AncestryDNA VS 23andme Comparison Review: Best DNA Test 2020

When I decided to look into DNA testing, I found several services that were under $100. Two in particular, AncestryDNA and 23andme, seemed to be the most popular.  I already had a tree at Ancestry, which made their service attractive, but I had heard 23andme provides more information than the AncestryDNA test. Eventually, I ended up testing with both. Mostly because I couldn’t find any information on which was the best DNA test. Now having tried AncestryDNA and 23andme’s test, I thought it might be helpful to share an in-depth AncestryDNA vs 23andme review and comparison.

Note that both companies make updates to better their service fairly often.  I do my best to keep this page updated as both 23andme and AncestryDNA also give users who have previously tested those updates.

AncestryDNA vs 23andme comparison chart

First, the basics, AncestryDNA vs 23andme testing cost and offerings:

AncestryDNA cost: $99 includes ethnic mix profile, DNA matches, DNA circles, genetic communities, and raw DNA.

The AncestryDNA test is actually cheaper via Amazon Prime due to free shipping, but if you order direct from AncestryDNA you can get 15% off with this referral link. With both options it’s worth checking out Ebates. They are a cash-back shopping site that pays quarterly via PayPal. AncestryDNA is usually at around 7.5% cash back, and Amazon is about 3%.

23andme cost: $99 includes ethnic mix profile, ancestry timeline, maternal/paternal line origin (paternal for males only, requires Y chromosome), Neanderthal percentage, top surnames, DNA matches, and raw DNA.

Note: 23andme offers two service levels. If you wish to include medical risk profiles, the test cost increases to $199. Recently 23andme also became available on Amazon Prime for $99 with free shipping or $199 with free shipping I have also published an in-depth comparison of the two testing options here.

So, cost wise, AncestryDNA vs 23andme are the same.

Now, in-depth the best DNA test AncestryDNA vs 23andme:

Ethnic Mix profile:

Both AncestryDNA and 23andme offer this. Basically, your genes are compared to samples from specific populations of people, and you’re given a percentage-match for each. In April 2018, 23andme added 151 new counties to their profiles providing more precise country-based estimates. The 23andme report for comparison to AncestryDNA below is updated to this newer version. In order to be fair, I also updated my AncestryDNA results. They are the same statistically, though a redesign occurred since this review was originally written. Their reports are a bit more interactive and “pretty” than before.

23andme vs ancestrydna comparison review best DNA test
AncestryDNA vs 23andme

As you can see, in ways my reports are the same. Both profiles find a very small percentage of West African (Mali) and Native American, with the vast majority being European. AncestryDNA claimed a large percentage was “Europe West” and “Great Britain.” While 23andme seemed to favored “British and Irish” and “French/German,” but also found a bit of “Scandinavian” and “Ashkenazi Jewish.” France and Germany happen to be in western Europe so really my reports are pretty close.

Since the update, 23andme’s report is far more detailed. For instance, while AncestryDNA had a similar percentage of British/Irish for me, 23andme shows that DNA most likely originating in the UK, rather than Ireland. I did include the entire report here, including regions I have no DNA in, so that you could see all the categories. This report is sort of a compressed Frankenstein made in paint from screen shots to reduce white space in an attempt to fit it better on this page (sorry mobile users). Your result will be more in a scroll-able page format. This image (and all those on this page actually) can be clicked to visit a full size attachment page if you have trouble with the small print.

ancestrydna vs 23andme best DNA 2018
The dots represent the percentage match you have for people who originate from that particular country. While 23andme’s list is far larger, AncestryDNA has actually been doing this for years to some degree. If you click each category in your report, a bar will show up (as seen below) that gives a range. This is your percentage match with people from that region. For comparison, in the UK, 23andme had me at 5 circles (it does not specify what each circle represents percentage wise) and AncestryDNA said 6 to 61 percent.ancestrydna vs 23andme comparison review

The interactive portion of AnctestryDNA’s site update did also enhance it’s family tree research ability. By picking a time frame (bar at bottom of picture), you can view more detail on each time period, including actual people in your tree (if you have one). This feature would be less neat without a tree, and while you can build one for free if you have your own information, searching and viewing sources on Ancestry does require a subscription. You are offered 50% off of that subscription with test purchase.

ancestrydna vs 23andme review comparison

In reality, from what is known of my family lines I have a great deal of Norwegian, French, British, and Scottish, so both AncestryDNA and 23andme’s reports seem plausible. This brings me to an important point.

