Ease of Use
Taking a GPS Origins test is as simple as visiting the website and creating an account for yourself. Once you are finished, you’ll be sent a testing kit that comes with easy-to-follow instructions. You’ll need to run the cheek swabs contained in the kit along the inside of your mouth, and then place them in the container provided. There is also a postage-paid envelope for returning samples to a highly accredited US-based lab for free. Once there, they are analyzed by a team of expert PhDs. The results will come back in 2-3 weeks, which is a faster turnaround time than many competitors.
The test uses a variety of methods to return extremely targeted results about your DNA origins. Three main data points are used: autosomal genetic markers, reference populations, and gene pools.
The broadest testing GPS Origins undertakes is at the autosomal level. Autosomal genetic markers are sequences of DNA that can provide insight into your DNA origins through the identification of common characteristics between individuals. GPS Origins’ testing examines 800,000 of these markers.
GPS Origins examines reference populations – norms established through the analysis of a representative sample of individuals within a specific time period. GPS Origins compares your test results to norms established for more than 862 different known reference populations throughout history.
To delve even deeper, GPS Origins uses gene pool analysis. This test allows scientists to identify genetic markers known to belong to populations from distinct regions that experienced little to no interaction outside of their own community for between 20,000-60,000 years. GPS Origins is able to cross-reference your DNA with 36 different known gene pools.
At the most specific level, GPS Origins is sometimes able to pinpoint origins down to a single, specific village. The possibility of this level of specificity will depend on three factors:
- Amount of existing information pertaining to a specific geographic location
- Homogeneity of the gene pool in that area
- Both of your parents having roots in that area
The report you receive presents the information gathered over the course of these tests in a variety of ways. Reports can be saved and downloaded as a PDF, which allows for easy sharing with other family members.
These reports include “mixture proportions” from the 36 different gene pools used throughout the world, as well as a history of the pools for which your DNA is the strongest match. Geographical origins are also presented, using the most pinpointed area possible (country, region of that country, possibly village). You will be able to see the migration routes both sides of your family took throughout history, going back as far as 10,000 years.
This information is organized and illustrated in a variety of ways as well. A map is provided showing the three gene pools or communities that made the most significant contributions to your DNA; a “gene pool” profile provides DNA percentages that are more comprehensive than most ethnicity tests; another map lays out your maternal and paternal migration patterns.
Finally, GPS Origins also provides a Google map with pinpoints, allowing you to see your DNA origins without any confusion.
GPS Origins keeps all DNA testing results, as well as all personally-identifiable information completely confidential. Their terms of service forbid the sharing or sale of your information to a third party. The only exception to this policy is if the company is legally compelled to disclose information by a court of law. The company also reserves the right to aggregate the data they have from their analysis – stripped of any personal identifying information – for research purposes.
GPS Origins is compatible with some of the other leading DNA testing kits out there, but not all. For example, it is not compatible with any Y-chromosome and Mitochondrial DNA tests you may have taken, no matter their origin. If you have a preexisting test and plan to get it analyzed by GPSOrigins, check first with their customer support team to make sure it’s admissible.
The GPS Origins test kit costs a $199 flat fee.
GPS Origins offers a comprehensive FAQ that has answers to many of the most commonly asked questions about ancestry and ethnicity. It also provides a thorough breakdown of how the testing works, how to read the results, and what to do if you feel the results are inaccurate or contradict your family’s traditional understanding of its origins.
If you wish to speak with a customer service representative, you can do so by sending an email from the website, or calling support at 1-800-281-2916.
GPS Origins offers a comprehensive DNA testing kit, analyzed at an accredited US-based lab, for a very reasonable price. The potential to pinpoint your origins down to a village or town is a level of accuracy that is uncommon among other DNA testing services.