MyHeritage DNA offers similar features to the best DNA ancestry tests, including an ethnicity estimate paired with a map and family matching. It’s also about $20 less expensive than our top picks. It’s a fine test, but for those interested in learning more about their genetic heritage, we recommend MyHeritage DNA as second step instead of a starting point. If you’ve already taken a DNA test with 23andMe, AncestryDNA, Living DNA or FamilyTreeDNA, you can upload your raw DNA data file from that service into MyHeritage’s 1.75-million-user DNA database and receive your ancestry results for free.
MyHeritage DNA uses a cheek swab sample, which generally takes less time to collect than a saliva sample, though it can irritate the inside of your mouth. Two swabs come in the kit, which you roll against the inside of your cheeks to collect cheek cells. Each swab has its own little plastic container where you place it when you’re finished.
I received a notification three days after mailing that my sample had been received. Six days after that, I received an email to let me know my sample was being processed, which also explained a bit about how that works. Six days later, or after 16 days total, I received my results. This was one of the fastest turnaround times for any of the services we reviewed.
Like Ancestry, MyHeritage was originally a genealogy service that expanded to include DNA testing. Logging in, the website asks you to fill in information about your family tree. Its DNA offerings are a bit on the sparse side when compared to the best products. Though it does have an Ethnicity Estimate, which allocates certain percentages of your DNA to geographic locations, it’s results aren’t as good as others we tested. When reading through my results, I was surprised to find that MyHeritage has large areas of the world that aren’t supported by its ethnicity estimate. My ancestry results were fairly consistent across the nine DNA tests I took, but my MyHeritage results were different. Most companies pegged my DNA as predominantly Korean, with some Japanese, Chinese and Southeast Asian. However, MyHeritage split my genetic makeup between Japanese, Chinese and Vietnamese, and Mongolian. While some differences between different tests’ results are normal, I was confused by the complete lack of reported Korean ancestry until I looked more closely at the map. MyHeritage’s 42 supported world regions omits the Korean peninsula, along with other large swaths of the map including most of Russia, Australia and the southern portions of South America and Africa. The company doesn’t even combine these large areas into a more general label, like other services do. If your ancestry indicates any of these forgotten areas, MyHeritage assigns you to the next closest region.
MyHeritage DNA is a great place to upload your raw DNA after taking another ancestry test to gain more insight into your heritage and look for family matches in the database. Its DNA services aren’t as in-depth or detailed as reports from 23andMe or AncestryDNA, but it does offer similar ethnicity estimates and family matching services for a lower price.