DNA Testing, A Review

Since I’ve had a chance to experience the big three Autosomal Testing Sites, I felt I should explain what I like or don’t like about them.

AncestryDNA

Pros:

  • Many users have public trees – great for finding shared ancestors by name.
  • Decent response rate from private tree users
    • Since Ancestry started out as a family tree and research site, lots of people keep coming back so they are more likely to see when they have been sent a message.  I’ve only had 1 person not respond to my messages on Ancestry.
  • Ability to link DNA to different trees/people
    • The average joe wouldn’t need this feature but adoptees like my mom could really benefit from it.  Read here to see how to take advantage of it.
  • Invite others to share DNA results
    • I have only had 1 person do this but it proved very effective when they did. They have even rescinded their invite and I still see a little icon showing our common matches.

Cons:

  • No chromosome browser – this is a big one for a lot of people but if you are new to DNA, you probably won’t mind it too much.
  • No option to see common matches.

Family Tree DNA

Pros:

  • Chromosome Browser
    • Compare up to 5 matches
  • See In Common Matches
    • This makes the site much better.  Now I’m not comparing random people. Love this feature.
  • Email addresses on most profiles.
    • Skip the messaging system and email directly.  Again – very nice.

Cons:

  • Family Tree view is so obnoxious. I seriously can’t stand it. You can only view a few people in the tree at a time.  But at least you have option to search for a name within their tree and quickly go to it.

23andMe

Pros:

  • In our case, our closest match tested here.
  • Chromosome Browser (see cons for more)

Cons:

  • Most profiles are private
    • All you see is female / male and their haplogroup.
  • You have to invite others to share before comparing in Chromosome Browser
    • Even public profiles have to be invited to share
  • Response rate is TERRIBLE
    • I’ve invited all of my mom’s 2nd, 3rd and some 4th cousins to share.  Only about 8 people have accepted and I have about 40+ no responses.
  • “Share Genomes”
    • Many users don’t know what this means.  I read one user mention they were afraid they were sharing their raw data with others. This may account for the low response rate.
  • Chromosome Browser is hard to find
    • I think if they made it more accessible, more people would understand what it means to share and they would be willing to share.
  • No way to see common matches.
  • Messaging system is slow.

I had lots of people recommend testing at 23andMe.  Now that I’m there I’m pulling my hair out just waiting to be able to use the dern site. Seriously 23andMe, get your act together.

Even though I so far despise 23andMe, I still would recommend testing everywhere.  You might just find your closest match there. Maybe you’ll have better luck and they will actually respond.

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