Ancestry.com Versus 23andMe
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- The Good
- Easy to Use
- Large DNA Database
- The Bad
- Results Can Take up to 8 Weeks
- Vague Results
Ancestry.com DNA tests is a testing service that enables people from around the world to find information about their family heritage through the testing of DNA. You submit a saliva sample, which can be collected easily from the comfort of your own home through a series of easy-to-follow instructions. Results provide invaluable information about your ethnic mix, geographic history and culture.
- The Good
- Competitively priced
- In-depth reports
- Ability to find carrier status for health prevention
- The Bad
- Mildly invasive questioning
23andMe is a website that specializes in providing users with the scientific details of their DNA and ancestry. The services are competitively priced and include in-depth reports, but the process is lengthy, like that of most sites involving DNA research. Also, there are people who are mildly uncomfortable with answering some of the personal questions.
The cost for Ancestry.com DNA test services is $99, although they do offer specials sometimes that may reduce this cost to $79. The test results will provide you with links to people in the Ancestry.com DNA test database that match closely with your DNA results. However, you will not have access to family trees and data unless you are a subscriber of Ancestry.com, which is $99 per year.
- Ancestry only
- Ancestry + Health
Users can get a full report, including genetic and ancestral information, for $199, or they can focus on ancestry only for $99. These price points are similar to other sites offering ancestry research at this time. Refunds may be requested in 30 days, but only if saliva has not yet been shipped.
- Genealogy Options
- Complete Family Tree Integration
Once you receive your DNA results, you can immediately link these results in your family tree profile through Ancestry.com. Other family members can share their DNA results with you, which you can also integrate into your family tree. If you are an Ancestry.com subscriber, you will have access to the family tree profiles of other members whose DNA results closely match yours.
- Genealogy Options
- Ancestry data file
- Relatives contact information
- No integrated family tree option
Users receive an ancestry report, a raw, uninterpreted, genetic data file and an interactive DNA map. They are able to view their genetic makeup by chromosome on a color-coded chart, and can see the split view between maternal and paternal-lines, as well as how they each contributed to the ancestry (if parents are connected to the network). Users can also access the DNA Relatives tool (to find the contact information of living relatives), and access the network for comparative purposes.
- Test Process
- Saliva DNA Test
- Results Can Take 6-8 weeks
- Provided Through Email Link
The Ancestry.com DNA test uses a saliva sample for testing. The easy-to-follow instructions explain how to spit into the test tube and prepare it for shipping. The DNA test uses the microarray type autosomal testing process, which analyzes more than 700,000 locations within the entire genome. Unlike some gender-specific DNA, like the Y-chromosome test that is only for men and the mitochondrial DNA test that only analyzes the maternal lineage, the Ancestry.com DNA test examines both the paternal and maternal lineage and is ideal for both men and women.
The results will show your ethnic mix as a percentage. In addition, the Ancestry.com DNA test now offers information on genetic communities, which provides more specific information about the regions your DNA come from and about the history of this region. This test may take a little longer than some other DNA test options, but this is likely due to the large number of requests.
- Test Process
- Mitochondrial DNA test
- Autosomal DNA test
- Y chromosomal DNA test
- Results take 6 to 8 weeks
The company uses your saliva to obtain your DNA. A mitochondrial DNA test is the means for tracing your motherline ancestry using DNA located in the mitochondria. On the flip side, an autosomal DNA test uses DNA, which comes from autosomal chromosomes to uncover your ancestry and Neanderthal ancestry. Lastly, the Y Chromosome DNA test is a genealogy DNA test to research a man’s patrilineal ancestry using the male-specific, Y chromosome.
23andMe offers four main reports: Ancestry Composition, Haplogroups, Neanderthal Ancestry and Your DNA Family. All reports will be delivered electronically, as this company only provides electronic results. Users must have a working email address, along with a smartphone, tablet or computer, in order to receive results.
- Additional Features
- World's Largest Consumer DNA Database
- Exceptional Security
- AncestryHealth Program
With a database of more than 4 million people, Ancestry.com has dubbed its DNA database as the “world’s largest consumer DNA database.” This means that you have a greater chance of finding DNA matches on Ancestry.com DNA test database than with any other testing option. Ancestry.com also takes security very seriously. It never stores your DNA by name or by any other identification marker. In addition, you can request to have your DNA results and/or saliva sample destroyed at any time. Ancestry.com does not currently offer any type of health risk report, but it has initiated the AncestryHealth program, and it is working with the FDA to be able to provide this type of service.
- Additional Features
- Genetic Health Risk reports
- Wellness reports
- Traits reports
- Carrier Status reports
In addition to the four main reports, some users also receive genetic health risk reports, which are designed to uncover a predisposition for Parkinson’s and late-onset Alzheimer’s, among other diseases.
Wellness reports detail things such as lactose intolerance, genetic weight, caffeine consumption and alcohol flush reaction. Traits reports give an overview of the genetic likelihood of attributes such as eye color, bitter taste perception, earwax type, freckles, unibrows, hair curliness and toe-length ratio. Lastly, carrier status reports detail the likelihood of being affected by disorders such as cystic fibrosis, blood syndrome, Canavan MCAD Deficiency and many other diseases.
Ancestry.com: User Reviews
23andMe: User Reviews
How Does the Ancestry.com DNA Test Work?
When working with the Ancestry.com DNA test, your first step is to go online and order the DNA test kit. Once this kit arrives in the mail, you will follow easy step-by-step directions that show you how to fill a test tube with saliva and then to prepare the test tube for shipping. It is important to fill the entire test tube will saliva, as directed, to ensure the examiners have enough DNA to conduct proper testing. You will then mail the sample to the Ancestry.com DNA testing center using the enclosed pre-paid, pre-addressed envelope.
