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Pros / DNA Tribes prepared the results report within two weeks.

Cons / The sample collection kit seemed questionable, and the results were dense and too small for easy viewing.

 Verdict / DNA Tribes generally feels outdated and isn’t as accessible as other tests.

DNA Tribes has performed genetic ancestry tests since 2006, and we suspect many of the methods haven’t changed since then. The test seems outdated, left behind by other ancestry DNA tests with interactive websites, family matching services and user-friendly interfaces. DNA Tribes does have a website, where you order your test and download your results, but there’s no way to interact with your own information or results online beyond viewing the PDF.

This ancestry testing company didn’t make a great first impression. Our testers received over a dozen sample collection kits from various companies, and the small pamphlet from DNA Tribes was by far the least impressive. It contained two cheek swabs and a paper envelope, in which you place your collected cheek swab samples. This raised immediate concerns about the potential for sample contamination, even as the instructions indicated to tape the envelope closed instead of licking it. Compared to streamlined sample collection kits from 23andMe or Geno 2.0, the DNA Tribes kit was unimpressive and suspect. Registration was also unique, as you setup your login info when you purchase the kit and can’t change it afterwards, which isn’t ideal, especially if you’re buying the kit as a gift.

Still, DNA Tribes was the first ancestry service to return results, though it never sent an email notification so we had to log in to check. The report is available as a PDF download. While not as bare-bones as the printout report from 24Genetics, the fact that you receive your results in a document instead of online has the same limitations: you can’t interact with your genetic information as well, maps don’t zoom in, you can’t use your test to find family members or help fill out your family tree and it’s more difficult to share and compare your results with others.

The actual content of the report is dense and fairly detailed. The report comes in four parts: an autosomal STR profile, Native Population match, Global Population Match and World Region match. The latter is comparable to regional ancestry reports from other services. It matches your DNA to its 32 world regions, though it doesn’t break your DNA down into percentages. The native and global population matches give your top 20 matches in each category out of 964 and 1,255 populations, respectively. I found these results less helpful, as several populations on my list had the same name, and my results for both reports were identical. These reports were also difficult to read because the type is so small. The entire experience from start to finish was lackluster, especially considering that DNA Tribes costs more than better-ranking tests like AncestryDNA and 23andMe.

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