Pros / Living DNA gives you an ancestry percentage breakdown for 80 world regions, including 21 regions within Britain and Ireland.
Cons / It has a smaller sample database than our top recommended products.
Verdict / LivingDNA offers a nicely detailed ancestry DNA report with interesting graphic representations of your genetic makeup.
Compared to many similarly-priced DNA ancestry tests, LivingDNA’s ancestry reports are more visually interesting. When you log in to access your results, the first thing you see is the silhouette of a person filled with multicolored dots. Each color represents a geographic location. You can view the same style of graphic in several different configurations, from cautious to speculative certainty and on a global or regional level. The same information is used on your more standard ancestry map, which matches percentages of your DNA to certain geographic locations. You can also alter the viewing certainty and scope on the map. LivingDNA goes a step further and shows your DNA breakdown in a circle chart as well - the same geographic regions are represented by the same colors throughout the three graphic styles.
One of Living DNA’s biggest selling points is its specificity. The service breaks up the world into 80 regions, which is more than most other services. 21 of those regions are in Britain and Ireland alone, which is great news if you have ancestors from that area of the world. I have absolutely no British or Irish heritage, but I thought my results contained a satisfactory amount of depth and detail.
Your Living DNA ancestry report also gives you a timeline, which shows the spread of your ancestors 1,000 to 80,000 years ago and gives you basic historical context for what was going on in the world at that time. It’s a neat feature, but not as specific as AncestryDNA’s migrations and recent history for more contemporary insights.
Like 23andMe and National Geographic’s Geno 2.0 tests, Living DNA examines mitochondrial and Y-DNA as well as autosomal DNA. While autosomal DNA is a mix of your parents’ genetic material, mitochondrial and Y-DNA are passed to you directly from your mother and father, respectively, making it possible to trace your direct maternal or paternal line back thousands of years. Living DNA explores your haplogroups by comparing where people in the same haplogroup are most commonly located today, following a migration map of where your maternal ancestors came from or viewing a phylogenetic tree.
Living DNA’s family matching service, Family Networks, is currently in beta, so it isn’t the best choice for making family connections, but you can download your raw DNA data to upload to other sites like MyHeritage. If you want to share your DNA results with friends and family, you can also order a personalized coffee table book for $69.