Buying guide for best DNA ancestry test kits

It’s only natural to want to know where you come from, who your ancestors were, and what health risks or advantages you might have nestled in your genetic makeup. A DNA ancestry kit is an easy and pain-free way to get all of that information and more.

Go with a company that has a large database because it can provide more insight and detail in your report. Cheek swab tests are easier, but because of bacteria, a saliva test is the better way to go – if you can produce enough saliva, that is. Autosomal DNA tests examine both sides of your family tree and offer a broader picture of your genealogy.

We’ve chosen a number of products that will help you sleuth your ancestry and health. Feel free to consider one of these highly rated products. If you’d like more knowledge on DNA ancestry kits, keep reading so you can make an even more informed purchase.

For the most comprehensive ancestry results, it helps to use DNA testing kits from more than one company.

What can a DNA ancestry test kit reveal?

  • Ethnicity: A DNA ancestry test kit can provide genetic ethnicity estimates based on your DNA. For example, it might reveal that your DNA can be traced to Native American heritage, Scotland, and/or Africa.
  • Unknown Relatives: Many DNA ancestry test kits can help you identify relatives that you may not know about through potential DNA matches with others who have taken the test. This makes it a particularly useful tool for adopted individuals who are trying to locate biological relatives.
  • Your Family Tree: In addition to helping you locate living relatives who you may not know about, most DNA ancestry test kits can help you build a complete family tree by providing a starting point for your genealogical research.
  • Health Information: Some DNA ancestry test kits provide health information in addition to ancestry clues. They can provide information about general wellness topics, such as whether you can metabolize lactose, as well as whether you’re at risk for a variety of genetic diseases including Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and celiac diseases.  

Types of DNA tests

Y chromosome test

A Y chromosome DNA test is used to determine a man’s direct ancestry line from his father’s side. Because women lack a Y chromosome, they’re unable to take this type of DNA test.

Mitochondrial DNA test

A mitochondrial DNA test is used to determine your ancestry line from your mother’s side of the family utilizing DNA from mitochondria. Both men and women can take this type of DNA test.

Autosomal DNA test

An autosomal DNA test is the most complete option because it doesn’t just focus on a single ancestry line. Instead, it can trace the ancestry on both sides of your family. Men and women can take this type of DNA test.

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