Ethnicity estimates from DNA testing like this are genetic heritage, not genealogical. You could think of your genes like one big historical bag of traits including genes from all of your ancestors. The actual genes that make you up are just a random roll of the dice from those genes. So, while the last three generations of your line may be, say, straight from Norway, your genes could represent family from thousands of years ago.

That being said, then why did AncestryDNA and 23andme get different results? It’s mostly in how they are weighing their sample sources. Personally, I felt both profiles useful, particularly combined. Europe is such a jumble of genes it’s hard to say what came from what population. That’s where “broadly” European comes into play. To me this says my genes are heavily European, likely northwestern—Scotland, Norway, Britain, and France—my actual known heritage— included.

AncestryDNA and 23andme do differ in that at 23andme if you have a parent test, they will update your genetic report by incorporating your parent’s results. You can read more on this process here. After this review was written my mother tested at 23andme, and my percentages did change. You can see a comparison of those two reports down below under, “AncestryDNA vs 23andme accuracy”. You’re also given a report showing your parent’s ancestry reports. If only one parent tests, the missing parent’s ancestry is filled in as a guess using your DNA and your tested parent’s. This is possible because you get 50% of your DNA from each parent.

ancestrydna vs 23andme review best dna test 2018

23andme Ancestry timeline:

Early in 2017, 23andme also added in a new ancestry timeline to ancestry composition results. This is a timeline guessing at the time frame that certain genes entered your ancestry. You can hover over each bar to get more detailed information, such as which ancestor the genes may have come from (ex/ great grandparent).

ancestry timeline 23andme

AncestryDNA Genetic communities

Possibly in reaction to 23andme, AncestryDNA also revealed a new feature in 2017 called genetic communities. By comparing your DNA to your matches and their family origin locations a map is built guessing at areas your family may have actually lived. You can see a screenshot of my results below. You get a short history of the region, the probability of this match being accurate for you, matches that were used to determine the region, and common surnames in the region. This same info is used in the interactive map I shared above.

ancestry DNA genetic communities

Overall, in regards to ethnicity reports alone when comparing AncestryDNA vs 23andme, I’d say AncestryDNA is the best DNA test for tracking genealogical heritage, and 23andme is the best DNA test on the genetic information end as they do indeed offer much more genetic goodies.

Those extra 23andme genetic goodies include…

Maternal/Paternal line:

I’m not a scientist, so I’ll just use their description of this service,

“…haplogroups are families of mitochondrial DNA types that all trace back to a single mutation at a specific place and time. By looking at the geographic distribution of mtDNA types, we learn how our ancient female ancestors migrated throughout the world.” My results (to give you a sample)

23andme maternal line

As a female, I only got my maternal line. The paternal haplogroup is from a Y chromosome. As a result, to get this info my father or brother would have to test. To clarify here as there have been numerous comments now asking about this, 23andme and ancestryDNA are both autosomal DNA tests. This means that no matter your gender, you will get results from both your maternal and paternal lines in regards to ancestry.

In late 2017, 23andme expanded their haplogroup information to include a much better explanation of what haplogroups are as well as the ability to trace your line back throughout time. You get a brief look at where and when each mutation in the group occurred, how common your group is, and famous relatives that also shared your haplogroup. I got Marie Antoinette!

Neanderthal percentage:

This is what it sounds, a percentage measure of your DNA inherited from Neanderthal genetics as well as traits likely to result of the variants you have in particular. For instance, I have a variant more likely to result in straight hair (though my hair is not straight).

I do question the accuracy here. I tested with AncestryDNA first, and curious about this part I ran my DNA though a calculator designed by an expert in Neanderthal DNA at Standford (you can do it too here, it’s free) It counts known Neanderthal alleles and lists them. I had 16, the average is 5-6. My husband also tested at 23andme. According to them, he is more Neanderthal than I am, but according to the Interpretome calculator it’s significantly the other way around (he had 11, pics below). I suppose what this will confirm is that you have some at all (most people do.)

