We're living in an incredible age of innovation. The world is changing at a lightning pace, with smartphones already doing more than a computer could just twenty years ago. NASA have taken a picture of a black hole for the first time. Self-driving cars are a reality.
Because of all this innovation, the introduction of affordable and accessible ancestry DNA kits has gone somewhat under the radar. I'm not saying that no one has heard of them. People are talking about them throughout the online world. However, they're almost seen as an indulgence rather than a remarkable technological feat.
But DNA testing kits are truly remarkable. You can find out in a couple of weeks where your ancestors were from thousands of years ago. You can get an accurate breakdown of your heritage, even if you don't know anything about your family tree.
There are some excellent options out there if you're interested in trying one, but this is how to choose the best DNA testing kit.
Decide what you want from it
Everyone has their own reason for doing an ancestry DNA test. Some people know about their heritage but would like to know more about the nuances. Others have a vague idea but want the specifics. This is especially true for African-Americans who know they came from Africa, but since their ancestors were stolen from their lands, they don't know much more. And some have no idea of their heritage at all, as they or their parents were adopted.
Then there are the extra benefits, such as meeting relatives you didn't know existed, and finding out about any potential genetic conditions that you should look out for.
Depending on what you want from the DNA testing kit, your decision will be different. For example, if you want the highest chance of meeting relatives, Ancestry.com may be your best option, with a database numbering over 7 million.
On the other hand, if you want to look way further back, 23andMe can tell you if you have any homo neanderthalis in you. Neanderthals are extinct, but some of their DNA lives on in people around the world.
What are people saying?
It's also important to look at what people are saying about ancestry DNA kits. While some promise incredible features, they do not necessarily deliver. Alternatively, their service may be poor or their database smaller than they claim.
You can even look at some of the popular videos on YouTube of people receiving their test results. The makers of the kits will often explain how they work and how they differ from the others.
Consider the cost
Considering what they provide, ancestry DNA testing kits are relatively cheap. However, some are more affordable than others. MyHeritage, for example, can be used for $60, whereas other kits go for $100 or more. If you have a choice between a few different examples, and none of them are necessarily better than the others, price can help you make your decision.
There is a lot to be learned from ancestry DNA kits, and they're more accessible than ever. Try one. You'll be amazed by what you learn.