Living DNA review
A comprehensive DNA test from one of the most affordable kits on the market — but results can take up to 10 weeks.
Bottom line: Living DNA offers ancestry and wellness kits to help you learn more about your family and yourself. While its results could have a longer wait time of up to 10 weeks, it stands out as one of the most accessible and detailed testers on the market.
Living DNA is one of the world’s largest genomic testing services and offers in-depth, accessible and competitively priced DNA test kits. Living DNA could be a fit if you’d like to learn more about yourself and your background in three specific areas. But it can take a long time to get results that might lack direct genetic matches.
What is Living DNA
Living DNA has offered DNA testing since 2002. It began offering three different DNA testing kits, each with varying features. In 2019, Living DNA introduced its DNA Starter Kit — an at-home DNA testing kit that costs $59 — setting a new standard for inexpensive at-home DNA tests.
Living DNA boasts testing that digs deep into your ancestry to include your family ancestry, your maternal line and your paternal line with results that are detailed and comprehensive.
How does Living DNA work?
Simply order a kit online via Living DNA’s website and follow the instructions. You’ll typically have to provide a DNA sample from a swab that you use to swipe the inside of your cheek.
Ship the sample back to Living DNA’s lab and you’ll receive your results within eight to 10 weeks.
How much does Living DNA cost?
Living DNA offers four different kits, each at a different price point.
- Starter kit — $59: Living DNA’s basic testing kit comes with ancestry and trait analyses.
- Full Ancestry kit — $89: This upgraded ancestry kit cross-matches your DNA with a wider range of regions. As a result, you can enjoy more comprehensive results and special DNA matching tools to identify distant relatives.
- Wellbeing kit — $99: A kit that taps on your genetic traits to help you learn more about your health, wellness and medical predispositions.
- Wellbeing + Ancestry kit — $119: An all-in-one kit that combines the benefits of ancestry tracing and a health analysis.
Note that taxes, shipping costs and transaction fees may also apply, depending on your selected service.
What features come with a Living DNA kit?
Living DNA offers a large variety of DNA testing features, including:
- In-depth ancestry profiling.Living DNA identifies your ethnic composition and regional origin by comparing the markers in your DNA with that of their genetic database. It compares 21 subregions in the United Kingdom to better identify geographic origin — with more areas continually being added — whereas Ancestry.com looks at 13 subregions. You can also trace specific paternal and maternal family lines using Y-DNA and MtDNA tests.
- Dietary profiling. With Living DNA’s Wellbeing kit, you can find out how your DNA affects your nutrition and health. They examine 10 traits related to health and wellness, such as your ability to recover from an injury or metabolism speed. If you suspect that you have gluten or lactose intolerance, a Living DNA kit could sniff that out for you.
- Intuitive results. Information is presented through an intuitive dashboard, with attractive visuals like pie charts and clean analytics.
- Find distant relatives. Once you’ve determined your genetic makeup, you can use Living DNA’s matching tool and opt into their Family Networks feature to connect with global users and find out how much DNA you share.
- External DNA upload. For those who’ve already used an external DNA service such as MyHeritage or Ancestry.com, Living DNA allows you to upload your existing test results to get a more complete genetic profile.
- Optional ancestry book. Living DNA creates a coffee table book that traces your family history.
Pros and cons
Weigh out the good, the bad and the ugly to decide if Living DNA can provide the best DNA testing kit for you.
- Wider search. Compares the most specific subregions as possible places of origin.
- Detailed results. You’ll get results on your family ancestry, your motherline and your fatherline in interative visual panels that break down your ancestry.
- Add-ons to help build a complete genetic portfolio. Third-party partnerships provide records and allow users to create family trees for connecting with other users
- Long wait times. Some users have reported test results can take up to 10 weeks to arrive. But some have seen a six- to eight-week turnaround.
- Shallow gene pools. Users outside of Europe may experience lower accuracy in results due to a smaller pool of gene data.
- Missing matches. Some users report low or no match results in comparison to other services.