23andme interpretome

Top surnames:

You’ll find this on your DNA relatives tab. It combs through your DNA matches and compiles a count of surnames associated with those matches. My matches, for example, told me I had 44 matches with the surname “Smith” and 33 with “Johnson.” This is a fast way to identify likely family lines.

Lark Digital Health Couch App:

In 2019 23andme collaborated with Lark to create a fitness app that integrates your genetics after you link your 23andme account. I can’t review this service, as I didn’t choose to subscribe, but will include the basics here as it is technically a “perk” of choosing 23andme over AncestryDNA. The app offers two paid programs. The Wellness program, which focuses on sleep, exercise, diet, and weight and runs $19.99 a month, and the Diabetes prevention program, which clearly aims to reduce your risk of diabetes and comes with a scale and fitbit (unless you self-pay). This program may be covered by your insurance.

The free version of the app only allows you to track activity and sleep, and only from your phone– you must manually enter any wearable device info such as Fitbit unless it will sync with the default activity tracker on your phone. Personally, given the cost and the lack of compatibility with wearable devices, I didn’t find this service worth paying for, but if your insurance covers it, it may be useful. As a side note, if you are interested in improving your health via DNA information, DNAFit can be used with AncestryDNA or 23andme results.

AncestryDNA vs 23andme DNA matches and database size:

Back to a service both tests offer. Both show you DNA matches and estimate closeness. Here were my match stats when I first tested:

AncestryDNA: 2 second cousins, 2 third cousins, 93 fourth cousins, 5,003 distant cousins!
23andme: 10 2/3rd, 852 fourth, 62 distant

Results there will obviously vary, but I’d wager AncestryDNA has a larger pool of matches from those results. In 2020, I’d win that wager with AncestryDNA’s FAQ listing their database size as 10 million, and 23andme stating half that at 5 million.

The real difference is in ease of genealogical use though. Why I’d say Ancestry is the best DNA test if you’re looking to confirm or create your family tree is that they filter your matches by name matches in your tree. No effort. You click the leaf filter, click a match with a leaf. It shows common names in your trees so you can see just where you relate. Now the catch, some trees are private, and out of over 5,000 matches, I had 14 DNA/common tree member matches. These helped me tremendously, but it is disappointing the percentage was so small. Even without a common member, many matches’ trees were a click away to search for common surnames.

AncestryDNA match screen:

best DNA test for family finding
I did attempt to make a tree over at 23andme, but they outsource that to “MyHeritage tree.” A family tree service that is in my opinion a bit clunky—and worse expensive—more so than ancestry’s tree builder even. I also could not and still do not see an easy way to compare matches to trees at MyHeritage. In fact, I don’t even see an indication of whether a match has a tree. To find out, you have to contact every single match to ask. Something I could see wasting a great deal of time making AncestryDNA a clear winner as far as family tree research in an AncestryDNA vs 23andme comparison.

Sample of 23andme match screen (updated):

23andme DNA test match screen

Finally, raw DNA download.

This is a just a copy of your raw DNA results. Both AncestryDNA and 23andme offer this. You can do some other cool things with it, such as the Neanderthal test I linked back there.

My favorite though is Promethease. This report costs $12, and cross-checks your genes against studies done on individual variations. For example, it found I have a gene that makes me sneeze at sun light, and another that makes cilantro taste like soap. It also reveals more serious info, like increased genetic risk for medical conditions. It is well worth the $12, and shows more than 23andme’s expensive health reports upgrade. If you’re interested in weight loss and exercise, Athletigen is fun too, though not all their reports are free.

Additionally, raw dna can be loaded to GEDcom and FTDNA for more genealogical matches. FTDNA also has an ethnicity report, though it lacks detail.
FTDNA

Best DNA test AncestryDNA vs 23andme: Accuracy:

Both companies are clear in their FAQ that ethnicity reports are estimates. Accuracy, then, will obviously vary, because well, that’s the nature of an estimate.

