Tracking Your Ancestry DNA- Review
DNA is the genetic code that every single cell of every living being has. That genetic code can be used to find relatives, solve crimes, identify bodies and find health markers.
There are a lot of home DNA test kits around now. I am going to give you a review of what they can – and can't do – and give you an ancestry DNA review of the kits my research tells me are the best.
An important caveat, right at the beginning: DO NOT rely on a home test kit to make medical diagnoses or decisions! A home test kit may turn up something you want to talk over with your doctor, but they are NOT a diagnostic tool!
What ARE They Good For?
From shows like CSI, we know DNA is used in forensic reports for crime scenes. Your DNA can help identify who was at the scene. Please note what is used for a court case is NOT a home DNA test kit!
DNA professional test kits can be used to identify bodies or parts of bodies, perhaps those found at archaeological digs.
Paternity tests are a big use of both home and professional DNA kits.
Another use is gene therapy or testing of health of embryos or even of parent prior to conception to learn the odds of inherited health concerns. Today, many are being tested for health-related probabilities like cancer-carrying genes, and then taking action if they deem it necessary.
With Angelina Jolie's double mastectomy based on DNA results, women with family history of breast cancer often get tested. I have a friend who had an 80% breast cancer marker, confirmed by professional DNA tests! She elected a double mastectomy, given her family history. She remains cancer-free and she and her family are happy and relieved with her decision.
Most Common for Home DNA Tests
The most common use of Home DNA testing kits is to find missing relatives. The second is Paternity tests. The third is to find possible health markers, to look into further. I am going to give you an Ancestry DNA Review of home test kits to help you select one that works well.
Types of DNA That Are Tested
They all use a cheek swab or other collection of saliva.
The least costly is autosomal.
Autosomal tests are good to find living relatives, back to the third or possibly fourth generation. We each have 23 pairs of chromosomes. Autosomal tests check 22 of them. Due to chromosomal mutations, the lineage investigation is limited to your great-great-grandmother.
The next test is on the paternal DNA. This is only good for males. Only males have the Y chromosome that gets tested. Women have two X Chromosomes, and men have one X and one Y. If you want to test the male side of your lineage and you are female, you can do that by recruiting a close known male relative, like a brother or cousin or father.
The way to test the mitochrondrial DNA (mtDNA) which comes from the mother, is the most costly of the Home DNA tests. The results will show only the mother's lineage, but it will go back many, many generations.
Our hair color and racial features are contained in nucleic DNA. mtDNA is in the outer and less fragile part of the cell.
Ancestry DNA can Reveal Who Your Relatives Are
I am providing reviews of what the home kits can and can't do, along with my ratings of your best choices…doing these tests is growing in popularity and they make great gifts!
You may have heard it said the we are 98% like pigs or apes with our DNA. Is that true?
Well, yes, in a way. The thing is about 98% of our DNA is involved in making RNA, the workhorse delivery system of DNA as it makes proteins, it appears. More research is being made into RNA and what systems in the body are affected by it. Memory could be a part, interestingly.
Proteins are what all living matter is made of. It is important to consume the proper amount of protein in your diet, of course. As well as the quick fuel-supplying carbohydrates and the slower fuel-supplying fats. (Too much can cause belly fat!)
If 98% are used in protein-building production of RNA, it is no wonder much of our DNA is shared with other living animals. We all breathe, have heartbeats, digest, for instance.
What about the other 2%? Those contain the genetic imprints for what you look like, and other inherited characteristics. Humans have only that 1/10 of a percent that can differ. When a match is less than that, they are probably related! The closer the match, the closer the relationship.
Do we Have a Common Ancestor?
mt Eve is the name given to a very possible common ancestor we all share, from 200,000 years ago. Based on mtDNA testing, everyone apparently is descended from this African woman. The time could be 50,000 to 500,000 years ago, when you put in the potential error calculation.
How could this happen? Most speculate that there was some catastrophic event that took place, like the Sumatran Mount Toda eruption 70,000 years ago, resulting in a 1000 year ice age. Much of humankind could have been wiped out, with very few female survivors. Possible, not proven.
DNA Test Kits
There are so many around now. Perhaps it is the popularity of shows like CSI? Perhaps it is just that it is a lot easier to test now. The costs have come down a lot! Here are the Ancestry DNA Reviews for top-selling home test kits:
My Heritage 9.9
– best for finding unknown relatives
- uses a cheek swab
- matches with those who have used My Heritage as well as those who have uploaded other test results to My Heritage
- extensive online genealogical community worldwide
- Regular price $99, often found on sale for $69
- autosomal testing, so good only for 3-4 generations of relatives
Ancestry.com – 9.7
– also good for finding family trees
- biggest database in the world with over 5X more geographical regions included
- extensive migration information from other relatives found
- Regular price $99, often found on sale for $79
- Uses saliva collection, not cheek swab
- Autosomal only, so good for only 3-4 generations of relatives
– newer on the market; Interesting marketing concept; All three DNA tests for good price.
- cheek swab
- all three DNA tests: autosomal, mtDNA, paternal DNA
- range of costs from $49 to $99 to $149 plus $79/month for high-quality supplements
- Health and ancestry markers given: personalized diet, exercise and supplement plan
- newer, smaller database
- business plan of identifying and then selling supplements they say are needed
- Not recommended. This gives the same as others, for more money
- Saliva test
Making a Choice
What are you looking for? If you want to identify missing relatives, either of the first two will work well.
If you have ancestors from the British Isles, then Living DNA will be a good choice, especially with the updates as the community grows.
If you have concerns about family health issues and want a preliminary screening and/or are open to a diet, exercise and supplement recommendation or program, the Vitagene may be a good choice. I recommend the mid-priced $99 version, unless you want to order their supplements.
Give a beloved family member the gift of a DNA test today! They will love it.
It is entertaining. It can reveal lost relatives. What a gift!
Share your comments and experiences please!