Wondering whether to go with an Ancestry.com or 23 and me kit? I recently picked up an AncestryDNA kit to find out how well the data matched up to the 23andMe test that I did a few years ago.
Quick answer: It matched up better than I expected.
First, a couple of caveats:
I'm not a genealogy expert and was not comparing the two tests as far as the accuracy of determining my ancestry. I'm also not a statistician, so the mathematical comparisons of the raw data files are just the basics.
Taking the test:
Both companies are fairly similar in the simplicity of getting the testing done. You order the kit — either through the company websites or other online vendors— and it comes in the mail. The box contains a vial to spit into, instructions on how to register the kit, and a small pre-paid shipping box to mail the vial back to the company.
Both 23andMe and Ancestry.com advertise that it takes 4 - 6 weeks to get the test results back after they receive your vial of spit. It was faster than advertised (about 2 weeks for AncestryDNA) when I did the tests, but I think the times can vary depending on how busy the lab is when you send in your test.
The privacy policies:
Once you have taken the test, you also have the option of answering research survey questions on 23andMe and on Ancestry.com. Be sure that you understand that you are giving your survey information to the companies to use for their own purposes.
Downloading the raw data:
Both companies allow you to download and keep your raw data file. I highly recommend that you do so as soon as you get the results. The information is yours, and you should keep it safe.
Here are directions on how to download the raw data:
Download your genetic data from 23andMe.com
Download your genetic data from AncestryDNA
Both companies also have a clearly stated way to delete your data from their records if you choose to close your account with them. Here are the directions: Deleting your 23andMe account; for AncestryDNA, there is a button to delete data right under the download link on your settings page.
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