There are an increasing number of people who want to know more about their ancestry, family tree, and health predisposition through DNA testing. This has seen the rise of companies like 23andMe, AncestryDNA, and MyHeritage, which offer direct-to-consumer DNA test kits. While all three can help you trace your genealogy, there are differences in how samples are processed and what data is reported. This means one test kit could be better suited to your needs compared to others. Below, we review how different the three are from each other and help you find out which one will unlock your rich history better.
23andMe vs AncestryDNA vs MyHeritage Comparison Chart
|Model||23andMe Ancestry + Traits Service||AncestryDNA Genetic Ethnicity + Traits Service||MyHeritage DNA Test Kit|
|Price||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price|
|Purpose||Health, genealogy, ancestry||Genealogy, ancestry||Genealogy, ancestry|
|Autosomal DNA Test||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Ethnic Origins and Living Relatives||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Database||12 million people (source)||Nearly 20 million people (source)||4.5 million (source)|
|Method of Sample Collection||Saliva||Saliva||Cheek swab|
|Processing Time||2 to 3 weeks||4 to 6 weeks||1 to 2 days|
DNA Testing Services
Although all three DNA testing services trace genealogy and analyze ethnic traits, only 23andMe includes reports on one’s health conditions.
Back in 2007, 23andMe became the first company to offer autosomal DNA testing to trace ancestry. Today, the California-based biotechnology company analyzes three DNA types:
- Autosomal DNA: used to trace ancestry and find relatives based on the 22 pairs of numbered chromosomes
- Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA): looks into basic data from your maternal line
- X-DNA and Y-DNA: refer to the sex chromosomes
23andMe also offers the most comprehensive reporting through its Ancestry + Traits Service and Health + Ancestry Service. Between the two products, customers can get over 230 reports. Some of the information you can access include ancestry lines, genetic connections to famous figures, as well as health risks and predispositions.
AncestryDNA and MyHeritage, on the other hand, only tests for your autosomal DNA. Ancestry currently has two types of test kits: Genetic Ethnicity and Genetic Ethnicity + Traits. Some of the key reports users can get from both tests include ancestral movements, ethnicity estimates, and DNA matches.
Meanwhile, MyHeritage only offers a single DNA test it markets as Ancestry & Ethnicity Genetic Testing. Headquartered in Israel, the online genealogy platform analyzes DNA matches, ethnic roots, and geographic origins, among others.
Ease of Use and Processing
Both 23andMe and AncestryDNA use a saliva collection kit. Meanwhile, MyHeritage employs a cheek swab to get DNA samples.
When it comes to getting DNA samples, 23andMe and AncestryDNA share the same method. Both companies send customers a home-based saliva collection kit with instructions on how to fill the tube, register it as your sample, and secure it for processing. These tubes usually contain an additive or stabilizing liquid to preserve your DNA. Samples are then sent back to the companies via mail since postage is typically already included and shipping fees pre-paid.
In contrast, MyHeritage collects samples through a cheek swab. While it’s less unpleasant compared to spurting saliva, customers are expected to swab both cheeks for 30 to 60 seconds. Similar to 23andMe and AncestryDNA, the MyHeritage vials also contain a stabilizing liquid. The samples must then be secured and sent back via mail to the company’s DNA laboratory.
Now, filling up a tube with saliva or swabbing your cheek may sound straightforward. However, there are precautions you would need to take. Customers are instructed not to eat, drink, smoke, or chew gum at least 30-minutes before collecting their samples.
As for the processing time, MyHeritage offers the fastest turnover, with results ready in 1 to 2 days. On the other hand, 23andMe takes about 2 to 3 weeks of processing, while AncestryDNA shares customers have to wait for 4 to 6 weeks before they can get their results.
Database and Results
AncestryDNA has the largest database, although 23andMe and MyHeritage cover more geographic regions.
In terms of database and family tree records, AncestryDNA has the edge. According to its website, the company has the largest DNA network in the world, with almost 20 million people. Customers tracking down relatives stand to benefit the most from these numbers.
Meanwhile, 23andMe and MyHeritage boast databases of 12 million and 4.5 million people respectively. While they are behind Ancestry’s network, keep in mind both 23andMe and MyHeritage cover more geographic regions. If you want to trace your ethnic origins, you’ll have better results from the two services. MyHeritage, however, has a larger database for European DNA matching.
23andMe does better when it comes to ancestry composition, with origins as far back as 500 years ago. With AncestryDNA, you can look into ancestral populations over the past 150 to 400 years instead. Since 23andMe tests for mtDNA and yDNA, you can also track the migration patterns of your ancestors.
Subscriptions and Memberships
Customers can access advanced reports through subscriptions or memberships.
Although users can buy one-time kits, all three companies offer different memberships and subscriptions. For instance, 23andMe offers an annual membership that gives customers access to all reports. Called the 23andMe+, the service includes ancestry and traits testing, along with all health-related reports. It also adds an advanced DNA relative finder that gives you access to 3,500 DNA relatives. The membership includes a discounted Health + Ancestry Kit along with a $29 annual fee.
As expected, AncestryDNA’s subscription gives users access to the company’s expansive DNA network. Some of the extra features you will get include unlimited matches to family trees, shared ancestor birth locations, and an extensive view of your common ancestors. Customers can choose between US-only records, US and International records, as well as an All Access subscription. AncestryDNA’s memberships are payable monthly or at discounted 6-month rates.
Lastly, MyHeritage has the most extensive range of subscriptions to choose from. The company offers five different plans under four categories. The Basic plan is free but limits a family tree size to just 250 people. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Complete plan offers access to all features, plus additional reporting for ethnic origins and for finding relatives. MyHeritage’s paid plans range between $79 to $189 per year, with discounted rates for the first year of subscription.
23andMe is the best for its accurate and comprehensive reports; AncestryDNA is better if you’re looking to find relatives, while MyHeritage is ideal if you have European ancestry.
Since pioneering the autosomal DNA testing for tracing one’s genealogy, 23andMe has been a leading name for discovering one’s ancestry and ethnic roots. With the additional testing for sex chromosomes and mtDNA, you get more comprehensive and accurate reports, too, especially for finding relatives and tracking your ancestor’s migration patterns. The only downside to 23andMe is that you don’t have as a big of a database to work with.
If you want to track down immediate family, you’ll benefit more from AncestryDNA. The company’s large DNA network gives you better chances at matching with potential relatives. Meanwhile, if you want to trace your European ancestry, check out MyHeritage’s DNA test kit. While you’re dealing with a smaller database here, it does boast the largest pool for European DNA matching.
23andMe shares that its Health + Ancestry service includes over 55 FDA-authorized reports.
AncestryDNA shares that it has updated its reference panel and algorithm for more precise results. The additional samples from across the world and improved DNA comparisons should improve the ethnicity estimates, specifically in terms of regions.
Yes, MyHeritage DNA test kits can be ordered online and shipped directly to your preferred recipient.
Yes, 23andMe’s membership include 30+ traits in the report.
Last update on 2021-07-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API