Ease of Use
LivingDNA’s DNA test kit offers an extremely user friendly experience. Simply head to the website, order a kit, and it will be delivered to your door in under a week. After the test is complete (a simple swab of the cheek – no needles required) just mail it back. The results will be available online in approximately two months. There is also the option to have a hard copy mailed to you as well.
Whatever format you choose, you can view your ancestry results in terms of your entire genetic makeup, your paternal lineage, or your maternal lineage. The combination of these makes it very easy for you to get a full picture of what your family history is. For starters, the genetic makeup section focuses on helping you understand the basic origin countries of your DNA. This is done in various levels of detail based on the region of the world involved; those with British ancestry will actually be able to pinpoint their origins to 21 specific regions of Britain. When you are ready to get more specific, the “motherline” section lets you view the journey of mitochondrial DNA throughout history, while the “fatherline” section traces your Y-chromosome DNA in a similar manner.
To help make understanding this data easy, LivingDNA provides a plain language analysis combined with visual tools displaying the history of your entire genome. For example, the “through-history” analysis provides an interactive map gives you a visual depiction of your ancestors’ movements throughout the world. There are also “migration map” and “phylogenetic tree” options available to provide a visual aid for understanding the migrations of your distinct maternal and paternal lineages.
Another important thing to note about LivingDNA is it’s close collaboration with academic research and educational programs. Consenting to take part in these efforts opens up opportunities to learn more about your relationship to the rest of humanity on an ongoing basis as new studies are undertaken and new discoveries made. This is perfect if you are someone interested in finding long lost relatives such as distant cousins, or helping the science of genetics to continue progressing.
LivingDNA uses the respected Eurofins laboratory in Denmark for analysis. This lab is held to the highest standards possible; when it receives your sample, no personal information that could identify it as yours is attached to it. This ensures that no unauthorized person can tie you back to your sample. The raw data compiled by Eurofins is then sent to LivingDNA for analysis – no third party is ever involved in the process – and held in accordance with ISO:27001 information security requirements. Once your results are fully complete, you retain completely control over who views them and how they are used. No one will see anything without your express consent.
Unlike many other companies offering home DNA test kits, the functionality available for you to connect with the rest of LivingDNA’s user database is limited. While it’s great to be able to participate in broader academic and scientific research, if you are looking geek out on building your family tree bit by bit you’ll most likely be disappointed.
The LivingDNA home DNA test kit costs $159.00. There are no other options or subscription services available.
There is a very thorough and searchable help center available for you if you have any questions. The broad topics include the history and LivingDNA and how its test are conducted, inquiries about ordering and shipment, help with interpreting the results of your tests, and privacy concerns. We generally found that nearly all of the most frequently asked questions about a DNA heritage test can be answered here. However, if you need to contact someone from support directly, there are phone, email, and regular post mail options to do so.
We were really impressed at the combination of features offered by LivingDNA. The ability to pinpoint your lineage in such detail across paternal lines, maternal lines, and geographic location for just $159 is great. While we should have liked to see more robust features for collaboration with other site members, it’s balanced out by the ability to opt-in to scientific studies that you would not otherwise have access to. Overall, highly recommended.