Living DNA Review: Are Genes Alive?

The name of this company is no accident. They say on their website that the main motivation for carrying out the enterprise of analysing genomes is to prevent new diseases, those that plague the welfare state in the first world - those that are derived, in short, from modern lifestyle habits. What if, through the power of DNA, most of these ailments could be prevented? Is it possible, perhaps, to imagine a world where a simple DNA test could improve the quality of life so much? This is precisely what Living DNA is trying to do, and we will analyse its modus operandi, point by point.

living dna testing kits
Ancestry Research Best for
3.63 /5
$ 89 /mo
Starting Price
Visit Site
Table of Contents

    Written by Juan Rivas Santisteban

    Updated: 09/23/2021

    Living DNA Basic Facts:

    • Company Name: Living DNA
    • Foundation Year: 2016
    • Location: United Kingdom
    • Monthly Visits: unknown
    • Number of Databases: 1 million.
    • Website:

    What services/products are included in Living DNA test- Rated: 4/5

    General services and some more specific ones that will delight anyone interested in the subject. However, there could be more options and information.

    • Recent ancestry & sub-regional breakdown 

    In this service, the company promises to get interesting results about our most recent lineages, but it will also provide information about our ethnicity.

    Living DNA report example

    • Vitamin response, food metabolism & nutrition

    This is a classic DNA nutrition test feature. It consists of a comparative analysis between different allelic variants of genes responsible for the synthesis or assimilation of vitamins and nutrients.

    • Exercise and recovery

    Try to discover which exercises best suit your body structure, as well as the genomic machinery that ultimately encodes it. Everything we are capable of doing is determined by our physiological circumstances, so it is not a bad or unnecessary service, especially for athletes who want to improve their performance.

    What Do Results Include?

    The results included in your report will depend on which kit you choose. There are four options available, from the basic starter kit to a full ancestry and wellbeing combination report.

    DNA Starter Kit

    • DNA Testing
    • Global Ancestry
    • DNA Matching
    • Nutrition Report
    • Fitness Insight

    The DNA starter kit offers a low-price taste of what the other kits offer. Your autosomal DNA will be analyzed and matched against the global database to find long-lost relatives. Your shared ancestral DNA is compared to eight broadly defined populations:

    • Europe
    • Native America
    • Near East
    • Central Asia
    • South Asia
    • East Asia
    • Africa
    • Oceania

    The nutrition and fitness reports tell you if you are predisposed to Vitamin D deficiency, and what types of exercise your body is most likely to respond well to.

    DNA Ancestry Kit

    • Recent Ancestry
    • Sub-regional Ancestry
    • DNA Today
    • Extended Ancestry
    • DNA Matching

    Aside from the DNA matching provided in the basic starter kit, the ancestry kit dives deeper into your heritage. Instead of comparing your autosomal DNA to the eight populations above, it will be compared against 80 global regions and 21 sub-regions in the British Isles.

    This kit includes the most advanced breakdown of European and African ancestry available on the market. You’ll get a much more specific look at where your ancestors came from. For the British Isles and a growing list of countries in Continental Europe and Africa you will see far more than just the country your ancestors came from - you’ll know which region in the country in which they originated.

    The extended ancestry refers to your direct maternal line ancestry and (for males) your direct paternal line ancestry. This is obtained by testing enough mitochondrial DNA and Y-DNA to determine your haplogroup(s). For each side you can view a migration map, a coverage map, and a fascinating description of your ancient ancestry.

    DNA Wellbeing Kit

    • Vitamin Response
    • Food Metabolism
    • Nutrition and Exercise Suggestions
    • Recovery

    If you’re more interested in how your DNA affects your health, this kit can give you a fascinating look at just that. Your report will provide you with a better understanding of how your genetic makeup connects with your overall well being.

    The results include how well your body absorbs specific vitamins, the genetic factors that determined things like your eye color, and what type of fitness your body is best suited for. It will also analyze which types of foods in your diet that you should consider increasing or decreasing.

