AncestryDNA vs MyHeritage

Home DNA testing kits have gained in popularity significantly in recent years and there are a handful of popular websites to choose from.

It can be tricky to figure out which one is the best in terms of features and price.

Both MyHeritage DNA and AncestryDNA have their own unique features and advantages.

Below we’ve compiled a list of these and compared them.

Overview of AncestryDNA

Ancestry offered its first genetic test in 2012, a whole four years before MyHeritage jumped on the DNA kit bandwagon. Since then, Ancestry has accumulated over 14 million users worldwide. AncestryDNA offers an insight into your relatively recent ancestral past.

For reasons they explain on their support site, Ancestry only looks at autosomal DNA. In layman’s terms, they provide information about your more recent ancestors. Their test compares your DNA with that of over 1000 reference populations from around the world.

With this data and data from their tens of millions of family tree users, the company can estimate your relation to several global populations to a high degree of accuracy. 

Cost of AncestryDNA

The Ancestry DNA kit typically costs £99, and the company has various subscription services available for building and exploring your family tree and these can differ in price.

However, Ancestry often has sales on their DNA kits which can sometimes bring the price down to as low as £55 so it’s worth waiting until they have a promotional offer. 

Key Features of AncestryDNA

  • AncestryDNA is available in 36 different countries
  • Their autosomal test looks at a much broader range of your DNA, which helps identify matches throughout your entire family tree, along both your paternal and maternal sides.
  • They test for relations in 43 different ethnicity regions plus 349 communities.
  • Ancestry offers excellent family tree integration and they make it easy to add your results to your tree and connect with other relative’s trees.
  • Ancestry can also provide you with your medical/trait reports, however, this is subject to an additional charge and isn’t included with the standard DNA kit.
  • Once matches have been found, the Ancestry platform allows you to message and interact with your relatives, so chatting to your family is easy and encouraged.
  • AncestryDNA is a great option for adoptees or those looking to find a parent or sibling. This is because of the number of people currently using the platform, so the chances that your family has already input their DNA onto the database is higher than any of the other competitors.

The Procedure for Ancestry DNA

When you place an order online for an AncestryDNA testing kit, you should expect to receive your kit in 7-10 business days.

You’ll receive a letterbox parcel with a small barcoded tube that you fill around halfway with your saliva. 

Then place it in the biohazard sealable bag provided and post it back using their pre-paid postal package provided. 

Turnaround time of AncestryDNA

Once their lab receives your DNA sample, you should receive your test results within 6-8 weeks. You’ll get an email notification prompting you to log into your account where you can then view your results.

It’s important to note that you’ll need to activate your DNA kit online before it can begin processing. 

How AncestryDNA Use Your Data

Your DNA sample is identified only by a bar code and the testing laboratories don't have your identity. Ancestry also stores all DNA Data in encrypted databases to ensure restricted access, even within the company.

These protections will remain for the copy of your DNA Data that they possess but you will need to secure the DNA Data if you choose to download it yourself. For more information and to read their full data policy, we recommend taking a look at their website. 

Overview of MyHeritage DNA

MyHeritage is an Israeli company that was founded in 2003 as an online genealogy resource. They began offering autosomal DNA testing in late 2016, and their database has grown rapidly to nearly 2 million today.

MyHeritage currently has the third-largest DNA database, as well as subscription-based access to genealogical records. Your results will be available to view online and they will provide a percentage breakdown of your ancestral background.

This will show your ancestors’ origins from among 42 ethnicities, including Japanese, Irish, Italian, Jewish and many others. You will find a list of the regions where your ancestors from both sides of your family came from, as well as the percentage of your DNA that comes from each area. 

Cost of MyHeritage DNA

The cost of the MyHeritage DNA kit is slightly cheaper than AncestryDNA at £79 with an added £9 cost for shipping within the US.

However, if you want to explore the trees of your matches, you’ll need to be part of their subscription service which is £94 paid annually. If you sign up for the subscription service at the same time you buy your DNA kit, you’ll get your first month for free.

Key features of MyHeritage DNA

  • MyHeritage DNA currently has 60 million users worldwide and has access to 12.5 billion historical records including, birth, marriage and death certificates as well as military records. 
  • Their chromosome browser lets you visualize where in your genome you match other people. It also highlights DNA segments where two or more of your matches also match one another, which is evidence that you all inherited that particular segment of DNA from a common ancestor.
  • Their Shared Matches feature shows you not only whether two of your matches also match one another, but how much DNA they share.
  • The MyHeritage DNA test is available in most countries. The only countries it is not available in are Israel, Iran, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, North Korea, Lebanon, and Syria.
  • Their website is available in 42 countries. 

The Procedure for MyHeritage DNA

The MyHeritage DNA test kit doesn’t involve blood or spit. To collect your sample, you scrape the inside of your cheek with a small swab for about 45 seconds and repeat this with a second swab.

You place the swabs into vials and mail them to the DNA lab for analysis. Results will be available for you to view securely online, on the MyHeritage website.

The Turnaround Time for MyHeritage DNA

Once your kit arrives at the lab, your results will be ready in 3-4 weeks.

These can be viewed on their website and you will receive an e-mail to notify you when they’re ready.

How MyHeritage DNA Uses Your Data

MyHeritage claims that all personal details are secured and protected by multiple layers of encryption and that all their testing is done in their CLIA-certified, CAP-accredited laboratory in the United States.

Conclusion

In conclusion, anyone looking into using either of these services is probably interested mostly in finding out more about their genealogy and family history.

Both companies mainly focus on your relatively recent historical past. Both companies also offer access to a wide variety of non-DNA resources and family tree software to build and explore your history.

Both companies also provide a means for finding and contacting genetic relatives. Both companies also recently started offering additional health testing services, but MyHeritage provides a much more thorough analysis.

Ancestry, while they have more users and ancestral reference populations, does not compete on the health side of things. With the company’s massive user database, Ancestry should be able to offer even more health-related traits than its largest competitors, but they offer far fewer than most companies.

People only interested in their family tree will be happy, but most people want as much information as they can get. MyHeritage can offer a great ancestry analysis, in addition to a large and useful combination of Carrier Status reports and Health Risk reports.

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