Genetic Genealogy DTC DNA-Tests overview 2024

Update May 2024

Find relatives (autosomal & X-DNA)

Statistically, every individual inherits at least one DNA segment from each of their great-great-grandparents (4th generation, 16 ancestors). Beginning with the 5th generation the genetic ancestors diminish: 8th generation 220/256 ancestors, 16th generation 1018/65536 ancestors (Source Bob Jenkins, see also Anzahl genetische Vorfahren…).

This means that it is usually possible to find all 2nd cousins through widespread autosomal DNA testing. Additionally, most 3rd to 4th cousins, some 5th to 6th cousins, and in exceptional cases even more distant relatives can be found (See Shared cM Project).

If your goal is to find relatives with Tyrolean/Alpine ancestry by entering the largest autosomal/X-DNA databases for matching, consider taking a direct-to-consumer (DTC) SNP chip test with:

According to ISOGG Autosomal DNA testing comparison chart the number of at/X SNPs tested do not differ much: Ancestry 637k, 23andMe 630k, FTDNA 612k, MyHeritage 575k. Higher numbers of SNPs and their overlapping with the other companies facilitate comparison and matching accuracy. In the latest chip versions MyHeritage, FTDNA and 23andMe are mostly overlapping, Ancestry not so optimal. Also consider the number of SNPs shared with the mainly used Admixture calculators for better accuracy, where AncestryDNA leads, the others are not so optimal, particularly 23andMe. Experts might consider doing also a WGS test which delivers the best accuracy for advanced analysis.

As soon as you have results, download raw-data and for additional matches consider uploading to:
FamilyTreeDNA (start free), MyHeritage DNA Upload for Free, GEDmatch (basic free). Possibly interesting to upload: BorlandGenetics, Geneanet (not anymore available is DNA.Land).

Patrilineal Y-DNA (matching for males)

Patrilineal Y-DNA testing is a powerful tool for exploring paternal lineages. If no known male cousin of the same surname/clan has tested yet at FamilyTreeDNA with the largest DTC Y-STR database, consider ordering the Y-37 STR-Marker test ($119) to see if you have matches. You can join Projects and order upgrades. BigY 700 ($449) is their most comprehensive Y-Test.
Experts might consider the alternative YSEQ STR Alpha-Beta 37 Marker Panel ($89) and doing a WGS. A BigY or WGS trough accurate Y-pedigrees allows to reconstruct paternal line relationships. Given enough matches exist a Y-Tree accuracy up to 80 years is possible and migration hypotheses for various ages (Medieval, Antiquity, Iron Age, Bronze Age and beyond) can be made.

Modern advanced Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS)

Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) is an advanced lab technology that provides the most comprehensive data for Y-, mt-, and autosomal/X-DNA. If you have an expert to support you, a WGS 15x, 30x, or better is the future of genetic genealogy. Unfortunately, no company with a big matching database of Y/mt/at/X-DNA provides an interesting WGS test. So, it is suggest to go with those providing the WGS raw data and the desired analysis reports (ancestry/haplogroups). Also consider delivery time is often huge (many months and more, see comments below). DTC comparison table.

YSEQ is suggested as they provide the Y, mt and autosomal/X files needed for Genetic Genealogy. They offer WGS+ (30x) $399.00 and WGS++ (50x) $699.
The following DTC-Providers while sometimes offering cheap sales do not focus on genetic genealogy reports:
Dante Labs WGS 30x (€499, with sales 299 and lower) seems to not offer tests in all Western Countries anymore
Nebula Genomics WGS 30x $249 + Nebula Membership $12.49/month Subscription WGS 30x $429
Nucleus Genomics (only USA) WGS 30x $399 + $39 annual membership

Y-Upload/Services for BigY and WGS: YFull ($45 incl. mt), ydna-warehouse (free), mitoYDNA;
mt-Upload/Services: YFull ($23), mitoYDNA;
Autosomal/X-Services: various conversion tools like useGalaxy, WGSExtract (Manual), Stast, samtools/Linux or services like YSEQ FASTQ Mapping $25; Admixture: Eurogenes G25, Vahaduo, Admixture Studio, Calcs and Tools. Links: ISOGG Raw DNA data tools & Autosomal DNA tools, Genetic Analysis Tools; DNA Test Interpretation; suggested upload to services listed above under “find relatives”.