    It is worth noting that the Wellbeing Kit does not provide any information on inherited diseases. So if you’re looking for genetic testing that calculates your risk of developing a particular disease, you should consider the Vitagene DNA test instead.

    Ancestry & Wellbeing Kit

    This kit offers a combination of the Ancestry Kit and Wellbeing Kit at a discounted price. Your intricate ancestry report is included with the wellbeing report as described above.

    livingdna testing kit banner

    Matching DNA With Relatives

    DNA matching offered by Living DNA allows you to connect with relatives from around the globe. This is an opt-in service offered and will require you to log in and change your preferences once you have purchased a kit.

    Your DNA will be compared with other Living DNA customers who have opted into this program. Once you receive a match, you both will see how closely related you are based on the amount of DNA you share.

    The matching portal includes a messaging system, so you can even say hi or strike up a conversation with that third cousin twice removed.

    For your safety and privacy, you always have the option of blocking certain users, which you would rather not contact you.

    NOTE: Relative matching is a new feature. In the short term you should expect to see far fewer matches than you would with AncestryDNA, 23andMe, MyHeritage, or Family Finder from Family Tree DNA. Over time, we expect the volume to increase.

    Availability of Diverse Collection Methods (swab, blood ...)- Rated: 2.5/5

    The collection of genetic material is, as in most cases, by intrabuccal smear. This method has been proven to be effective and in most cases is completely free of noise, which, together with its simplicity, makes it the star method, the holy grail of DNA testing. However, there are certain characteristics that are impossible to determine with this extraction method alone, such as prenatal paternity tests

    Living DNA Customer Support - Rated: 3/5

    This point is a little weak compared to other giants in the sector. Although it has a customer service centre, it is actually based on a FAQ camouflaged by the friendly interface. The search system is not very good either. However, there is a free 7-day course via email, which is actually based on informative notes that will bring you closer to the DNA knowledge. You can do this even before you order the test, which is a very good thing for those who are in doubt.

    Living DNA Kits Pricing/Cost- Rated: 4/5

    They are really well priced and are typical genetic test products. Improvable, but not bad.

    Two Major offers pop in Living DNA main page.

    DNA ancestry kit

    • Living DNA offers advanced ancestry DNA reports, delivering an enriching view of your ancestry from 80,000 years ago until recent times.


    DNA wellbeing kit

    • Understand how different foods, vitamins and exercises work with your body. 


    DNA ancestry + wellbeing kit

    • Includes all features within ancestry and wellbeing kits.


    Living DNA Database size - Rated: 3/5

    The size of the database is not extensive, near 1 million records and it is perhaps one of the databases that has been made public with the fewest entries. This, together with its recent foundation only 5 years ago, makes us think that perhaps they cannot guarantee robust results as some of their competitors do. Even if their databases are shared with other larger companies, it is always best to go to the original source of information. There is room for improvement in this area. 

    Living DNA Free trial- Rated: 0/5

    Living DNA does not currently offer free testing services. Living DNA offers a free course of 7 days.

    A good learning initiative included in the webpage. 

    Living DNA Expected turn-around - Rated: 3/5

    Depending on the area and time of year, they may be able to process your sample within 5 to 25 working days. This usually takes 6 to 8 weeks, which is too long to be competitive in today's market. However, they seem quite serious and warn very well about even the worst months to send samples: November to January.

    Living DNA Accuracy - Rated: 2.5/5

    There is no information about the sequencing technology Living DNA uses. This, which should be rare, is more common than we think among these new DNA testing companies. No wonder: it is basically what differentiates them from each other. However, the biggest loser is not the competition, but the customer, who buys a product without being able to understand what he or she is really buying. 