In April 2018, for one day only, 23andme allowed AncestryDNA customers to upload their raw DNA for ancestry composition reports. I made a new account and uploaded my raw AncestryDNA data. By doing so, I was able to direct compare AncestryDNA vs 23andme data results using AncestryDNA data at 23andme. The results were indeed not the same. However, it occurred to me that my mother testing changed my 23andme results. So I dug into my media archive for my results from before my mother tested (that’s why they look different), and still, the results are different.

I ended up with four different DNA ancestry composition results: 23and me after my mother tested, 23andme before my mother tested, 23andme using AncestryDNA data, and AncestryDNA itself.

ancestrydna vs 23andme accuracy

What does this tell us? The differences in your test results from 23andme to AncestryDNA are not just in how they weigh their sample sources. The data pulled from your DNA at each service does actually differ slightly as well. What is largely the same on all four is which regions DNA showed up in at all. The percentages vary, but only two regions aren’t in all four reports. These include “Ashkenazi Jewish” (it was in 2/4), and “Broadly South Asian/Caucasus” (it was in 2/4 also). Both of these regions are less than 1 percent in those reports they show in.

Accuracy wise then, it’s probably safe to conclude that these tests will tell you which regions your DNA came from, but the percentages of each may not be perfect. A couple of media outlets have tested identical siblings (who should have had identical results), and their findings were similar. The regions matched up, but the percentages didn’t.

The final call: Best DNA test AncestryDNA vs 23andme

Testing with both obviously offers the best of both worlds. Assuming you have to chose one though, I’d say it depends on your reason for wanting a DNA test. If it’s to find family or expand your family tree via genealogy, I’d vote AncestryDNA. If you want genetic heritage info, 23andme offers more.

Also note, as far as AncestryDNA vs 23andme processing time, both tests were about the same, roughly a month. However, wait times depend on how busy the labs are. So, in times where test sales tend to be higher, such as after sales, wait times tend to be longer. To my understanding the month I saw was about standard, but some people see double that.

Still undecided? Drop me a comment with your questions.  I’ll do my best to help, or you can dive even deeper with our in-depth review of AncestryDNA and in-depth 23andme reviews.

 

DNAfit Review: A DNA Test for Weight Loss?

Sometime after writing a 23andme vs AncestryDNA review, DNAfit reached out to me and asked if I’d also like to write a DNAfit review. Being a mom of four who still has a wee bit of postpartum fluff as I like to call it a whooping three years later, the idea of a DNA test that focuses on helping folks tailor their diet and exercise regimes around their DNA definitely seemed interesting. I’d already had some luck with weight loss after finding out I was likely to respond better to HIIT exercise via my Promethease health report. So, I said yes.

I want to disclose upfront that DNAfit’s invitation did include a free report using my results from 23andme.  I was not paid for this review, but I didn’t pay for the product either. That out of the way, let’s get started…

What is DNAfit?

A mentioned above, DNA fit offers DNA testing to determine genetic factors that may contribute to your success while dieting or exercising. Testing is via Helix labs, though you can also use AncestryDNA or 23andme raw DNA to receive reports at a slightly lower price.

They offer two tests, the DNAfit Diet Pro and DNAfit Diet Fitness Pro 360. Below you’ll find a comparison table of the two, but basically the biggest difference is that with the Diet Pro report you only get diet/food related information, while with the Diet Fitness 360 you also get information on exercise/fitness. You can also use my referral link to receive a 20 percent discount should you chose to try DNAfit. The prices in the comparison below don’t factor in this discount.

dntafit review

Nutrition Reports:

These are included in both products. There are 11 in total.  All of the reports mentioned here have the same layout. You’ll see a brief explanation of the report itself (what it tested, etc.), a section explaining what the report can and can’t tell you, your result, how that result was calculated, and any recommendations made based on that result. I won’t post screenshots of every result I received, because that would make for an excessively long DNAfit review. Instead I’ll just include shots of one report along with the summary provided.

-Carbohydrate Sensitivity

Ranging from “very low” to “very high,” this report shows how well your body processes carbohydrates. This can factor into how likely you are to gain weight or develop insulin resistance from high carb intake.

Here’s a screenshot of the area that shows you what the report can and can’t tell you. Each area is a simple pull down.

dnafit review

Here’s an example of the results area where it explains your results and what they mean.

dnafit review

Followed by what was used to determine that result.

dnafit review

And finally here’s where they give a recommendation based on all of the above.

dnafit rerview

-Saturated Fat Sensitivity

Much like the carb sensitivity report, this shows you predisposition to gain weight or suffer health issues as a result of high saturated fat intake. It also offers recommendations on how much saturated fat you should consume based on your genes.