Hair and other Human Specimens and Remains

Human hair testing without the hair follicle and only from the hair shaft is near impossible because the outer hair is built by Keratin and contains no nuclear DNA (only mtDNA). So, the hair root needs to be present, and the test is still complex and mostly only forensic labs have experience with it (laboratoryinfo 2021). For 6 or more strands with the intact hair follicles (roots) a Hair DNA Test in USA is available for $650 with an extraction success rate of ca. 85%. The same US-company offers also testing for other DNA Specimens like from Blood Stains, Envelope Flaps, Ear Swap, Teeth, Fingernails, Mucus, etc. for the same cost.

Blood Cards: Family Tree DNA 2021 accepted them with a $250 fee for each DNA extraction with no success guarantee.

Bone or Teeth: Offers to cut and crush the specimens to powder for DNA extraction are available but usually make quotes on a case by case basis (sorensonforensics) or forensic use cases (bodetech).

WGS Insights

Randy Harr in Personal WGS: Dante Labs, Nebula,, YSEQ, etc (Facebook Group) 29 May 2024

There have been lots of complaints of delayed results from all vendors in the last 6-9 months. We saw something similar during Covid19 because the resources were being redirected to Covid19 testing. But what is the cause now? Oddly, the only thing I can point to is the introduction and availability of new equipment. It may be the maturing of the industry as well — coming to a realization that offering sub-$500 WGS is not economically feasible yet without some other revenue source. Not clear. But lets go back to the new equipment.
Late summer 2023 saw two major changes. Illumina patents expired (from the old Solexa days) that allowed MGI sequencers to be sold in the USA. Second, MGI and Illumina started shipping new models. Although the chemistry is the same, the new models are mainly geared at increased productivity and thus lower cost per sample (in higher volume labs).
Dante Labs and Gene by Gene (FamilyTreeDNA/Houston,TX) announced delivery of Novaseq X machines (the upgade in volume of processing to the Novaseq 6000 standard that had been in use the last 6+ years. We do not believe we have seen any samples from any of these Novaseq X machines yet. But possibly there is no change in signature and flowcell ID that is embedded in the FASTQ reads to indicate that.
Dante and YSEQ seemed to be outsourcing again to labs that had the 10x higher volume DNB T7v2/T10v2 machines. Both to deal with backlog and maybe while they reconfigured their own lab. YSEQ stats they still have their own machine inhouse (which they used for their WGS400x product for the short life it had). But results are still coming from the T7 lab outside Germany and in batches. Dante results continue to trickle out very slowly. And as far as we have seen, still on T7 machines as well.
Nebula Genomics (ProPhase) keeps talking about their own lab instead of sending to BGI in China. Except for their constant twiddling with their bioinformatics pipeline, there is no indication they have their own lab in the USA as of yet. Rumor was they were acquiring an MGI machine.
Meanwhile Kian Sadeghi popped up in Spring with his new venture MyNucleus which is offering a similar product in price and substance as others here. $399 fixed price WGS with $39/yr subscription for reports. MyNucleus claims a link to Illimuna (like Dante Labs since the early days) and use of a Novaseq X machine in USA. It is not clear if they are using Illumina’s San Diego lab center or someone else.
Sequencing dot com has been planning a USA lab for awhile. They had previously been using the Nebula Genomics pipeline through BGI in China. They did open a California lab for what they called their express product — so local, USA Illumina sequencing — but well above $1,000 for the service. There has been indication they are now using GenebyGene Ltd / FamilyTreeDNA in Houston as kits come from and return to that lab since Winter. (If you recall, Dante started using them in USA in August 2023. Then, without notice even till today, have stopped that relationship and now USA return labels constantly change and samples eventually, hopefully make their way back to Italy.)
So is it simply coincidence that all these vendors are screwing with their lab pipelines at the same time and running into issues? Even FamilyTreeDNA’s BigY has been much slower on delivery. (Waiting to test recently returned BigY results to see if the sequencer changed.) When will this all settle down again?

About Chris Rоttensteiner

Chris Rоttensteiner. Population Genetics: Phylo-Genetics & Haplogroups, Population Admixture & History, Family and Genetic Genealogy, South Tyrol, Alps, Central Europe.