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In This Article
DNA self-test kits can tell you many things, like your ancestry, ethnicity, and inherited health risks.
When it comes to ancestry tests, MyHeritage DNA is one of the most popular.
MyHeritage was initially a genealogy tool company before it started DNA testing in 2016. Its DNA kit is excellent, especially if you’re looking for international relatives.
The company is also the top DNA testing service in Europe. This makes them a great choice if you want to investigate your family history across the continent.
In this MyHeritage DNA kit review, let’s look at the products, features, process, and how MyHeritage fare against competitors. We’ll also run through the pros and cons of using this DNA testing service.
The Basic plan is free. It lets you build a family tree of up to 250 family members.
There are four paid plans, with prices ranging from $79 to $348 per year.
This DNA self-test kit can provide information about your ancestry, possible family connections, and ethnicity.
The kit costs $89 (but there are always sales for prices as low as $49). You have to pay the shipping fee unless you ordered two or more kits.
The DNA test kit contains:
MyHeritage DNA only offers a swab test, unlike other DNA testing companies with both swab and saliva tests.
If you want to get additional information about your inherited health risks, you can get the MyHeritage DNA Health Upgrade for $120.
Set up your MyHeritage DNA account. Sign-up is free.
Once you’re logged in, you can order the test kit online.
Once your package has arrived, follow these steps to submit a DNA sample:
Technicians will extract DNA from your swab sample. The DNA sample is amplified and converted into raw DNA data.
Your data will be used to calculate:
MyHeritage’s DNA lab is CLIA-certified. CLIA stands for Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments, a rigorous standard for testing facilities in the health field.
MyHeritage tests autosomal DNA. This means the test focuses only on the 22 out of 23 pairs of human chromosomes. This test is enough to search family connections up to the fifth degree and five generations.
MyHeritage doesn’t test mtDNA (mitochondrial chromosome) and YDNA (Y chromosome). This means it can’t trace maternal lineage through the mtDNA and paternal lineage through YDNA.
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MyHeritage DNA details are centered on three themes:
MyHeritage’s Family Tree Builder and Smart Matches let you find and connect with potential relatives. You can download the tool or use the built-in builder on the website.
The free subscription plan allows you to build a family tree of up to 250 members. The paid plans provide higher limits.
Currently, there are 5.1 billion family trees on MyHeritage’s platform.
To start, look for the “Family Tree” tab. Add your parents, siblings, and cousins. Provide as much detail as you can.
Invite your relatives to help you expand the family tree and upload photos. You can also search for relatives up to 5 generations ago.
With “Discoveries,” you can tell MyHeritage what you know about your parents and grandparents. The company will instantly do Smart Matches to compare your family tree with historical records or other family trees.
When there’s a match, you and the other family tree owners will be notified. You can then both investigate if the match is legitimate.
With “Research,” you can manually look for people, especially those who share your surname.
The database contains news articles, photos, birth and death certificates, and other public records to help you expand your family tree.
You can also check for your ancestors in the historical records. However, you need the Data or Complete plan to have access.
On top of traditional genealogical research, MyHeritage also offers genetic testing to expand your family tree.
You can find possible relatives as long as they took MyHeritage’s DNA test or have their raw DNA data uploaded on the platform.
Note that you may end up with too many matches. Thus, you need to check which matches are legitimate.
DNA data can also prove or disprove documented family tree connections.
For example, when a person in another family tree shares your surname, your data will show if you are indeed related.
I didn’t have any close family matches (though I had them on 23andMe and AncestryDNA).
I had a few extended matches. (I removed them, as they weren’t that interesting.)
This quantity of matches should give you an idea of the size of MyHeritage’s database.
At 5.5 million, MyHeritage’s DNA database is nowhere near the size of that of AncestryDNA (20 million) and 23andme (12 million). Still, it’s impressive.
Moreover, with many users outside the U.S., MyHeritage has more global data than some competitors.
Your DNA data can provide information about the ethnic and geographic origins of your ancestors.