    The error rate in readings is probably below 2%, as more than this would be unacceptable for this industry. It does not mean that there is a high probability that your test is incorrect or something similar, as these readings are like a noise filter that with the right bioinformatics treatment can be alleviated, to a certain extent. There is always going to be an error rate when it comes to comp reactions, it's just a question of how to combat it.

    Living DNA Interface - Rated: 5/5

    An example of Living DNA’s interface.

    This company has a very well maintained website, slightly different in colour to what its competitors are used to. This is good, as it reinforces the brand image and personality of the company and connects with the customer. 

    The results are also very well presented, with standard user-friendliness and a naïve depth. Perhaps the information is so well presented that the customer may feel there is a shortage of it. But, ultimately, it's a good job here.

    Living DNA Privacy - Rated: 5/5

    It is true that living DNA's strongest points may not be technical, but when it comes to honesty and legal clarity they are among the best. They explain down to the last detail what they will and will not do with your samples. They will destroy them, after analysis, after 3 months for security reasons. They also have a system that guarantees the computer anonymity of your biological information, as the kit you order from their site is assigned a random barcode.

    You also have the option to remove your information from their database if you wish. This is pretty cool and something that not everyone takes into account. Whether this is great or not just depends on your personal preference regarding privacy.

    Living DNA Innovation - Rated: 3/5

    Apart from the fact that some of its partners have been spotted at innovation festivals such as Innovus, this is not a major scientific research-related company. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but neither do they innovate in technology or other information processing procedures. Perhaps this is another point for improvement. Choices such as scientific popularisation also have an impact on the welfare of society.

    Living DNA Rate and quality of updates - Rated: 4.5/5

    This platform ensures that all users will receive free updates, in keeping with its slogan and inspiration to help people through DNA testing. However, little is known about the quality of the updates, as this information has been extracted from the help centre and nothing more is said, apart from that the user will deepen their understanding as time goes on. 

    Best Alternatives To Living DNA

    Being in the same test category, perhaps a simpler and cheaper option would be My Heritage DNA. This will only work if you are looking for something more ancestry dna driven.

    This other option is very good if you feel that this test lacks depth in the results. You will get a very good experience for a similar price if you go for this alternative.

    Vitagene is perhaps the most similar alternative to Living DNA. In fact, even the semantics of their names are similar. However, you may find Vitagene's timelines more convincing, or perhaps their specialised and categorised reports on various aspects of health


    We have seen the enthusiasm and good work of this company. Perhaps, sometimes, intentions alone are not enough. However, we can conclude that it is a competitive offer and that it offers interesting and new things in an increasingly difficult and sought-after field. In time, it will become a company with a larger number of genomes available in its databases, which will greatly increase its position in the ranking.

    livingdna testing kit banner

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

    Can my test fail?

    Indeed it is. If the methodology is not followed or an unexpected mishap occurs, the samples will degrade and become impossible to sequence. However, the site has a re-bagging system specially designed for this. You can order a second and even a third kit if both fail. However, you can also claim a refund, which will be partial and decreasing.

    Is it possible to upload files with my DNA sequences that I extracted with other companies?

    It is becoming an industry standard. But in this case Living DNA offers a lot of compatibility with other industry peers. They also tell you what formats you can upload them in: .txt, .csv, .zip and .gz.

    The number of percentages in my test does not add up to 100. Is this a defect?

    No, not at all. It is a reflection of how the parental lineage technique works. Here you see only the percentage of people who have taken the test and share your haplogroup in the world. It doesn't mean that you have that percentage of genetic identity, far from it, with these populations. So, it is rare that it adds up to 100.

    Can my deep ancestry results change suddenly?

    Yes, of course. It should not change drastically, but it can change suddenly due to an update of the databases or the matching model. The bigger the update, the more variability there will be in your results. 

    Pros and Cons


    • Sample collection is simple and painless
    • Upgrades available to the basic starter kit
    • Wellbeing reports
    • DNA matching


    • Results can take up to 8 weeks
    • Basic kit only compares to 8 general global regions