-Detoxification Ability: Risk of DNA damage from Smoked/Char-grilled Meats

This one I thought was kind of a weird report to get. It’s based on your genetic ability to process certain chemicals that are produced when meat is smoked or char-grilled. Mainly, I suppose labeling that as “detoxification ability” seemed odd to me as that’s not what most people think of when they read detox. Either way, you’ll get a result of either “normal” or “raised risk” along with a recommendation on how to prepare meat for your meals based on this.

-Antioxidant Need:

Based on your genetic ability to process free radicals, this report tells you whether or not you have a “normal” need for antioxidants or “raised” meaning you should consume more antioxidants than most.

The next three reports are about the same as the antioxidant report, but are for Omega 3; Vitamin B and Folate; and Vitamin D.

-Alcohol Sensitivity:

This tells you whether you metabolize alcohol quickly or slowly as well as the effect alcohol is likely to have on your HDL cholesterol. It also makes a recommendation on whether moderate alcohol consumption may be good for your cholesterol based on this.

-Caffeine Sensitivity:

Similar to the alcohol sensitivity report, but for caffeine, this report tells you if you metabolize caffeine fast or slow as well as if caffeine consumption is more likely to increase your risk of hypertension and heart attack.

-Salt Sensitivity:

Recommends your daily salt intake limits based on your genetic susceptibility to sodium-related hypertension.

-Celiac predisposition:

This is exactly what it sounds like, a test for a genetic predisposition to celiac disease (an immune reaction to gluten).

-Lactose Intolerance:

Another fairly self-explanatory report, this one shows whether or not you’re genetically predisposed to lactose intolerance (found in dairy products).

Fitness Reports:

The fitness reports you receive with Diet Fitness 360 include:

-Training Intensity Response: Power vs Endurance

Judges whether your genes predispose your body to respond better to high intensity exercise (HIIT, heavy lifting/short sets) or long-duration workouts such as distance running.

-Aerobic Response: VO2 Max

Determines how your genetic variants affect your ability to utilize oxygen during exercise. This is shown on a scale of “very low” to “very high” with a recommendation on how best to improve your VO2 max based on that information.

-Post Exercise Recovery: Recovery Time After Exercise

Shows how quickly you should recover after exercise based on your genetics on a scale from “very slow” to “very fast.” A recommendation is given for time between workouts you should wait (ex/ 48 hours) to let your body recover. Some nutrition recommendations are also given to reduce inflammatory and oxidative metabolic stress. Things like how much Vitamin C and Omega3 you should be consuming a day.

-Injury Predisposition: Chances of Soft-Tissue Injuries

Based on genes tied to collagen production, this report judges your chances of soft tissue injuries during exercise from “very low” to “very high.”  Recommended stretches or exercises to help prevent these types of injuries are given based on your results.

Meal Planner:

Both Diet Pro and Diet Fitness 360 offer access to this. It’s a meal planner/food diary that automatically provides meal and snack recommendations based on the diet your genetic reports implied would be best for you. It also allows for goal tracking.

Muscle Builder or Fat Burner:

These programs create workout plans based on your genetic reports. The muscle builder is for those looking to build muscle and the fat burner is for those (shocker here) looking to burn fat. With the Diet Fitness 360 program you can chose one or the other. Neither come with the Diet Pro program. They are essentially the exercise version of the meal planner.

My report also came with a few other addons which I can’t seem to find any info on whether  are included in both programs or not. My access was to the Diet Fitness 360.

Infographic and Stress Profile Downloads:

Both of these were downloads rather than loading on the DNAfit website. The infographic just neatly presents all the information that was in my reports. The stress profile appears to be another report (perhaps a beta of something they plan to offer in the future?). It shows your genetic predisposition to respond to immediate and chronic stress in different ways.

dnafit review

Amplify:

This section is not actually a report, it allows you to order custom made daily multi-vitamins based on the needs presented in your reports. The pricing here was in British pounds but came out to about $79 US. There was no indication of how many days of supplementation this provides or any real information beyond a breakdown of my “custom” blend. I didn’t order it as a result, but it’s a section at DNAfit in the report section, so I mentioned it here to offer a complete DNAfit review.

