People may use DNA test kits to learn about their ancestry and genetic risk of certain diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease. However, only some companies offer genetic health testing and FDA approval.

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What are at-home and OTC DNA test kits?

An at-home DNA test kit allows people to learn about their genetic makeup, ancestry, and overall health risks.

A person will usually provide a saliva sample for analysis at a laboratory. This analysis will involve studying DNA in the sample cells to look for mutations that indicate a person’s risk of developing specific health conditions.

A person does not need a doctor’s recommendation to get an at-home DNA test kit, and they are widely available to order online.

How to choose an at-home DNA test kit

To choose an at-home DNA test kit, a person can consider the following points when evaluating each company:

  • The accreditations of the laboratories the company uses: Not all DNA test kits are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the testing laboratories may not be accredited by the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA).
  • The company’s privacy policy: A person can check if the company provides detailed information on how it uses and stores customer data and who has access to it.
  • The company’s staff: Some companies employ medical geneticists and genetic counselors and offer consultations with doctors so users can better understand their results.
  • The company’s website: A person can review the quality of the information on the company’s website. This should include services, pricing, and testing and analysis methods.
  • The types of genetic mutations the test focuses on: A person may wish to check that a company tests for the condition they are most concerned about.

At-home DNA testing kits

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.


AncestryDNA testing kit

Ancestry is a genealogy company that helps people research and build their family trees. Ancestry offers DNA testing kits that help people learn about their genetic ancestry, providing information on where their ancestors may have come from.

To use the AncestryDNA kit, a person will need to order a kit online, provide a saliva sample, and send the sample to the AncestryDNA laboratories for analysis.

The company claims that its analysis includes more than 700,000 genetic markers, and a person can get their results online within 6–8 weeks.

Reviews of the AncestryDNA kit on Amazon are largely positive, with an overall rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars. Of all the reviews, 81% are 5-star reviews.

Negative reviews mention inaccurate results, particularly for people of Asian descent. Negative reviews also mentioned poor customer service regarding complaints.


The AncestryDNA kit costs $99.

A person can add on a 3-month Ancestry subscription to their DNA testing kit for just $1 extra, so they can look at genealogy records and build a family tree.

For $199, the company offers an AncestryDNA kit, a 3-month Ancestry membership, and an AncestryDNA Traits report that predicts how a person’s genes may have influenced their appearance, personal traits, and overall wellness.

Ancestry runs regular promotions that reduce the cost of their DNA testing kits.


  • Ancestry has a DNA database of more than 20 million people, which means a person may be more likely to identify family members.
  • Tests can identify which areas within a country a person’s family may have come from.
  • It is possible to enhance test results by using Ancestry’s family tree software.


  • A person needs to buy an Ancestry subscription to access all AncestryDNA features.
  • The test does not report on health conditions.
  • There are reports of inaccurate results for Asian people.


23andMe offers genetic testing to help a person learn about their genetic ancestry. It also offers genetic health testing to show a person their risk and carrier statuses for a range of health conditions.

A person’s 23andMe DNA report will cover their ancestry, data from their maternal and paternal lines, and information on how much Neanderthal DNA is present in their sample.

The Health + Ancestry service tests for genetic health risks, such as Parkinson’s disease, cystic fibrosis carrier status, and 39 other conditions. The test can also estimate a person’s genetic predisposition to certain health traits, such as being underweight or overweight.

To use the service, a person orders a testing kit online and provides a saliva sample before sending the sample back to the 23andMe laboratories for analysis.

According to the 23andMe website, a person can expect their results in 3–4 weeks.

There are more than 27,000 reviews on Amazon for the 23andMe Ancestry + Traits Service kit, with an overall rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Roughly 84% of reviewers give the kit 5 stars. Positive reviews mention that the kits are easy to use, and the process is quick. Negative reviews say the 23andMe Ancestry + Health test results were not as insightful as customers were hoping.


A 23andMe Ancestry + Traits Service kit costs $99, and a Health + Ancestry Service kit costs $199.

A 23andMe Membership kit costs $29 per year. This includes access to premium reports and features.


