HomeDNA Review

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Denis Law

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    Understanding where we came from is a human need as old as time. Home DNA testing can now empower us with knowledge. Not only can we know where our ancestors came from and details of our ethnic background, but we can make better decisions about our health and family planning.

    Today we'll review the HomeDNA test. We'll discuss the pros and cons, sample collection, and turnaround time. We'll talk about what comes included with the test, and how your privacy is protected. We'll help you understand how you can match and find relatives alongside comparing HomeDNA’s value with competitors.

    HomeDNA has quickly gained market share against competitors, with a massive user base of more than 80 million users. The company's DNA database has a diverse and worldwide reach, giving you more matching possibilities, regardless of where you live. HomeDNA is worth a look if you're interested in learning about your family's ancestry or finding long-lost family members.

    Pros and Cons


    • Much easier sampling method than some competitors
    • Faster results - in as little as four weeks after samples arrive at the lab
    • Upload DNA records from other tests you've taken
    • Competitively priced, plus discounts and bundles make it even better
    • Global database reach extends matching possibilities


    • Autosomal DNA tests only, not mtDNA or Y-DNA
    • Results are focused solely on ethnic composition and ancestry matches
    • Smaller database than more established competitors

    Collecting your DNA Sample

    The HomeDNA test is easier to use than many of its competitors. Other tests collect DNA from saliva, which involves filling the sample tube with spit, and it's not as easy as it sounds. Elderly family members may find this collection method too hard, and it's virtually impossible with babies or infants. HomeDNA uses two simple cheek swabs instead.

    You swab the inside of your cheek for forty-five seconds with each swab, then put the swabs in the vials provided snap each one off at the black line, and place both samples into the sealable bag. When you're done, you ship them off to the lab.

    You should avoid eating, drinking, or smoking for 30 minutes before collecting your sample to ensure accurate results. Make sure to register your test kit using the activation card so that you can access your results when they're ready.

    Here's what the kit includes:

    • Two cotton swabs (sealed) to collect your DNA sample
    • Two vials of preserving liquid for the swab samples
    • Plastic sealable bag
    • A return envelope to the lab (you need to add postage)
    • A registration card to activate your sample
    • Instructions on how to take the test

    How Fast Do Results Come Back?

    Waiting for test results always feels like an eternity, so it's good news that HomeDNA has the shortest turnaround time. You'll usually get your results within four to six weeks after they receive the sample. Competitors 23andMe and AncestryDNA both take roughly six to eight weeks to return results, so quick turnaround is a real benefit.

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    What do The Results Include?

    When you receive your results, you'll see a quick video that gives you a DNA summary, including your estimated ethnicities and significant regions of ancestry. You'll be able to examine a static map that gives you a better idea of where your family originated. There's also a dynamic map available if you want a more in-depth understanding. You can view it in the dashboard under "Ethnicity Estimate".

    Resources for genealogy research abound within the HomeDNA website. Search census records, immigration data, and birth, marriage, and death information. You can even search newspaper articles, family trees, and the site's Collection Catalogue, which has a variety of international public records, yearbooks, and even passenger lists from ships coming through Ellis Island.

    HomeDNA matches you with relatives showing DNA similarities. You'll see relatives by level—close family, extended family, and distant relations. You can view this information in list format or on a map that lays out your data by country and region.

    Wondering about testing? Modern DNA testing has access to 3 types of DNA:

    • mtDNA, which males and females inherit from their mother and can be used to trace a maternal line.
    • Y-DNA, which males inherit from their father and can be used to trace a paternal line, but it's available to men only.
    • Autosomal DNA is what you inherit from both your parents, and it's mixed with DNA they each got from their parents, and all previous generations. We are born with 23 pairs of chromosomes. One of those pairs determines your gender. The other 22 pairs are known as autosomes. This autosomal DNA is the most useful type for genealogy, and it's the kind used by the HomeDNA test.

    There is some variation between the company's results and other companies’ tests, but this may be due to different methodologies and changes in the sample processing chemicals.

    How does HomeDNA Protect Your Privacy?

    HomeDNA encrypts all your DNA and personal data stored on their servers. HomeDNA has no jurisdiction over your DNA and data. This means that you have total control over who can see it and how it's used.

    HomeDNA will not share your DNA or data, and you can set your privacy level on the company's website. You can customize your privacy settings manually if you prefer not to show up on any DNA match. Alternatively, you can share your results with potential relatives, and they can share it with you. You don't have to do all the research yourself; you can benefit from what they've learned too. Privacy is not an issue since all that is shared with relatives is your email address. You're in control of where the conversation goes from there.

    DNA matching on HomeDNA is on an opt-in basis. If you choose to participate, you'll be notified via email when others match with your DNA profile. You'll also be able to see those who have c opted in to compare and see how you match up.

    Matching with Relatives

    Finding relatives is half the fun when researching genealogy, and HomeDNA has powerful relative matching tools. The HomeDNA user base is more geographically spread out than some competitors, which is just what you need if you're searching for a long-lost family member. Search your ancestral homeland, your current country, or anywhere across the world.

    There's nothing more satisfying than understanding who you came from and where you came from, especially if you're adopted. Many adoptees have little to no information about their birth parents or family of origin. DNA testing can be the key they've been searching for to figure out their ethnic background, inherited health risks, and ultimately, their own identity.

    Your sample may match you with thousands of relatives, but you'll see significantly fewer immediate or extended family. On the relations map, you can see a breakdown of your relatives across the globe, and highlighting regions where you have DNA matches.

    HomeDNA's Value

    HomeDNA is a winner when it comes to value. You're getting information from both sides of your family tree with Autosomal DNA testing. The standard price of the test is $79, but regular promotions can bring the cost down to $59. Adding postage to the lab still brings it in at a competitive price. Some competitors offer the basics for around $99, and others provide specific DNA testing to analyze maternal or paternal lineage, which will run you between $150 and $200.

    There's a free integrated genealogy tool, which lets you build your family tree and collaborate with relatives to leverage what you've both learned. You can include images and other records in your family tree, and explore HomeDNA's extensive database of historical records. Access to the library requires a small subscription fee of $13.27 per month, but it lets you examine billions of historical documents and include them in your family tree.


    Before home DNA testing, we had to rely on stories from our parents and grandparents about our roots and family history. What we learned may have been accurate, or some facts may have gotten lost in translation. HomeDNA eliminates guesswork and is gaining market share with families that want rapid results at an affordable price. Expect HomeDNA to continue to gain ground on industry leaders such as AncestryDNA and 23andMe.

    HomeDNA test offers high-quality, cost-effective ancestry and genetics information in an easy to use testing kit. It connects you with potential family members all over the globe and helps you fill in the missing pieces as you find and understand your place in the world. The HomeDNA database has 2 million users, and it's growing market share rapidly as families discover it's benefits. It offers a wealth of historical records to aid in your research, a broad geographic reach, and excellent value for your money.

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