the upload of raw data files from DNA results of other tests
- An extra fee for detailed medical/trait reports
- Available in only 36 countries
- Lack of segment data and a chromosome browser
Collecting your DNA
AncestryDNA sends kits to all fifty states in the USA and more than thirty other countries. Once you order the DNA Kit, it should arrive within a week.
The AncestryDNA kit includes a saliva collection tube, a funnel, a cap with DNA Stabilizing solution, a collection bag, and a return mailer box that is prepaid. The package includes instructions. Many DNA testing services will ask for a cheek swab, but ancestry DNA collects your saliva instead.
The first thing you should do when you receive the kit is to input its unique code into AncestryDNA’s database. You will need to activate an online account with AncestryDNA so you can collect your results with ease.
There is a 15-digit activation code on the collection tube, and you will need this number to activate your account. This code keeps your sample anonymous but allows you to track the progress throughout the testing process.
It is important to note that you cannot eat, drink, or smoke anything within 30 minutes before you spit your sample into the tube.
Once you are ready, you have to spit until the amount in the tube reaches the line. Using the funnel helps improve your aim. When you have reached the fill line with liquid (not just bubbles), you screw the cap tightly onto the tube.
The cap for the funnel is DNA stabilizing, meaning that it will release a solution to preserve your DNA before it arrives at the lab. Shake the tube once it is shut. You should shake it for at least five seconds so that the solution evens out.
Once you have your tube set, you will seal it in the collection bag, put it inside of the collection box, and mail it back to the lab.
What Will be Measured
The human body has 23 chromosome pairs that are shared with the parents’ family going back about seven generations before your birth. Twenty-two of these pairs, numbered by size, are used by AncestryDNA in the autosomal DNA test. The other pair determines your sex.
This test identifies your genetic cousins and other close relatives who have taken the same test. Unlike some other services, the primary testing kit does not report on the genetic health conditions that you inherited from your ancestors. The accuracy for finding fourth-degree cousins is almost 90%. As with all such DNA tests the more distant the relationship, the less certain you can be that the predicted relationship is real. Yet AncestryDNA takes an additional step called phasing that eliminates many false positives.
AncestryDNA works well to find your ethnic origins by comparing your DNA to that of groups of people from all over the world. As more genetic samples are collected, the more accurate the results will be.
How Fast Do Results Come Back?
Results are presented in a well-packaged report of all your information. The process takes some time, but the wait is worth it once you have your detailed data available and stored for reference.
It can take anywhere from six to eight weeks to receive your results from the lab. Some other DNA services claim to take four weeks, but six is the standard.
Your place in the DNA database will never expire. The company suggests that as they collect more samples, your ancestry results will become more accurate. Plus, you will continue to see more genetic matches as more people take the test.
How to Read the Results?
Your results are delivered through your online dashboard. The interface is straightforward, and the company truly makes use of effective data visualization. There are two primary sections. First is the Ethnicity Estimate.
AncestryDNA categorizes the world into 363 major regions and ethnicities. Your chart will show what percentages of your DNA is from these regions. You are likely to find traces of multiple areas considering that families have migrated at increasing rates over the past few hundred years.
Results will include an interactive ethnicity map feature where you will learn where your ancestors most likely lived. The colors on the maps will match the colors on your chart. You can zoom in to find more details. Many people will also see one or more Genetic Communities that report more recent migrations based on the family trees of your genetic matches.
If you have any questions at all, their online Support Center is one of the best you will find anywhere.
AncestryDNA and Your Family
The second major section at AncestryDNA lists your DNA Matches. Most people will see thousands of matches ranked by how closely related they are to you. Since AncestryDNA has the biggest database by far, you will probably find more genetic cousins here than anywhere else. Just remember that relatives who chose a different testing company will be in a different database. That is why we recommend that adoptees and serious genealogists take all the leading tests.
One of the great tools exclusive to AncestryDNA is ThruLines. If you put a family tree on Ancestry, link it to your DNA results, and mark the tree public or private but searchable, you can use this tool. It will predict HOW you are related to many of your matches by showing the common ancestors you share and the probable paths connecting you to them. These are fantastic clues for doing genealogy research and expanding your family tree.
