Regardless of how long you’ve been alive, your DNA can hold secrets about yourself that you’d never have otherwise known.
But, now that you’ve found our website you can see at a glance that there are actually quite a lot of DNA tests available on the market at the moment - it’s not just 23andMe.
The Ethos Behind LivingDNA
Each DNA test available offers different benefits, but where LivingDNA is different, is that one of the reasons it was founded was to tackle racism.
The idea is to educate their clientele on their genetic heritage, and show the world that their family tree may actually be worldwide.
Overview of LivingDNA
With LivingDNA’s ethos being centered around genetic ancestry, as you may expect one of the more stronger products in their offering is their ancestry DNA test kit, which we’ll be giving special attention to later.
In fact LivingDNA claims to offer the most detailed ancestry DNA test in the world.
Their most prominent sellers are their DNA Full Ancestry Kit, and their DNA Ancestry and Wellbeing Kit. So while their main strength lies in their ancestry expertise, they also have something to offer those who are looking for wellbeing and health related information from their DNA test.
If you’ve been following closely, you’ll have noticed that the fundamental idea behind LivingDNA is to beat racism. That in itself is a great strong point.
But they have a lot more to offer besides. They cover a whopping 150 world regions with reference populations, which makes it, no word of a lie, the most specific DNA ancestry service in the business.
Moreover, they also have the best African coverage, and have very high specificity in the UK region.
Another positive is that they will not sell your DNA data on to any third parties, like some pharmaceutical companies do. Your data is kept private and won’t fall into the wrong hands.
With their strong focus and intentions lying in the ancestry side of things, they are a little lacking perhaps in their health and medical tests and their results.
That’s not to say they don’t have a product offering along those lines, but when it comes to that particular area, they are not the best in their field, and if that’s what you were looking for in particular, then you may prefer to look elsewhere.
To that end, you might discover a more appropriate alternative if you read the article entitled Best DNA Test for Health, which is available on this link.
They are also a smaller company than many of their competitors, and as such have a more limited user base.
About the Company
Since their foundation, just this side of the turn of the millennium in 2002, the LivingDNA company is one of the oldest of its kind.
It’s one of the smaller companies in its industry, and as such doesn’t spend big bucks on marketing, but has instead invested it’s funds into producing a top quality DNA testing service.
In 2017, LivingDNA initiated their One Family World Project, a project designed to create a single, worldwide family tree based on the DNA of their users. This was and is a big step in the company’s mission to eliminate racism by means of educating the public on their ancestry DNA.
The other long term aim of the project is to enable their users to accurately pinpoint their family history to some very specific geographic locations. And they are making some great headway there.
Despite such big projects that require a great deal of participation from it’s users, LivingDNA takes great pride in its privacy guarantee, and users will not have their DNA data included in projects such as these without clear, explicit prior consent from individual users. More on that later.
The various DNA kits they have to offer are all very affordable, especially if you go for the Starter Kit option. Or if you wanted to get a deal, you could buy the Wellbeing and ancestry Kit together and save money. And you might be interested to know that the company sometimes has sales.
LivingDNA Product Offering
LivingDNA has just 3 different DNA tests available to choose from.
There’s their Starter Kit, their Full Ancestry Kit, and their Wellbeing Kit. We will be looking at these three different DNA kits in turn.
It’s also worth noting at this point that you can also opt to buy the Full Ancestry Kit, and Wellbeing Kit together at a discounted price.
They also have a special Ancestry Book that you can buy, which we’ll talk about later, and a free 7 day course in DNA and DNA testing.
The starter kit is the more affordable option of the three, and is perfect for those who aren’t after a great deal of information, but who do have a set budget to think about.
It is sometimes available at half the price of the Full Ancestry Kit. (For an update as to the prices, please click here to be directed to LivingDNA’s own website.)
And with this option you don’t have to choose between getting ancestry information and genetic health information, because you instead get a basic report in each of the two areas.
There’s actually quite a lot included in this “basic” starter kit. You get to see your family ancestry compared with 8 continents. There’s optional family matching.
You get some wellbeing information, such as vitamin levels and muscle strength. You get to keep a file of your raw genetic data. And you don’t have to pay any subscription fees.
The real beauty of the Starter Kit option though, is how you can buy an upgrade, should you wish to explore or discover your ancestry or DNA data further still.
And these upgrades, again, are affordable. They are cheaper than buying a whole new DNA kit, because you won’t have to go through the DNA sequencing again.
Full Ancestry Kit
Of course the report that’s provided for the Full Ancestry DNA Kit has far more detail than you get with the Starter Kit.
In addition to what you’d get with the Starter Kit, you also get full ancestry reports, deep ancestry reports, and optional family matching.
And here’s what we mean by that. The full ancestry report provides the most precise percentage ancestry breakdown you can get, including detailed reports of both maternal and paternal ancestry.
The results are based on your autosomal Y-DNA, and mtDNA, which is how they can track which maternal and paternal haplogroups you belong to.
And through this, together with their incredible database, LivingDNA is able to show you a percentage breakdown of your genetics, based on 150 world regional ethnicities.
This is actually more impressive than it sounds, because 150 is more than double the number of regions offered by other ancestry DNA tests, including the well known and ever popular Ancestry.com.
The deep ancestry reports provide percentage results for 80 regions (including sub-regional ancestry breakdowns), for both maternal and paternal ancestry that goes back in time covering a period of up to a whopping 80,000 years! Very impressive.
