GPS Origins Ancestry DNA Test Review (2019)

GPS Origins has been selling Ancestry information for over 2 decades. They claim is that they can show you your ancestors’ migrations patterns, down to the village your ancestors might have lived in.

In this GPS Origins DNA Kit review, we’ll look the test kit and what the results look like, exploring if this is the best test kit for the money, or if others are a better use of your money.

GPS Origins:

    • Shows ancestry path hundreds of generations back
    • Has been in the market since 1995
    • Claims to be able to show the exact village your ancestors live
    • It offers the most precise test kit.

Quick Facts:

Sample Collection: Cheek Swab (4)
DNA testing type:Autosomal
Speed:6-8 weeks (mine took 17 days)
Privacy Protection:Unique to reseller

How much does GPS Origins DNA kit cost?

$ 199
95
from Amazon.com
  • Pinpoint your Ancestry to the city
  • 80,000 autosomal markers tested
  • Prime Shipping
$ 199 From HomeDNA.com
  • 1000 reference population
  • 41 Gene Pools Analyzed
  • 6 week turn around

There are price disparities based on where you buy your kit from. Also, HomeDNA.com offers several more specific kits – African, Asia, etc.

What is in the box

The GPS Origins kit contains the following:

  • 4 DNA collection swabs
  • Envelope to put samples in
  • Return envelope

Send in steps

  1. Activate kit
  2. Swab your cheek 4 different times, as well as dry the swabs with the DNA samples
  3. Put cheek swabs in return envelope to get sent to the DNA diagnostic center.

Out of all of the DNA tests I’ve taken, this is the most unprofessional/insecure. For example, you put your name, phone, and email on the envelope, so they know whose it is. Also, it has 4 cheek swabs. 30 seconds of swabbing + 60 seconds of drying means taking the sample takes a bit of time.

HomeDNA will email you when they receive your sample:

HomeDNA DNA email showing that the kit was received.

How is my privacy protected on HomeDNA?

HomeDNA has a great blog post sharing their privacy protections. Specifically, they:

  • Except for legal paternity tests, all test samples (cheek swabs) are destroyed shortly after testing is complete
  • We only analyze and store data for the specific test that was ordered by the customer (we do not perform any other types of analysis on existing data)
  • We do not maintain publicly-accessible databases of ancestry-related or other data
  • We are committed to protecting the security of your information. We use a variety of industry-standard security technologies and procedures to help protect your information from unauthorized access, use, or disclosure
  • We do not share or sell any customer’s data with companies or entities that are not connected to HomeDNA’s parent company, DDC. Because of this policy, no “opt-out” is ever necessary for our customers

”[source]

You put your name right on the test kit when you return it. Most other DNA testing kits have your test kit #, meaning that there isn’t any personally identifiable information on your test kit. However, this probably doesn’t matter unless you’re a celebrity (chances are the person testing your package has no idea who you are), but still seems like an easy thing to fix.

The results

GPS Origins tests your autosomal DNA that comes from your parents from chromosomes 1-22. They split your gene pool to it’s two primary, unique components to trace your maternal and paternal lines.

GPS Origins sends you a video to show how they come up with your test results. This gives you an excellent overview of how to look around their service.

Compared to other services (Ancestry.com, 23andMe), it’s straightforward to navigate, but this is mostly because there’s only one page of your results. GPS Origins chronologically does this:

GPS Origins Human Origins: Our shared history to your story. Screen showing DNA through history.

First – you can read about how we came out of the sea 360 million years ago, and then how our primate line split from other mammals 65-80 million years ago, all the way to Africa (where all of us have shared ancestors).

It’s a good primer and quick brush up on history before diving into more specifics and migration maps.

Gene Pool Percentages

Gene Pool Percentages screen from GPS Origins DNA test service.

The first section is your top 3 gene pool percentages. Hovering on these will show you the unique maps for your gene pools.

You can read about each of the regions in detail right below it:

Screen showing more info from the screen above. This give more in-depth info for the different regions your DNA tested for.

Much like The Human Origins section, this is a well-written section that allows you to learn all about the top areas you are from. They are short, about 8 paragraphs, but give you a detailed and interesting view of the different stories.

DNA Migration Routes

This is the portion that GPS Origins markets heavily, claiming to be able to show you migration routes down to your ancestor’s villages. You can look at the geographical origins of your ancestors and the migration paths they took. However, you would have had to take another test to know which is your mother’s route and which is your father’s (LivingDNA does this).

Map of DNA Migration routes for GPS Origins DNA test review

Clicking these will show the various stories:

More specific stories of migration maps for GPS Origins

Understanding Your Results

 

Three more sections for GPS Origins DNA test

More reading! You can read additional information on:

  • How genetic testing works, specifically with GPS Origins
  • How to understand your origins (gene pool)
  • Specific migration patterns

Download raw Data

Like most other tests on the market, GPS Origins allows you to download your raw DNA data:

GPS Origins allows you to download your raw DNA data for upload for other services.

Overall Review – Is GPS Origins Worth it?

PROS

  • Nothing is hidden behind a paywall
  • Tons of information to read and digest
  • Ability to upload/download raw DNA data
  • Precise results

CONS

  • Privacy (writing your name on test kit)
  • Not nearly as much info as competition
  • Exact migration patterns aren’t certain
  • Overpriced
  • Limited functionality for results

The results, though impressive, are sparse and don’t contain that much information. Compared to 23andMe, Living DNA, and Ancestry, there is next to no information on the results. For example, GPS Origins gives you one page of information, whereas the competition provides you health traits, possible relatives, and much more ancestry information. In addition, GPS’ Origins claim that you can view your ancestors down to the village is dubious at best and doesn’t seem to be worth it.

Finally, though you can get it cheaper on Amazon, the fact that they want to charge $199 for something that doesn’t justify it doesn’t seem to make this worth it.

Sources