5 best ancestry DNA tests 2024 to help you learn more about your health | plmubl.com

5 best ancestry DNA tests 2024 to help you learn more about your health

With searches for ancestry DNA tests burgeoning, more and more of us across the UK and Ireland are turning to DNA testing companies to fill out the branches of our family trees. Plus, many of these services can also reveal any specific health risks that are worth knowing about — such as genetic variants detected in the genome, and your carrier status for certain inherited conditions.

“We live in a time where people feel increasingly disconnected,” explains Laura House, family history expert at AncestryDNA. “People are seeking real connections and authentic experiences, and family history is an important way for people to meet this need. For example, researchers at Emory University in the US have found that children with a deep knowledge of their family’s history – both the positive moments and the tougher ones – have much greater confidence, resilience and openness to others. Researching your family history can be a healing and grounding experience, and accessible and affordable genetic testing through Ancestry has made it possible for millions of people to take meaningful action to enrich their lives.”

While most people are familiar with using an ancestry service to find out fun stuff like where in the world their DNA is from, how much Neanderthal DNA they have, and whether there are any family members out there looking for them, there’s the aforementioned myriad of health benefits, too. Through DNA sequencing, it can be determined whether you are predisposed to certain conditions, including specific cancers (the BRCA gene, for example, made known by Angelina Jolie), and could help you take ownership of your health. Knowledge is power, as they say.

Keen to learn more about the home dna test process, and discover if it’s something for you? We’ve answered all the FAQs below, and also rounded up the best DNA testing services of 2024 — from 23andme, to Ancestry.co.uk. All it takes is a saliva sample!

SKIP TO: How we chose the best ancestry DNA kits | What are the different types of ancestry DNA tests? | How accurate are ancestry DNA tests? | What do you need to consider with regards to privacy? | Are there any downsides? | What does an ancestry DNA test really tell you? | How long does it take to get the results from an ancestry DNA test? | Our full reviews.

Meet the expert

  • Laura House is a genealogist and family history expert at Ancestry DNA, one of the leading DNA ancestry kit providers in the UK. She has an MSc degree in Genealogical, Palaeographic and Heraldic Studies from the University of Strathclyde, and she’s appeared on TV shows like BBC Three’s Stranger in My Family and ITV’s The Queen and Her Cousins with Alexander Armstrong.

The best ancestry DNA kits 2024 at a glance:

23 and Me Ancestry Service


£99 AT 23 AND ME

MyHeritage DNA Kit




Tell Me Gen DNA-test


How we chose the best ancestry DNA kits:

OK, full transparency: we didn’t try and test every DNA test kit in this edit. Instead, we looked at a multitude of factors that made them great. Firstly, customer reviews, of course – we read them all. Then, we factored in cost, ease of use, and how quickly you can expect results back. We also looked at how the results were presented – were they easy to understand? – plus any other additional factors, like their privacy statements, that might make them stand out from the crowd. Read more about how we test/choose here.

What are the different types of ancestry DNA tests?

There are three different types of DNA ancestry test available on the market at present. Autosomal DNA testing is the most common one, and they use your number DNA strands — rather than sex-specific strands — to tell you about everyone you are related to.

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The other two kinds – mitochondrial (mtDNA tests) and Y-DNA tests give information about the maternal and paternal lines, respectively. As both sexes inherit mitochondrial DNA, both sexes can take the mtDNA test — however only females can pass this DNA onto their own children. But the Y-DNA test is only available for males, as females don’t have a Y chromosome.

How accurate are ancestry DNA tests?

Although 100% accuracy can’t be guaranteed from a home DNA test, they’re still a pretty reliable and fun way to learn more about your family history. “Of course, the science and technology is always improving, which means some results can update over time,” agrees House. “As our DNA network grows, we are able to provide updates and even deeper insights into our customer’s results.”

What do you need to consider with regards to privacy?

From deciding who can access your results, to having to opt in for your data to be used in research, making sure you’re fully aware of what choices you have around privacy and protecting your personal information is key. It’ll vary from company to company, but be sure to read the terms and conditions to make sure you’re happy with how your sample will be stored, and what will happen with your results.

Are there any downsides?