MyHeritage provides two types of information:
While Genetic Groups build up on Ethnicity Estimates, these two are different:
When your test results arrive in your notification box, you’ll see a rotating globe playing some foreign, regional music.
For instance, a user with an Eastern European ancestry will hear a touch of Baltic sound. The user can also zoom in on the map of Eastern Europe if they want to learn extra information about the geographic regions common to their ancestry.
A map will reveal your genetic makeup when the music stops, with hotspots showing your ethnicity and the percentages listed on the left side.
Here are my results.
You can learn whether you have inherited health risks by choosing the MyHeritage DNA Health Upgrade.
The upgrade costs $120. It provides reports about:
There’s no need to submit another sample if you have already done the DNA test.
Just answer a health questionnaire, and MyHeritage will analyze your stored data. You’ll receive your health assessment within 2 to 3 days.
You may wonder why health assessment isn’t a regular MyHeritage feature. Perhaps this is for people who don’t want to know if they have inherited health risks.
With this tool, you can graph your chromosomes. You can check what DNA segments you share with your matches. However, this tool usually interests only advanced users.
This feature lets you organize your DNA matches into color-coded clusters. It helps you check common ancestors between you and your matches.
This visual tool shows the common ethnicities in each country and the top countries for each ethnicity.
If you have taken a DNA test with another company, you can upload the data to MyHeritage and get DNA matches for free.
MyHeritage shines with data exportability. It permits you to download your raw DNA data easily.
You can colorize black-and-white photos or restore the colors of faded photos.
You can work on up to 10 photos for free. If you need more, you’ll need to get a paid subscription.
MyHeritage says your data is protected by multiple layers of encryption and stored on secure servers.
The lab also holds CLIA certification and CAP accreditation. These rigorous industry standards ensure your data is stored and processed securely.
MyHeritage did get hacked recently, but the hackers didn’t get away with much.
Thanks to MyHeritage’s privacy protection policy, hackers could only steal usernames and passwords. No raw DNA data or historical records were taken.
Yes, they are accurate and reliable if you want to know details about your ancestry.
Most DNA ancestry tests are accurate. Sometimes, the results from different DNA testing companies are not the same due to human error. But you're still likely to have an accurate depiction of your ancestry and common ancestors.
MyHeritage autosomal DNA testing can trace your blood relationship down to your fifth cousin.
After this range, genome availability becomes very low and untraceable. It isn’t easy to find two people sharing the same ancestral characteristics that are not related.
As a CLIA-certified lab, MyHeritage makes sure your results are accurate. CLIA standards govern how to perform tests, lab workers’ qualifications, and quality control.
Both companies only test autosomal DNA. Both have tons of online genealogical records.
MyHeritage has a smaller DNA database (5.5 million) than AncestryDNA (20 million). But MyHeritage DNA has divided the world into more regions, helping you narrow down your search for ancestors.
MyHeritage has many users in Europe. This makes MyHeritage more accurate for people with European ancestry.
23andMe offers all three types of DNA tests (autosomal, mtDNA, and YDNA). MyHeritage only tests autosomal chromosomes.
23andMe also has a more extensive DNA database (12 million) than MyHeritage (5.5 million).
23andMe’s major strength is in genetic health analysis, something MyHeritage needs to catch up.
On the other hand, 23andMe has almost no genealogical records, where MyHeritage shines.
Family Tree DNA offers the most comprehensive array of DNA tests.
It’s more potent in exploring connections to early human migration or tracing paternal and maternal lineages.
However, you may want to avoid Family Tree DNA if you’re wary about security and privacy. It’s known for voluntarily providing data access to law enforcement.
MyHeritage offers a complete genealogical package that includes a family tree builder, DNA testing and matching, ethnicity estimates, and health assessment.
The DNA testing kit is well-designed and easy to use. The website lays out all the information you would look for.
If you want to save a little money and don’t mind the smaller database and paying for shipping, this test may be a good fit.
Extras, like the ability to upload raw DNA data from other companies, make MyHeritage attractive.
But things like paying for your shipping make me hesitant to give a perfect MyHeritage review.
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