HomeDNA review – Paternity testing made easy?

HomeDNA Review Summary

HomeDNA is a genetic testing company that offers various DNA tests, including an at-home paternity test kit. Learn more in our HomeDNA review!

Nebula Genomics

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Summary

HomeDNA is a genetic testing company for ancestry, health, and paternity. Although the base price is reasonable, hidden lab fees exist and the ancestry results are not as detailed as competitor products.

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This review is written with the intent to be as unbiased as possible. However, it represents the opinion of an individual reviewer and is therefore subjective. Furthermore, at Nebula Genomics we seek to educate the public about the benefits of Whole Genome Sequencing. Information about our Whole Genome Sequencing DNA test is therefore incorporated into the review.

January 24, 2022

Edited by Christina Swords, Ph.D.

7 Facts from our HomeDNA Review

  1. HomeDNA Location: Ohio, USA
  2. Products: DNA genotyping-based tests for ancestry, food sensitivity, weight loss, skincare, and paternity; raw DNA data upload
  3. Availability: Online and at pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens
  4. Reports: Information on ancestral origins, DNA-based health, and nutrition recommendations; for the paternity test, it provides the probability that the tested individual is the father of a child
  5. Data download: Raw data availably only for some product versions
  6. Costs: Ancestry ($69-$199), health and beauty ($139-$159), paternity ($28.99 for kit depending on where it is purchased from, plus $139 lab fee)
  7. Alternatives: Nebula Genomics (free DNA upload; the most affordable whole genome sequencing, not a paternity test)

Introduction

HomeDNA (Home DNA) is a direct-to-consumer genetic testing company launched in 2017. It is owned by the DNA Diagnostics Center (DDC), a paternity and forensic DNA testing company with decades of experience and over 20,000 locations nationwide.

As of this posting, it has processed over 10 million DNA kits. HomeDNA offers several types of at-home DNA tests, including ancestry, paternity, health, and beauty. Read more in out HomeDNA review!

Did you know that the HomeDNA test decodes only 0.02% of your DNA? At Nebula Genomics, we offer affordable Whole Genome Sequencing! This is a complete DNA test that decodes 100% of your autosomal DNA, mitochondrial DNA, and the Y chromosome. Whole Genome Sequencing will enable you to learn more about your ancestry, family connections, and health than any other product! Click here to learn more!

Review of HomeDNA Paternity Testing

Its home paternity test kit is one of the most popular HomeDNA products and most widely recognized brands. In fact, according to its website, it’s easy to see why HomeDNA is America’s #1 paternity test brand.

HomeDNA Paternity Test – previously known as IDENTIGENE ($28.99 for kit depending on where it is purchased from, plus $139 lab fee): After buying a paternity test, customers register their kit with a secure online account. Test participants collect DNA samples from the biological mother, a child, and the potential father, using the included cheek swabs and send them to the lab in a prepaid return mailer. After the samples reach the lab, the paternity results are available in just two business days. One-day and same-day delivery can be purchased for an additional cost, giving you nearly instant results. Each saliva sample undergoes Dual Process™ testing. This means that every piece is tested twice by two separate highly accredited lab teams to guarantee accuracy. The test analyzes 15-17 different genetic regions to determine paternity. HomeDNA advertises that the probability of paternity can be identified with 99.99% accuracy but notes that, “Accuracy of DNA testing refers to the quality of the testing procedures used by the laboratory only (free from mistakes). It does not mean a guarantee of any given response on paternity results.”

These at-home paternity tests are for peace of mind purposes only. Results from this DNA testing kit cannot be used in court for purposes including child support issues.

Other Products

HomeDNA also offers several types of DNA testing services available in stores and through its website. Its affiliates provide other testing options like the GPS Origins Ancestry Test (also available with DNA data upload) and genetic testing for mixed breed pets, including one called Dog DNA Health Screen and Customized Life Plan.

Ancestry

  • Home DNA Review: Starter Ancestry Test ($69): This ancestry DNA testing kit provides you with cheek swabs and prepaid envelopes to collect and send your sample. The test analyzes 100 different DNA markers to determine what percentage of your DNA is of European, Indigenous American, African, and Asian (specifically Sub-Saharan African and East Asian) origin. You’ll also receive information about which present-day countries have reference populations genetically similar to you. This one is similar to the genetic test previously offered by National Geographic.
  • Home DNA Review: Advanced Ancestry Test ($124): This product is also a cheek swab DNA test. It analyzes ~80,000 DNA markers to determine the top three ancestral communities/gene pools that contributed to your genetic makeup. The results include the exact percentages of your DNA that originated from each of these three groups. You’ll also receive the historic migration paths of your maternal and paternal lineages. 

Health Tests and Beauty Tests

  • HomeDNA Food and Pet Sensitivity test kit ($139): This DNA health report analyzes genes that may make you more sensitive to common irritants. You’ll also get recommendations about food substitutions and lifestyle changes you can make to help you avoid triggering sensitivities. This product is not designed to diagnose allergies. 
  • HomeDNA Healthy Weight test kit ($159): With a cheek swab, you get info on genes related to body weight, nutrition, metabolism, and more. In addition to a report on genetic markers in these genes, you’ll receive personalized dietary and exercise recommendations to help you reach your ideal weight. 
  • HomeDNA Skin Care test kit ($139): This one requires mailing in a cheek swab like the other tests. Genes related to seven major skin traits are analyzed: skin elasticity, fine lines and wrinkles, sun protection, pigmentation, skin antioxidants, and skin sensitivity. For each trait, you will receive a genetic profile about the genes tested, your risk, and recommendations about reducing your risk with topical treatments, oral supplements, or professional treatments. 

