Best DNA testing kits: Discover the secrets stored in your genes

Neil Bennett/IDG
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We all want to know more about who we are. Who were the people who came before us? Where did they come from? Are there relatives out there we don’t know about?

DNA testing services promise to help answer these questions. Today, multiple at-home ancestry DNA kits can find long-lost relatives, estimate your ethnic ancestry, or show where your ancestors came from tens of thousands of years ago.

DNA test kit cheat sheet

Our quick-hit recommendations:

These tests are popular—according to the International Society of Genetic Genealogy (ISOGG), the number of people who bought at-home DNA kits now exceeds 18 million—and it’s easy to see why. All you have to do is swab your cheek or spit in a vial, seal your sample in a bag, and send it off to the lab. In a matter of weeks, you’ll be given a percentage breakdown of the regions your genes hail from.

Some tests go further and even examine your motherline and fatherline to determine ancient migration patterns on both sides of your family. Many tests match you with people in their databases who share your DNA, too.

But no test is created equal. Some offer more detail and less dubious results than others, so we’ve reviewed a wide selection of different DNA tests to figure out which are which. Below are our top picks. Below that are links to all of our DNA testing kit reviews.

Updated 9/9/19 to include our review of TellMeGen, one of the few DNA test kits to offer genetic information about your health as well as your ancestry. See the bottom of this article for all of our reviews of DNA test kits.

Best DNA test

When it comes to detail and variety, 23andMe is the way to go. There are two different versions: the $99 Ancestry Service and the $199 Health + Ancestry Service. The less-expensive Ancestry Service still goes above and beyond most other tests, providing an interactive, visually-rich report on your ethnic ancestry, history on the ancient ancestors of your mother and father, a database of people you share DNA with, and even a report on traits inherited from Neanderthals.

The $199 Health + Ancestry Service offers all this and more on your genetic health risks, wellness, carrier status of problematic genes, and traits guessed based on your DNA. 23andMe is also constantly adding new reports to its health service. So you can expect to learn even more about your genes as time goes on. (See our full review of 23andMe.)

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