The family matching meanwhile, is optional. It gives you the opportunity to discover and connect with living relatives, should there be any in their database. Users find this quite exciting, and we think it’s this aspect that led to the company name “LivingDNA”.
When you sign up to LivingDNA’s Full Ancestry Kit, you get lifetime access to their online platform. This is great because it means that as the company discovers more information about your ancestry, your results will be automatically updated.
Although LivingDNA’s real strength lies in its ancestry detail, the number of different reports you can get with the Wellbeing Kit, is likely to impress many. There are more than 10 separate reports provided altogether.
The Wellbeing kit reports can tell you things like how your body responds to key vitamins, how your body processes different foods, such as sensitivities to different foods and intolerances.
But then it goes way beyond that to give you lifestyle advice specifically tailored to your genetic makeup. And this is where it really has value. The reports go into such matters as dietary advice, what exercises best suit your genetic makeup, and even the best way for you to wind down after exercise.
These reports provide some good explanations as to what changes you could consider implementing in your lifestyle. And this is done without being patronizing. Having this knowledge behind you can really give you a leg up in working towards any weight loss goals, or just improving your health and fitness generally.
If you think these wellbeing reports actually sound quite good and comprehensive, which admittedly they may seem to many, as we mentioned earlier this is not a strong area for LivingDNA, and there are some important factors that are missing in their Wellbeing report that you could easily get from an alternative DNA testing kit.
What’s missing with the Wellbeing kit is that it’s only about general wellbeing, and it does not include any of the more important health matters such as genetic markers for serious illness and diseases.
If you feel you’re in relatively good health, then you may not be too concerned about this. However if you have children, or if you intend at some point to have children, then such information can be invaluable.
This is because many serious illnesses can be passed on genetically, but without showing in every generation down the line.
If this is something that is of particular interest to you (and why wouldn’t it be), then you might prefer to look for a DNA testing kit that reports on what we refer to as Carrier Status, which will let you know if you are carrying the gene for a range of specific genetic conditions and diseases.
Deciding Which Kit to Get
If you like the sound of LivingDNA but still can’t decide which of their kits to go for, then you can check out the comparison chart on their website which can be accessed through this link.
You can see at glance what is and isn’t included in each kit or combo. And the price for each too.
Is it easy to use and understand?
The process is very simple. You buy your preferred DNA kit online. When your kit arrives, you simply take a swab from inside your mouth, send it back in the post for free, and you will be able to sign in and access your results online.
If you’re unfamiliar with medical terminology, you don’t need to worry, because the results are explained in layman’s terms with all the technical jargon explained in full for you.
How your DNA data would be used
With such a clear intention behind their company, that is to tackle racism, you may be inclined to assume that the company would want to share the results of your DNA test with the world.
However, we will point out that this is not in fact the case at all. LivingDNA is fully committed to keeping their clientele’s DNA completely confidential and private, with a strong privacy guarantee.
However, LivingDNA does give their users the option to opt in, with explicit consent, to some research studies, run with a number of academic institutions.
Should you decide you’d like to take part, you will always have the right to withdraw your consent for your data to be used for these studies at any time. Your sample will be destroyed, and your information erased from the database.
You can find more information about this on the company’s website, which you can access through this link.
Now, this is one of LivingDNA’s special features. If you do for the Full Ancestry kit, then you can also purchase a hardcover book, which is a very personalised book that you can keep at home that walks you through your results.
It explains about the various ethnicities contributed to your DNA, and where those groups originated from, and any migrations these groups took part in. It also explains the science behind their DNA testing.
The only problem we have with this book is that you have to pay an additional cost for it. And at the time of writing this review, the cost of the book is quite expensive for what it is.
We would have been happier if this book was included in the price, even if it meant paying a little bit more money for the Full Ancestry DNA test.
It shouldn’t be an expensive thing for the company to produce.
What other people are saying about LivingDNA
There hasn’t been a lot in the way of customer reviews for LivingDNA, but we think this mostly comes down to there being so much more marketing and promotion for some of the larger, more well known DNA testing companies.
Many users are pretty happy with the service they receive. They say that they find the reports detailed and informative. The same customers also say that the platform and service is easy to use and is good value for money.
Customers like how your ancestry can be tracked geographically, and how secure they feel about the privacy of your data.
But of course, as always, there are unhappy customers too. One of the main complaints is how long customers have to wait to receive their results.
Another problem many customers complain about is that the family member matching is not automatically available, and that it’s an optional extra that you have to pay more money for.
So, in summary, LivingDNA provides a fantastic kit for learning more about your full, true ethnicity, and it has some exceptional special features, such as the Ancestry book we talked about earlier.
And although it does offer health information, this health report does lack some more important factors concerned with genetic health, such as whether you're a carrier for a genetic health condition.
If you would like a basic understanding of your ancestry and your vitamin and exercise needs however, then LivingDNA provides an excellent starter kit that will cover those bases, and is available at a very affordable price.
If when you receive the results of the starter test, and you find yourself intrigued, you can then decide if you want to buy an upgrade at a minimal additional cost.
Find Out More
If you would like to find out even more about LivingDNA then you can use this link to visit their website.
And, for those of you who like to get into the nitty gritty of DNA and DNA testing, LivingDNA also offers a 7 day email course, which is available completely free of charge, through which you can learn: how DNA is relevant to you, how DNA testing works, know which test to take, and what happens to your DNA data.
Simply click on this link and scroll down to the relevant section.