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Which DNA Testing Companies are the Best?

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Don’t spend good money on a bad DNA test! Here are some of the best DNA testing companies …

Don't spend good money on a bad DNA test! Here are some of the best DNA testing companies ...

While this might be a matter up for discussion, keep in mind that there are many “fly by night” or companies with a “dubious reputation” jumping on the DNA bandwagon. You do not want to spend good money on a test and not get results useful for genealogical research. The short list below lists my recommended vendors in alphabetical order (not ranked otherwise):

Each of these vendors periodically offer major savings and reliable testing kits that produce useful data. Some also offer free shipping and other incentives.

For the most part, these vendors all work with the genealogy community and listen to their research needs. The DNA test data generated by these vendors can be easily downloaded and, in most cases, uploaded to other DNA sites. These vendors also offer “matching” with other customers who have tested their DNA.

WARNING: Do not pay more than $99 USD for a basic autosomal DNA test. In addition, do not work with vendors who offer severely discounted tests such as a $29 USD DNA test kit. Be aware that some DNA tests are “basic” and then charge you for results interpretation. See the DNA Tester Beware article for more information!

What Type of DNA Test Should I Get?

As stated above, your DNA testing needs will depend upon your research goals. Here is a brief, easy-to-understand overview of the different types of DNA test kits as well as DNA research goals.

What Are Your DNA Research Goals?

Selecting the best DNA test kit for genealogy research depends on your research goals.

  • Are you confirming your own ancestry or ethnic background?
  • Are you trying to determine the ancestry or ethnic background of another person?
  • Are you trying to confirm a relationship between two people?
  • Are you trying to confirm a family story, such as “We came from Poland according to . . .”
  • Are you trying to prove a genealogy theory with an absence of records?
  • Are you trying to locate birth parents or siblings?
  • Are you trying to determine inherited traits and medical conditions?

Types of DNA Test Kits Available

Autosomal

  • An autosomal DNA test is the most common DNA test kit on the market currently and tests for DNA inherited from both of your parents. The test results will also include random DNA inherited from your grandparents, great-grandparents, etc.
  • Autosomal tests are a good starting point for anyone who has not yet taken a DNA test.
  • Autosomal tests are highly accurate when it comes to testing relationships from parent/child up to the Second Cousin level (2C).
  • For higher-level relationships (above 2C) you may need to expand the number of people tested for accurate results.

The following vendors offer autosomal DNA tests: 23andMe, AncestryDNA, FamilyTreeDNA, and MyHeritage DNA.

Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA)

  • A mitochondrial or mtDNA test traces the test subject’s maternal (mother’s) lineage.
  • Mitochondrial DNA is passed down by the mother unchanged to all children, both male and female.
  • An mtDNA test can be taken by both male and female test subjects.

The following vendor offers mtDNA tests: FamilyTreeDNA.

Y chromosome DNA (Y-DNA)

  • A Y chromosome DNA or Y-DNA test traces the test subject’s paternal (father’s) lineage along a direct line, from male to male, etc. The Y-DNA is passed down unchanged from father to son.
  • A Y-DNA test can only be taken by male test subjects since females do not have a Y chromosome in their DNA.
  • Females who want to test direct paternal lineage should seek out a male relative such as their father, a brother, etc. for DNA testing.

The following vendor offers Y-DNA tests: FamilyTreeDNA.

Editor’s Note: Visit DNA Bargains at https://dnabargains.com for the latest, up-to-date coupons and promo codes BEFORE you purchase any DNA test kit.

©2023, copyright Thomas MacEntee. All rights reserved,

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