It’s great to learn more about yourself and where you come from — but bear in mind that there’s always a chance that you’ll uncover upsetting information about your family that was intended to be kept hidden. Also, when it comes to your health, how prepared are you to discover potentially upsetting news about yourself — such as a proclivity for an incurable disease like dementia, or an increased genetic likelihood of developing some kind of cancer? We’re not trying to scare you — just make sure you think about how receiving unexpected results could impact your emotional wellbeing before you take the plunge.

What does an ancestry DNA test really tell you?

DNA ancestry tests have come a long way in recent years, and genetic data can give you a really comprehensive overview of your health. Some of them, such as 23andme’s DNA data test, can give indications on everything from your proclivity for Parkinson’s to whether or not you might have freckles.

With a quick DNA sample, most tests allow you to build a family tree and tell you their geographic origins. “Our DNA kits will tell you about your ethnicity, where your ancestors likely lived in the past 300 years, and who else in our database of global users you are related to,” explains House. “If an Ancestry DNA+Traits kits is purchased, you can also discover over 40 traits unique to you related to your personality, behaviour, and a range of physical traits.”

How long does it take to get results from an ancestry DNA test?

Waiting times can vary from as quick as two weeks to as long as six weeks for most brands, so bear this in mind and be patient.

Ahead, our full edit of the best ancestry DNA tests to buy today.

  • 1. Best ancestry DNA test overall23 and MeWhy we love it: Without doubt the most prettiest test on the market, 23 and Me is also one of the most expansive in terms of what it can tell you about your health – from predispositions to Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s to Type 2 Diabetes or the BRCA gene. What’s more, it reveals any information sensitively via tutorials, so that you won’t find out anything that you might not be prepared for and that could cause unnecessary stress. Bonus points for the interactive manner in which it relays facts about you – such as a genetic predisposition to being afraid of heights. On 23andme, you can buy a straight genetic ancestry test if you’re only worried about family connections, or an ancestry and health test.Test type: All three – autosomal, mt-DNA and Y-DNA.
    Sample method: Saliva tube.
    Price: £99 for the ancestry test, or £179 for the ancestry and health test.£99 AT AMAZON£99 AT 23 AND ME
  • 2. Best for finding out about your ancestryAncestryDNAWhy we love it: Ancestry.com is probably the best on the market for, you’ve guessed it, your family tree. It has the largest pool of data on DNA matches out there, thanks to boasting over 20 million participants worldwide. Indeed, you can click on the map to see who you are related to in each region – from Europeans to Americans and Asians – which is fun. One thing to consider? In order to continue to access the most up to date genetic information on your relatives across multiple geographic regions, you’ll need to a monthly subscription.Test type: Autosomal.
    Sample method: Saliva tube.
    Price: £79.£79 AT ANCESTRY
  • 3. Best budgetMyHeritageWhy we love it: A great budget option for those seeking to find out more about their ancestry. We love the jazzy graphic that accompanies your results – it’s a Hollywood-scale production (only a slight exaggeration) which opens with a spinning globe and dramatic music before zooming in on the parts of Europe and rest of the world that your common ancestors come from. It’s worth bearing in mind though that that’s very much the crux of this test – there’s no health data here.Test type: Autosomal.
    Sample method: Cheek swab.
    Price: £35.£79 AT MYHERITAGE
  • 4. Best for historical insightsLivingDNAWhy we love it: Great for discovering more about your ancestors’ movements around the globe, Living DNA provides 80,000 years worth of insights into who you are thanks to mass historical records. It prides itself on providing the most in depth detail for those with British ancestry in particular, so if that’s you, then this is a steal at just £65.Test type: Autosomal.
    Sample method: Cheek swab.
    Price: £58.£58 AT LIVING DNA

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  • 5. Best for health informationTell Me GenWhy we love it: As well as the usual health information about genetic predispositions and inherited health conditions, it also tells you about pharmaceutical compatibility and personality traits, plus cool things like how fast your metabolism is and your muscle performance. You also get free updates forever, which is pretty cool, so if technology advances, your results do too. It boasts that it’s the most comprehensive on the market, too, with over 400 results.Test type: Autosomal.
    Sample method: Cheek swab.
    Price: £75.

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