One of the life’s biggest mysteries is our origin. Who exactly are we and who were our earliest ancestors? It is dramatic based on the fact that most of us only know our aunts, uncles, and a few cousins.
Well, the reality is that we can never get all the answers to such questions but thanks to technological and scientific breakthroughs that have helped us get closer to the answer.
DNA is one great forensic technique that helps us determine the part of us that comes from Africa, Europe, Asia and other regions. There are also several benefits of understanding the human genome.
Life is not always about the one unique you. Take DNA test and watch your family story emerge. You will be amazed by the diversity of human ancestry.
With that said, let’s dig deeper into the concern of the majority – Which DNA test should I go for? Well, the best answer to that question is this: No particular DNA test can be termed as the best, unless you know what your are looking for.
The best DNA test is the kind that will solve all your unanswered questions and give you the best value for the money.
This article will explore a lot of information regarding taking the best DNA test. At the end of it, you will have enough information to decide on your own.
The Types Of DNA Tests Available
DNA tests are of three categories based on the information that you need. The scope with which you want to determine your common ancestry determines which test is suitable for you. These includes:
In the entire genealogy field, this test is the best when one in tracing a male ancestral line. It is called Y-DNA because it is restricted to males alone and we all know that females lack the Y chromosomes.
It only passes in the father’s father’s father’s line. This is why it is the most applicable when the genealogy study involves a surname because it is passed along the male line.
When a particular genealogical lineage has lasted for about 200, 000 to 330, 000 years, Y-DNA can also be used to trace genetic mutations that occurred as a result of migration among other factors.
This is possible because all the DNA patterns can be traced back to a given male ancestry even in the present modern world. In a nutshell, the Y-DNA is used to validate direct male line genealogies and help determine how surnames are related to each other and where they come from.
Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA)
This is another important test that helps determine some crude ancestral routes. The good part is that both males and females can take it.
It validates the maternal genealogical line. Since the test involves both genders, it is useful in establishing deep maternal ancestry and the haplogroup to which we all belong.
We all originated from the Mitochondria Eve who is believed to have lived some 200, 000 years ago. This test has helped solve mysteries involving migratory patterns for various subgroups in the entire world.
The Autosomal DNA test is the best choice when you want to get as much genealogical information as possible from an extensive database.
This method tries to determine common or shared genetic materials between individuals. Both males and females can take it. For instance, you may want to determine the genetic material shared with your first, second, third and even fourth cousins.
The major shortfall is that this method isn’t so reliable when it comes to accuracy. You can only rely on it when carrying a DNA test that covers up to your 4th grandparents.
The reason as to why it cannot pinpoint our ancestral homelands is because the genetic material gets diluted as it is passed on from generation to another. We inherit roughly 50% of genetic materials from each of our parents.
That means our kids will get less than 30% of the genetic materials from their grandparents. This gets lesser and lesser as genetic materials pass on from parents to siblings.
Best Ancestry DNA Test Company
Three major companies offer ancestral genealogy services. They all also different DNA Test packages and how much bucks you are willing to part with determines what you take home.
- Family Tree DNA (FTDNA)
- Ancestry DNA
No single company offers DNA kits for free. You, therefore, need to make your moves right to make the best value for your bucks. You may consider the following factors before deciding the pond you fish from:
- The extent to which you can find ancestry information
- Cost of the tests
- Availability of supportive online community forums
- Abundance of genealogy resources
- Ability to compare your results with other genetic matches in the company’s database and other platforms
- Customer support reliability
What You Need To Know
Family Tree DNA (FTDNA)
This should be your primary focus if you want to use fewer bucks and know everything you possibly can about your family roots. Genealogical research at the family level is at its best here. It also offers all the tests: Autosomal, mtDNA, and Y-DNA.
One amazing thing about FTDNA is that they allow you to store your results for as long as 25 years and transfer your DNA results to other genealogy services. If you want further tests you can do it anytime you want. Updates via email are also exclusive. Even though their database isn’t one of the largest (around 760,000+ people), their services hit the mark.
You can be sure to love their online community forums and their impeccable customer service. Once you join them, you can also be part of genealogical projects such as Farrell DNA Project and enjoy their full benefits.
This is an incredible one when you want a thorough breakdown of your ethnicity. Having a large database of more than 1.4 million means your genetic profiling can get deeper.
There are million family trees and vast genealogy records. The major downfall is that you won’t have your Y-DNA and mtDNA results separated. Additionally, there is no chromosome browser. This means you will have to upload your DNA data to Gedmatch for further chromosome segment analysis.
The platform is an active one with excellent online community forums and customer service. If you happen to have family members who have tested with Ancestry, you have a free opportunity of linking and comparing your DNA results with family members.
DNA Test Results
If you want to go beyond DNA testing, then 23andMe is worth the consideration. It is an expensive alternative compared to others given that it offers all the three tests in one. That will leave you with $199 fewer bucks.
The FDA of U.S. did suspend its medical services, but the same has been restored as of 2015. Nevertheless, this company is a great alternative for those that seek various ancestral genealogical DNA results and other services such as medical risk assessment.
Unlike ancestral DNA, they provide chromosome browser. You may not appreciate their online community forums when you compare with other services.
Conclusion And Final Verdict
Based on the above information, the best DNA test will depend on the kind of results you wish to have and the amount you are willing to spend.
You may be looking for as many matches as you can. In that case, you will have to fish from all the three companies. On the other hand, if you bank depths cannot allow you to go beyond one company, I highly advise that you go for FTDNA. It has abundant resources and serious genealogists.
You may also be interested in knowing how your genetic materials are linked to Canada, Australia, and United Kingdom DNA database. If that is your line of thinking, then we can’t recommend anything better than 23andMe. They do a great job at that and can help you trace where your family lived 500-1000 years ago.
Additionally, if you plan to test very young or old people, kindly avoid ancestry DNA as they require much saliva that you obviously won’t get.
Family Tree DNA will be your rescue as they use swabs to rub on the inner side of cheeks. However, Ancestry DNA does a great job at linking your results to your family. If a considerable number of your family members have tested with Ancestry, kindly use their services and watch your family story emerge.
Overall, take time, evaluate your needs and chose the best DNA. Wish you all the best!