How to Do an Ancestry DNA Test Without Spitting
Updated on March 1, 2024
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How to Do an Ancestry DNA Test Without Spitting

To perform an ancestry DNA test without using saliva, you have several options:

  1. Cheek Swab – Some DNA testing companies, like Family Tree DNA and MyHeritage DNA, use a cheek swab method instead of saliva for DNA sample collection. This method involves rubbing a swab on the inside of your cheek to collect skin cells for DNA analysis.
  2. Hair DNA Test – Hair follicles can be used for DNA testing, but they must have the root attached to provide viable DNA. Typically, six to ten strands of hair with the follicles intact are required. However, hair DNA testing is not recommended for ancestry testing due to lower success rates and higher costs compared to cheek swabs or saliva samples.
  3. Blood Sample – Some companies may accept blood samples as an alternative to saliva or cheek swabs. This method is less common for ancestry testing and is typically used in a medical or legal context.
  4. Other Forensic Samples – In cases where traditional methods are not possible, such as when testing deceased individuals, other forensic samples like fingernails, teeth, or garment stains may be used. However, these methods are more complex, often more expensive, and may not be suitable for ancestry testing.

Some people struggle to fill the minimum requirements for a saliva sample for a variety of reasons. Maybe they’re older, or their motor skills aren’t as developed. It’s not unheard of for DNA tests to come back inconclusive because there isn’t enough saliva sample to test.

Luckily, many DNA ancestry tests do allow for alternatives. Other companies, even at-home ones, use easier methods, too.

Most DNA ancestry tests use saliva or a cheek swab sample. If you want to use something different, like hair or nails, always check with the testing company first. They can tell you if your sample will work and how best to collect it.

Remember, not every company offers the same options for alternative sample testing.

Updated on March 1, 2024
Angela Natividad
Angela Natividad
Content Contributor
Angela is a full-time digital content manager and editor for Know Your DNA. She also contributes freelance articles to several local and international websites when she has the time. She's always been a voracious believer in finding the truth and ensuring the science is sound.