Consultation:

You book this with either a dietician (Diet Pro) or a sports scientist (Diet Fitness Pro). It can be done over the phone or by email. You can ask questions, but you’ll also get a complete explanation of your reports. I didn’t have any questions and did my consult via email. I only provided a little info about where I was now health wise, where I wanted to be, and what I was doing already. what I received was mostly regurgitated info from my reports, but there were also some helpful tips on how to transition from the diet I’m currently on to the one suggested in my reports, and a bit more personalized fitness recommendation. I think that someone with more questions might get a lot more out of this portion of the product.

DNAfit VS. 23andme:

As 23andme is one of the other well-known providers of DNA health reports, I thought it might be worth talking a bit about how the two compare. 23andme’s health reports focus much less on fitness and diet than DNAfit (which does make sense), but there are some report overlaps including the info found in the saturated fat sensitivity, training intensity report, lactose intolerance, and celiac disease reports. 23andme only has a few other diet/fitness reports that DNAfit doesn’t have including your genetic weight tendency, fructose intolerance, and several blood sugar related reports.   If your main interest is in the fitness portion of health reports and not in more genetic diseases, then DNAfit is likely going to be a better option for you.

However, there is also a third option, far less known than 23andme’s health reports—Promethease. You can read a full review here, but Promethease runs your DNA against a large SNP database, the same one that both 23andme and DNAfit use for their reports. You get a lot of data. I had over 22,000 results. Now while that report will get you all the information you’d get from both 23andme or DNAfit, you also have to dig and draw your own conclusions.

For instance, to find out if you should be eating a low carb diet, you’d have to search out all the genes flagged for that topic, read them all, and come to a conclusion. It can be far more work intensive. Promethease is $12, though you do need a RAW DNA download, so it really only becomes cheaper if you’ve already tested somewhere else.

DNAfit review final thoughts:

Honestly, while I found the information in these reports helpful, I don’t think I would pay the prices being asked for them. The Diet Fitness Pro program is $99.99. The same price as testing at AncestryDNA or 23andme’s basic DNA test (no health reports), but the focus is different. That price at those companies gets you ancestry composition and DNA matches to find family, not just health information that may or may not even apply for you. A predisposition is not the same as a diagnosis. The recommendations given may not even help you, they’re just a good place to start.

For instance, while my DNA may say I handle carbs just fine, and suggests I follow a Mediterranean diet, I’m also glucose intolerant and have been told by my health care provider to follow a low carb diet. My DNAfit consultation said I should avoid dairy, because of my results for lactose intolerance, but I have never had any issue eating dairy. I’m not suggesting DNAfit isn’t clear about this, they are, on every report they are very clear on what your result does and does not mean. I’m just saying that, for me at least, I’m not sure that information would be worth the price tag. It may or may not be for you.

I also do like that DNAfit offers the option to save a bit of cash by using existing 23andme or AncestryDNA raw DNA, but at the same time the savings there are also not as much as you’d expect given, at least by my assumption, a fair piece of the DNAfit price tag was in testing cost. You only get $10 off Diet pro or $20 of Diet Fitness 360, even with a 20 percent referral discount, you’d be looking at $48 to $64.

I would be far more likely to recommend DNAfit to others, if the price were a bit lower with existing test results.

Did you find our in-depth DNAfit review helpful? Check out our other DNA product reviews:
23andme
AncestryDNA
Promethease
GenomeLink

23andme Health Reports Alternative: Promethease Review 2019

Many who question the price-doubling effect of adding health reports to their 23andme DNA test wonder if there are any 23andme health report alternatives. The answer is yes, sort of. At Promethease you can use your raw DNA from a variety of testing services (including 23andme and AncestryDNA) to receive health reports. These reports include all the information in 23andme’s report (you can see a full review of 23andme’s service here), and more—much more. Promethease’s report includes thousands of results. My report included 22,168 reports to be exact (this is also why there will not be a list of all reports given listed here).

What exactly is Promethease’s health report?

