DNA test kits that may enlighten you

Spit, swab, and send.

family on a beach
Know your family better.Tyler Nix via Unsplash

Your grandfather’s photo albums and hand-drawn family tree is a great way to get a feel for where you come from but a DNA test will give you detailed results beyond your wildest dreams. These kits seem to be all the rage and we understand why. They are a great way to learn more about your ethnic roots, find contemporary relatives, and explore your genetics from the comfort of your home. You would be surprised by the number of available tests you can find just from a cursory Google search, so we have narrowed down the options to what we feel will give you the most specific information. Whether you are looking to really understand more about your genealogy or just want to have some fun figuring out if you have a famous relative, these DNA tests will get you on the right path to piecing together your family history.

AncestryDNA
Aunts, uncles, and cousins.Amazon

It’s not enough to just know that you have ancestors from Spain. In order to truly understand where you come from, you need to know which region specifically and how or why your family moved away. This kit from AncestryDNA is going to give you that detailed information in just six to eight weeks. All you need to do is activate your kit online, collect a saliva sample, and send it off in a pre-paid envelope. Your results will include a pie chart of percentages of your estimated ethnicity from over 1,000 regions (sometimes down to the city), a history of your family’s migrations, and DNA matches to other AncestryDNA users. These matches will include information that tracks your maternal and paternal lines with specific relationships clearly labeled i.e. “first cousin”. You will be able to customize, sort, and attach a personalized description to all the matches provided.

23andMe
Hand-me-down genes.Amazon

23andMe might just be the most popular brand of at-home DNA testing on the market, for good reason. It will let you know what your ancestral composition is out of more than 1,500 regions, trace the origins of your maternal and paternal lines, figure out when new ancestries were introduced to your DNA, and how many generations ago you had an ancestor that came from a single population. You can also opt-in to the relatives tool, which lets you see who else shares your DNA across 23andMe users. While the recorded number of users is smaller than AncestryDNA (5 million as opposed to 10 million), you will still get compare traits and connect with a whole host of potential family members. Plus, you will get a comprehensive report on common traits you might have based on your genetic makeup. You might finally know why you have freckles when the rest of your immediate family is freckle-free.

TellmeGen
A hypochondriac’s heaven.Amazon

If you are looking for a test that is focused more on genetic risk factors in regards to your health, this kit will get you the results you need. While the test also accurately explores your ancestral data, its claim to fame is the detailed report of your health tested by your history. They compare your DNA to over 555,000 markers to see what your relationship is to over 125 illnesses and identify any inherited illnesses passed down through your lineage. The results are given to you in a four-part Health Map that includes complex diseases and your risk factors, inherited conditions, medication compatibility, and genetic traits. As TellmeGen increases their testing capabilities, your results will be automatically updated at no cost to you.

Wisdom Panel 3.0 Canine DNA Test
No more mutts.Amazon

Okay, okay so this isn’t a DNA test for people, but getting an overview of your dog’s genetic makeup is a great way to keep them healthy and satisfy your curiosity. It’s also a great gift for your pup-obsessed pal’s pooch. A simple swab of your canine’s cheek can tell you more about their behavior, medication interactions, and breed ancestry by going back three generations and comparing their DNA to over 350 dog breeds and varieties. It should be noted that if your dog has come from a long line of other mixed breeds, it may be harder to get a great result, but it’s worth a try in our eyes.

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