  • It is FDA-approved to test for 10 diseases.
  • It features noninvasive sample collection.
  • There is potential for reimbursement through FSA or HSA.
  • It provides detailed ancestry reports.


  • There is no family tree software.

MyHeritage DNA

MyHeritage DNA offers a DNA test that a person can take to learn more about their ethnic origins and find new relatives. A person can find out which geographic regions their ancestors may have come from.

However, the MyHeritage DNA test kits do not offer health testing as part of their basic DNA testing kit. People have to pay a fee to upgrade to a MyHeritage DNA Health test to get data on their genetic risks for certain health conditions, such as heart disease and breast cancer.

To take the DNA test, a person must order a kit online and provide a cheek-swab sample. They can then send their sample back to the MyHeritage DNA lab for analysis. According to the company, a person can receive their results, which are accessible online, within 4 weeks.

Not everyone is eligible to order a MyHeritage DNA test or a Health upgrade. The test and upgrade are not available in certain countries. A person may wish to check if the test is available in their country prior to purchasing.

The MyHeritage DNA test has an average rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars on Amazon. Of the 7,549 reviews, 72% give the kit 5 stars. Positive reviews mention that the kit is easy to use. Negative reviews state that the results are inaccurate.


The MyHeritage DNA test kit costs $79. To access health testing, a person must pay a $120 upgrade fee.


  • The DNA test covers 2,114 geographic regions and 42 ethnicities.
  • Several layers of encryption protect customer data.
  • The MyHeritage DNA labs are accredited by CLIA and the College of American Pathologists (CAP).
  • It features noninvasive sample collection.


  • Health testing costs an extra $120.
  • The customer covers shipping costs to send samples to the lab.

Comparison table

DNA testing kitPriceTypes of testingSampling methodProcessing timeFDA-approvedCLIA-accredited labs
AncestryDNA$99–$199genetic ethnicitysaliva sample6–8 weeksnoyes
23andMe$99–$228genetic ethnicity, health testingsaliva sample3–4 weeksyes, for 10 conditionsyes
MyHeritage DNA$79–$199genetic ethnicity, health testingcheek swab3–4 weeksnoyes

Uses of DNA tests

A person can use DNA tests to get personalized information about their risk of certain diseases, their traits, and their overall health.

A person can also use these tests to find out more about their genetic ancestry, learn where their ancestors may have lived, and build their family tree.

A 2019 national survey concluded that genetic specialists were the best group of health professionals to advise a person on the results of genetic tests. Not every DNA test offers access to genetics professionals, so a person may need to seek genetic counseling themselves to learn more about their test results.

Risks of DNA tests

A person may receive information they were not expecting from a DNA test kit. This can include information on health conditions or details about their family or ancestry that may be upsetting.

DNA test kits only offer a partial picture of a person’s health. Other factors can also influence disease risks, such as lifestyle, medical history, and environmental factors. Having a genetic mutation for a certain disease does not mean someone will develop the condition.

Additionally, a false negative result on a health test may cause a person to avoid seeking the medical treatment they need.

A person can consider discussing the results of their DNA test with a doctor if they would like help with understanding their results.

Professional DNA testing

Professional genetic tests are different from at-home DNA tests. A doctor will order a clinical DNA test to analyze samples for specific conditions, such as breast cancer. A person’s health insurance may cover the cost of genetic testing if a doctor recommends it.

An at-home DNA test cannot prove whether a person will develop a particular disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) do not recommend a person use DNA tests to make decisions about their medical care.

A doctor can order different types of genetic tests depending on the condition they wish to examine. These include:

  • single-gene testing
  • panel testing
  • large-scale genetic or genomic testing

A person can work with a doctor or a genetics professional to understand the benefits and risks of the genetic tests they need. This is not always possible with an at-home DNA test.


At-home DNA testing is a convenient and quick way for a person to get insights into their genetics. A person can buy an at-home DNA test to find out more about their family history or see if they carry traits that could make them more likely to develop certain health conditions.

A person may find their results upsetting or surprising. Talking with a doctor or genetic counselor can help people understand their results and put any genetic risks into perspective.