You can extend your familial network by reaching out to living relatives through the built-in messaging systemYou will have to opt-in and allow other members to see your results. Your relatives would have had to do the same for the algorithm to have the ability to match you. Your siblings will have DNA results that are very close to yours if you have the same two parents, but they will not be precisely the same. Taking this test, along with your family members, will be interesting because you may find that you have different genetic cousins beyond the second cousin level due to the randomness of DNA inheritance.
Your kids can be tested at any age, as long as you can get them to spit enough into the collection tube. Parents or legal guardians are given the right through AncestryDNA to decide if this kit is appropriate for children who are under their care.
Your whole immediate family could take a test to grow your family tree and share exciting results. If you wish, you can manage other member’s results through your account. Each test that you want to manage has to be associated with its own account.
How AncestryDNA Protects your Privacy
It is essential to read the consent forms before testing your service. There are two agreements involved in AncestryDNA. The first contract is to allow the collection, testing, and storage of your DNA. You must consent for the company to use your results in the future. If you do not agree, you will not receive your results.
There is also an optional “Research Consent” this means that your data can be used for further research. It is essential to understand that this is not always as innocent as it may sound. Private pharmaceutical companies and other projects can use your data.
Data for research is used collectively and anonymously to develop new medical treatments that can benefit others. But if you are not comfortable with the second consent form, you may opt-out. In addition, AncestryDNA has refused access by law enforcement and has successfully fought the occasional court order for access.
Under this policy, you have the right to have your data deleted, to download the raw data, or to have the DNA sample destroyed.
The people at the lab will associate your DNA results with the anonymous ID number on your tube. The results are your own, and you can choose to share them with whoever you would like.
AncestryDNA Prices and Details
Let’s take a closer look at the value and features you will receive with the Ancestry full kit and the optional extras you can choose.
AncestryDNA comes as a full kit for a price tag of $99. The AncestryDNA kit is worth the price, especially if you have been interested in becoming closer to your roots.
- Full report on origins and ethnicity - percentage breakdown of your DNA’s regionality
- DNA matches - gives you the chance to find your relatives based on your DNA
- Historical and geographical insights - details of your family’s history and movements geographically.
The service is surprisingly accurate and very detailed. Your membership and your results that are stored never expire and will only become increasingly engaging in the future. Let’s look at some of the optional features:
Ancestry provides health DNA test service, also known as AncestryHealth. For a monthly fee of $19.99, you can combine your results with historical records and family tree service. You can pay $149 dollars upfront to get that included. Here’s what it gets you:
- Actionable health and wellness reports - information on how you could improve your health based on your genetic makeup
- Access to genetic counseling resources - a team of experts that can help guide you on what your results mean
- AncestryHealth core - a look at the history of illnesses in others that match your DNA
Paying the additional fee for AncestryHealth is a good investment, especially if you do not have complete records of family medical history. If you don’t have this kind of concern, then the basic package will cover your needs.
Another option with AncestryDNA is the membership subscription which you can join for $99 per 6-month period. This opens up the service and the extra benefits you will get are as follows:
- Unlimited Access to over 11 billion records and millions of family trees worldwide
- Share photos and documents to your family tree
- Contact any Ancestry members
- Access to any public full family tree
- View surnames and birth locations for DNA matches, and more
If you find that some of your family come from outside the US and you would like access to the European database it will cost you extra. That fee could range from $149 to $199 depending on the geography of your DNA matches. If you are interested in finding other family members you didn’t know about, then this is a service for you.
Ancestry traits is another service that can give you a variety of extra information about your genetic history. It’s priced at $20 and you get a whole host of extras for that price. Let’s take a look at some of those now:
- 26 traits available including eye color, hair color and curl, male baldness, freckles, pigmentation and many many more
- Potential of more traits as the science improves
- Can be purchased for you and others
The traits pack is a fantastic addition for those wanting the full rundown of everything that makes them who they are genetically. If DNA is one of your interests, then the traits package plus everything else is the option you should go for.
AncestryDNA is a reliable genetic testing service with the most extensive database among its competitors. If you are interested in learning more about your family lines and genetic makeup, it is worth taking this test. Collecting and sending-in your DNA is simple and secure.
The site algorithm improves as the number of DNA samples in AncestryDNA’s database; the results will become more precise and accurate. Your data will never expire, so you will always be able to access your account to see new results.