At the testing center, specialists will analyze your DNA using microarray type autosomal testing. This type of test will analyze more than 700,000 points within your genome to generate accurate DNA results. Analysts will then compare your DNA with millions of people from around the world and calculate your ethnic origins based on complex algorithms.
Once this evaluation is complete, which can take up to eight weeks or more, you will receive an email with a link to your specific DNA results. These results will detail the breakdown of your probable ethnic mix, by percentages. For example, you may be 56% Easter European, 40% Ireland and 4% other. This test breaks these results into 26 ethnic area, including regions in America, Europe, Africa, West Asia, Asia and Pacific Islands. The results also will show possible genetic communities based on your specific DNA results. Ancestry.com offers more than 300 genetic community options to provide more details about your specific ethnic, cultural and geographic history.
The results also will reveal other people from their DNA database that closely match your DNA. If you are an Ancestry.com subscriber, you will have access to the family trees and profiles of these matches to give you more insight. In addition, you can link your results to your own family tree and share your results with others.
What Makes the Ancestry.com DNA Test Stand Out?
The number one thing that makes Ancestry.com DNA test stand out is its very large database. Currently, this database stores the DNA data from more than 4 million people. This makes it the largest consumer DNA database in the world. When it comes to finding possible DNA matches, the Ancestry.com DNA test is without a doubt the best. It also is very affordable. While some DNA testing options can go as high as $200 to $200, Ancestry.com DNA test remains below $100.
Common Reviews of the Ancestry.com DNA Test
The Ancestry.com DNA test has received mixed results from past customers. While more than half of these customers rate the test service very favorably, about one-fourth are completely dissatisfied. Those that are very pleased with these services point to the fact that the test was easy to use, provided accurate results in accordance to what they believed their ethnic mix was, and that it is cost effective. Many of those who are also Ancestry.com subscribers liked the fact that they could integrate their DNA results with their family tree quickly and easily, and the fact that they could share these results with other family members. They also were pleased to find so many connections through the massive Ancestry.com DNA database.
Most people that were dissatisfied with the services felt that the results were inaccurate. It is important to note that the Ancestry.com DNA test service, like most other DNA testing options, uses a series of complex algorithms to determine ethnic mix and genetic communities. There is no guarantee as to the accuracy of these results, but the company does stand behind their services and declare them to be accurate in most cases. In addition, it would be impossible to determine if the customer or Ancestry.com was correct in their genetic breakdown results. Some other customers were hoping for a more detailed report, but this kind of detail is found only with more expensive testing.
Is the Ancestry.com DNA Test for Me?
If you are looking for general information about your specific family history, then the Ancestry.com DNA test is ideal for you. It also is great for those that are hoping to connect with others who share similar DNA, but keep in mind that this service is for Ancestry.com subscribers only.
A site that offers the ability to trace your genetic and ancestral background via the use of your own DNA, 23andMe is a huge opportunity for users who want to find out more about the health of their family line or discover forgotten deceased or living relatives. In three simple steps, users can unlock a wealth of information with regards to their personal health as well as their ancestral history.
Using the many interactive features, people are able to better understand themselves and others by comparing and contrasting the information they receive. Millions have used this service and continue to find innovative ways to utilize this information. Moreover, by being able to view things such as Carrier Status, users receive vital information that can help with the health prevention efforts of themselves and their loved ones.
How Does 23andMe Work?
While the process is fairly lengthy, it is also very straightforward. First, users must choose either Ancestry or Health and Ancestry services. Although they receive the same kit for both, the latter includes much more involved research and analysis. The kit typically arrives in three to five business days. The users then follow the instructions given to collect their saliva in the tube provided. They must also register the barcode on the tube so that the lab knows who the tube belongs to, and then mail back the tube. The results are ready within six to eight weeks. The user receives an email when the results are ready to be viewed.
What Makes 23andMe Stand Out?
As mentioned, 23andMe offers a unique report, the Carrier Status report, which offers insight into the potential for developing certain disorders over time. Furthermore, both the Carrier Status report and Genetic Health Risk report meet the FDA criteria for being clinically and scientifically valid. In addition, the saliva samples required for these reports are processed in CLIA-certified and CAP-accredited labs only.
Common Reviews of 23andMe
Though reviews vary, on the whole, 23andMe has a reputation as a solid site that delivers consistent results. For the most part, users say their findings were accurate and that they were pleased with the experience. Furthermore, many report that it took much less than the potential eight weeks they were quoted (some say it only took about a month). This alone is a huge selling point for those anxious to know more about their heritage.
Also, the site includes things, such as general genetic trends among you and your relatives, which make using the site an entertaining experience for most. Furthermore, the customer service is said to be outstanding. Although the platform is simple to use, those who are not technologically inclined may need to request assistance on occasion.
Is 23andMe for me?
Overall, 23andMe is a great site for virtually anyone. While men get the more in-depth reports (due to the Y chromosome factor), everyone seems fairly impressed with the information they receive. Additionally, the service provides both ends of a serious spectrum: users can find out about matters such as the diseases to which they are genetically predisposed and also gain insight on more lighthearted things, such as the likelihood that they have unknown family members who live near them.
Either way, 23andMe can provide a wealth of knowledge that helps people better understand themselves and their families, as well as others. However, those who think they may have negative feelings in the event that they uncover ancestors of one ethnicity or another should certainly think twice before opening this Pandora’s box. The bottom line is that this is truly life-changing information, for better or worse, from a highly unique site.