Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Don't Waste Your Money!

All DNA tests are NOT created equal. Do not let yourself be fooled.

If you are interested in DNA testing, first understand what it is you want to learn, then do a little research to find the best test at the best price.

Do you want to learn about health issues and what the future may hold for you in matters relating to your health? There is only one company that currently offers this kind of testing, and that is 23andMe. For $99, you can be tested and learn all kinds of things about your body, drugs you might want to avoid, diseases to which you may be prone or which you might carry, and fun facts such as whether you have wet or dry ear wax.

Do you want to learn more about your family history? The three leaders in the field, although there are a number of others, are 23andMe, FamilyTreeDNA (FTDNA), and Ancestry.com. But before deciding on a company, you must first answer the question, What kind of family history?

If you want to learn only about your deep ancestral origins, order the Geno 2.0 test from National Geographic, then transfer your results to FTDNA to take advantage of their huge database and the widest array of testing options anywhere. The Geno 2.0 test will not help with your genealogy because the results reflect the time before surnames were adopted.

If you want to advance your genealogy, start with a Y-DNA test (for males only) to study your paternal line, then later upgrade to the Family Finder test for both males and females in order to find living relatives who may be able to help add to your family tree. You may also have mtDNA tests to learn about your maternal line. And  at FTDNA, you will automatically learn about your deep roots with any of these tests. My preference for genealogy-specific testing is FamilyTreeDNA.

If  you are interested in both health and genealogy, start with 23andMe. For $99 you get both types of testing. Then I strongly recommend that you transfer your results to FTDNA (for a nominal fee) to benefit from its database and additional offerings for genealogy.

Finally, if you're a devotee of ancestry.com and want to post your own family tree on their site, you can order their test and compare your results to others who have also uploaded their trees. Note that this is a somewhat simplistic test that does not include health or Y-DNA but does give you an overview of your deep origins and a limited amount of information about your DNA test results.

Notice that only 23andMe and FamilyTreeDNA provide for downloading your raw data and using it for further analysis. They also provide much more detailed information than the others about all aspects of genetic genealogy. For a detailed comparison of all known DNA testing companies and their offerings, consult the nonprofit and independent International Society for Genetic Genealogy at http://www.isogg.org/wiki/Wiki_Welcome_Page. Scroll down and click on the various Comparison Charts of DNA Testing Companies.


B-Rad said...

so let me get this straight, you would suggest doing 23andme because of the health and geneology combo results then export the data to be imported into ftdna for a small discount for extended geneology details?

Also as I understand it most of these do both sides paternal and maternal for the $99 tests am I incorrect on that?

So where does that leave the national geographic test? Worth while for anything other than to help populate the overall database? Get anything above what 23andme or FTDNA would give you? can nat geo import your 23andme data?

Doris Wheeler said...

Ancestry and National Geographic used to do Y-DNA and mtDNA tests. They do not now. Only Family Tree DNA does the paternal Y-DNA and maternal mtDNA tests, as well as autosomal atDNA tests. Ancestry and 23andMe do only autosomal atDNA tests. 23andMe also does health testing as part of its basic offering. National Geographic has a unique test Geno 2.0 for deep ancestry, before surnames were adopted and therefore not relevant to genealogy (and does not allow uploading other results but does allow downloading to FTDNA, its lab partner).

All companies provide some level of testing for deep ancestry as part of their basic tests.

An excellent guide is at http://www.isogg.org/wiki/Wiki_Welcome_Page. Check the heading "Comparison Charts of DNA Testing Companies" in the right-hand column.

Doris Wheeler said...

Excellent questions, by the way! Thank you.