AncestryDNA vs MyHeritage

Understand the key differences between two leading DNA testing services.

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Deep diving into your family's ancestry starts with choosing the right genetic testing company. In this review, we've put MyHeritage and AncestryDNA to the test and compared their key features, allowing you to decide which is the best fit for your needs.

A quick review: AncestryDNA and MyHeritage

MyHeritage logo

MyHeritage

AncestryDHA logo

AncestryDNA

DescriptionExplore your ethnic heritage and discover long-lost relatives with the help of this hassle-free DNA test.Learn about your family's health and origins with over 1,100 regions analysed.
DNA collection typeCheek swabSaliva
Test typeAutosomal
Autosomal
Result in3-4 weeks6-8 weeks
Price per kitFrom $139 (plus shipping)From $129
Database size2.4 million18 million
DNA matching?YesYes
Genetic traits report?YesYes
Ancestry reportsYesYes
Geographic regions2,100 +1,100 +
Downloadable raw data?YesYes
Family tree softwareYesYes

Collection method

AncestryDNA provides clients with a test tube to collect their saliva and process their DNA, making for a quite simple collection process. Simply spit into the test tube (up to the black line), ensure the cap is secure, shake the tube for 5 seconds, then ship it back to the company. AncestryCNA will also provide you with a pre-paid mail return.

MyHeritage, on the other hand, takes samples using a cheek swab which takes about 30-60 seconds. Put the swab into a provided vial, snap the stick of the swab off and close. Repeat the process with a second swab and vial, then ship the samples back to MyHeritage for testing.

Testing

Both AncestryDNA and MyHeritage test the autosomal DNA, which covers the maternal and paternal lineage of a person. This type of testing is the quickest and the most common type of testing amongst DNA services. It can provide information about which part of the world your ancestors originated, and tell you about individual ancestors up to six or seven generations previous to yourself.

Ethnic regions

AncestryDNA covers over 1,100 regions globally. The company compares your DNA to the DNA of people with known origins from around the world. AncestryDNA has 44,703 DNA samples. However, the current AncestryDNA genetic ethnicity does not provide a direct estimate of Indigenous Australian Ethnicity.

MyHeritage has a database for Ethnicity Estimate which covers 42 ethnicities. This database helps pinpoint a person's ethnicity even if their ancestors migrated from another country. Additionally, the Genetic Groups feature covers more than 2,100 geographic regions offering insights into your ancestors' past geographic locations and migration patterns.

Database size

DNA testing services in Australia collect information and store it in a secure database. This data is then used to try and find new family links. Simply put, the larger the database, the more people you can compare your DNA with.

Currently, MyHeritage has one of the smallest databases, boasting a size of 4.2 million. AncestryDNA, on the other hand, has a much larger database, that sits of more than 15 million.

Results

As previously noted, AncestryDNA drills down your ethnicity by percentage from more than 1,100 global regions. With the DNA match, you can also determine the degree of relatedness you may have to another person. AncestryDNA uses ThruLines which shows your common ancestry based on your DNA matches. With the same technology, AncestryDNA can also provide a rundown of your most-likely traits and a wellness report.

While MyHeritage also provides you with an ethnicity estimate, it's results can be more insightful as it breaks the world down into 42 ethnic regions. You can use an interactive map on the MyHeritage website to find out more about the regions you have connections with. Your results will also include Genetic Groups which indicates the specific groups you descend from and their geographic regions.

Both companies allow you to build a family tree connected to your DNA information and further access historical documents to research your family history.

Processing speed

Once your sample arrives at the lab, MyHeritage takes approximately 3 to 4 weeks to process your sample. In contrast, AncestryDNA takes about 6 to 8 weeks. After your processing is completed, simply log on to the specific web portal to view the report. AncestryDNA will email you a notification when your information is prepared and ready to be viewed.

Price

AncestryDNA's kit is $129, plus an additional cost for shipping. Premium memberships start from $21.99 and give you access to records across different regions as well as a chance to connect with other Ancestry members. You can also access records on deaths, marriages, births, military, church and more.

MyHeritage offers it's DNA testing kits for $139, excluding shipping charges. You can also choose to subscribe to the Complete Plan which gives you access to a number of premium features. These include an unlimited family tree size, full search access to more than 12.5billion historical records, ability to colourize black and white photos and priority email support.

Privacy and security

AncestryDNA identifies the samples with a specific code to follow your DNA. Results are stored in a secured database, which is encrypted, in order to protect the information. If you agree to AncestryDNA's Informed Consent for Research, the company will store your sample for future research. You can contact Member Services and request to have your sample destroyed.

Your profile on MyHeritage has privacy settings that you can change if you do not wish to have your DNA matched and want to prevent others from viewing and downloading your shared segments' details. You will need to sign an Informed Consent if you wish to volunteer your DNA results for the research. You also have the option to have your sample destroyed.

Both companies state that it will never sell your DNA sample and results or your health information to any third parties without your explicit informed consent.

Verdict

Both AncestryDNA and MyHeritage are suitable for people who are looking to dig deep into their ancestry. While both companies offer relatively similar features, AncestryDNA has a more extensive database, making it the ideal choice if you want intensive genealogical research and to connect with as many relatives as possible. If you're hoping to test the waters and would prefer a quicker turnaround, MyHeritage may suit you better.

Compare more DNA test kits

Data updated regularly
Name Product DNA Collection Type Test Type Result in Price per kit
AncestryDNA
Saliva
Autosomal
6-8 weeks
From $129
Learn about your family's health and origins with over 1,100 regions analysed.
Living DNA
Cheek swab
atDNA, mtDNA, Y-DNA
6-8 weeks
From $139
Receive ancestry reports with actionable insights about your health with results.
23andMe
Saliva
mtDNA, Y-DNA, Autosomal
6-8 weeks
From $145
Get details of genetic health risks and find unknown relatives from across the globe.
MyHeritage DNA
Cheek swab
Autosomal
3-4 weeks
From $139 (plus shipping)
Personalised & comprehensive assistance in 19+ languages all over the world.
Findmypast
Findmypast
Cheek swab
atDNA, mtDNA, Y-DNA
6 - 8 weeks
From $129
Find out if you have a British or Irish past and trace your history with records dating back to 1538.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Frequently asked questions

Can I take an autosomal DNA test if I'm biologically a woman?

Autosomal DNA tests trace a person's autosomal chromosomes. The autosomal chromosomes contain the DNA segments a person shares with everyone to whom they're related. Autosomal DNA tests are accessible to all, regardless of their biological sex.

How do I prepare for a DNA test?

For saliva samples collected using a test tube, you should first brush your teeth or use mouthwash. It helps to gently rub your cheeks from the outside to encourage saliva production, before spitting into the tube. For both saliva and cheek swab samples, do not eat, drink, smoke, or chew gum or tobacco for at least 30 minutes before providing a sample.

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