Unlike 23andme’s health report which neatly singles out certain traits and health risks for you, Promethease runs your raw DNA report against a large SNP (single-nucleotide polymorphism) database. This database includes research from a variety of sources on individual SNP’s in regards to, well, everything from physical traits to reactions to certain medications.

I’ll do my best to highlight the various sections of Promethease’s health report below.

Once your report is ready (average prep times range from around 2 to 15 minutes), you’ll be asked if you want to download your report. This is recommended, because your report won’t be stored online forever. The downloaded zip file offers an offline version of the report reviewed below.

The Promethease health report:

23andme health reports alternative control

When your report loads you’re taken to a screen that will show your gender with a control bar to your right and an immediate list of gene variants tagged by research. There’s no navigation screen, it just starts you on a very long list of results. You are, however, given a tutorial, and some great tools to sift through this massive data pile.

At the top of the page you’ll see a search bar for simple quick searches. For example, if you wanted to see all information on your eye color, by typing “eyes,” your report would automatically update (you don’t need to hit enter) to all those results flagged “eyes.” As you can see below, the graph beside your search bar will also change. This graph shows the number of results flagged good (green), bad (red), or unspecified (grey).

You’ll also notice that the reports you receive vary in detail. In the top result for “eyes,” only a brief description is given and a “magnitude” (the level of interest other users have in this information). While the second result shows this as well as the frequency of its occurrence overall and in particular groups. Some results won’t show any information at all. They may just be variants we know exist, but haven’t figured out what do yet.

23andme health reports alternatives eyes

On the left you’re given a more detailed search filter. There are pull downs which list all possible tags for all topics, medications, conditions, diseases, magnitude matches, reference populations, and more. This section works much like the search bar as far as auto-updating and doesn’t require explanation. At the top of this search box, however, there are some more neat features that are easy to overlook. “Help” and “reset” obviously lead to a help section and reset the search form to default.

“Table” is the first that strays over to the “neat” realm. This option takes your search results (everything when set on default) and shows it in an easier-to-browse, sortable table. Clicking any header, such as “repute” will change the order of your results allowing you to easily see all reports flagged “good,” for example. The downside is items in the table can’t be expanded for further detail, so if you find something you’d like to read more about, you have to search that on your main report.

23andme health reports alternative table

“Graph” seems a little less useful. It takes all the visible reports in your search window (meaning even at default you’ll only see what you’ve loaded on the page), and builds this crazy moving graph of each result and the connected tags. What I found not-so-helpful about this is clicking a bubble simply zooms in on that area. It doesn’t open a window, nor do these bubbles really explain what each link is. For example, here you can see it shows “GS227” is associated with something to do with “taste,” but to see that report is showing that those with my variant are less prone to tasting bitter as they get older, I have to search, “GS227” on the main page.

23andme health reports alternative graph

Finally, “categories” shows the various drop-down filters in list form with bar graphs to show the number of good/bad/neutral reports. This is one section where clicking a link in the popup window will update your main page results. While it shows the same options as the pull downs on your search control does, it is a non-collapsing list making it easier to keep track of what you have and have not viewed.

23andme health reports alternative categories

Is Promethease a good 23andme health reports alternative?

The advantage of using Promethease as an alternative to 23andme health reports is that it offers more data for far less ($10 to 12 vs $100). The downside is it is a lot of data, and that data can take time to dig through.

It’s also important to note with both Promethease and 23andme health reports, having a genetic predisposition for a certain trait, condition, etc. doesn’t necessarily mean it will present itself. For instance, both reports told me I had a 78 percent change of lactose intolerance, and I’m not lactose intolerant.

I will also say that the data in my 23andme reports does match my Promethease report. I did go through and check them all. This make sense because 23andme contributes to the database Promethease uses.

23andme health report alternatives

The difference between the two is it takes more work to confirm information using Promethease as a 23andme health reports alternative. At 23andme, I can click “eye color” and it will just tell me that overall most of my gene variants say my eyes are blue or green. At Promethease, I have to read all 67 results most of which indicate a higher change of blue or green eyes.

In short, Promethease is an excellent alternative to 23andme’s health reports as it includes everything 23andme covers for far less cash, but you do have to work for it.