Review of HomeDNA Reporting Features

The HomeDNA Starter Ancestry Test kit is the least detailed. You’ll receive a report similar to the one shown in the image below. It will provide you with the percentages of your DNA that historically come from four regions of the world (Europe, the Americas, East Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa), as well as present-day countries whose populations are genetically similar to you. 

The results of the HomeDNA Starter Ancestry Test are not very detailed. From HomeDNA review
The results of the HomeDNA Starter Ancestry Test are not very detailed

The HomeDNA Advanced Ancestry Test provides you with more detailed information. You’ll get a printout showing you the top three historical populations that contributed to your genetic makeup, as well as maps of where these three historical populations lived, like the report seen below.

The Advanced Ancestry test results included percentages for the top 3 ancestries
The Advanced Ancestry test results included percentages for the top 3 ancestries

With the HomeDNA Advanced Ancestry Test, you’ll also receive maps of your maternal and paternal ancestors’ migrations, like the map shown below.

Historic migration routes of your maternal and paternal lines. From HomeDNA review
Historic migration routes of your maternal and paternal lines

The HomeDNA Food and Pet Sensitivity Test provides information about your genetic predisposition to eight key food areas. The results include information about the genes that were analyzed to reach these conclusions. 

HomeDNA Food and Pet Sensitivity test results
HomeDNA Food and Pet Sensitivity test results

The HomeDNA Healthy Weight report provides information about genes related to weight loss, food, nutrients, and exercise. The test tells you how you compare with the rest of the population. It also includes lists of analyzed genes. In addition, you’ll receive personalized recommendations regarding nutrition and exercise, as well as specific diet and exercise plans. 

HomeDNA Healthy Weight test results
HomeDNA Healthy Weight test results

The HomeDNA Skincare Test provides you with a skin score on a scale from non-ideal to optimal for each of the seven major skin traits, as in the sample report below. In addition, you’ll receive information about the genes that were analyzed, what your score means, how you can reduce your risk with skin creams or serums, proper nutrition, and professional skin treatments.

HomeDNA skincare recommendations
HomeDNA skincare recommendations 

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • The tests, including paternity, are available at pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens across the United States, making it convenient to purchase them. You can also order kits online on the HomeDNA website.
  • Health and beauty tests come with personalized recommendations to maintain health and help you achieve your weight-loss goals.

Cons

  • Ancestry results, especially for the HomeDNA Starter Ancestry Test, are not very detailed.
  • Hidden fees/costs: While the HomeDNA Paternity Test kit for at-home use can be purchased for less than $30, the price paid later to process your DNA sample and obtain results is an additional $139.
  • You get info on which genes were analyzed but not specific genetic variants included. 
  • It does not allow you to find relatives based on genetic matches or search genealogy records. You cannot build your family tree or identify your last name origins.

Review of HomeDNA Privacy

Is HomeDNA safe? The company states that it does not sell or distribute private information to third parties. Your raw DNA data can be destroyed at any time upon request.

HomeDNA may create anonymous data sets by removing identifying information such as names. However, it is worth noting that there has been controversy about whether genetic data – which is highly personal – can ever truly be anonymized. The company “reserves the right to use anonymous data for any purpose in its discretion.” 

HomeDNA states that it may share all of your information with its parent company, subsidiary, or affiliates, including marketing. 

Regarding data security, HomeDNA states that “Although DDC attempts to protect the personal information in its possession, no security system is perfect, and DDC cannot promise that your personal information will remain absolutely secure in all circumstances.”

For paternity testing, your results are confidential. You will receive an email with a login to your securely encrypted online account to view them when ready.

HomeDNA offers a special paternity test for New York residents. The New York State Department of Health requires all paternity tests to provide court-admissible results. A doctor must order this one, and all testing is performed in an on-site lab.

HomeDNA in the News

HomeDNA launched in July 2017, becoming the first company to offer at-home DNA testing kits in stores across the country. Its parent company, DNA Diagnostics Center, appointed Scott Cramer (formerly CEO of Accriva Diagnostics) president and CEO in February 2019.

HomeDNA was also covered by a Seattle Times reporter in September 2018, who was skeptical of her DNA results stating that 13% of her DNA was Sub-Saharan African and compared it to an Ancestry test that reported she was 100% European. 

Other HomeDNA Reviews

HomeDNA reviews vary widely depending on the product and review platform. For example, the Paternity test was rated one of the best at-home DNA tests with an average of 4.7 out of 5 by over 3,000 reviews on the CVS website.

Positive reviews state that the test is easy to use, comparatively inexpensive, and results were ready in good time. Criticisms include hidden fees, poor customer service, and failing to provide results. 

Almost 70 Amazon shoppers have given it 3.6/5 stars.

While HomeDNA’s parent company DDC has an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau, it has a customer rating of 1.7 out of 5 on this site and 48 customer complaints. 

DNA Diagnostic Center (DDC) was rated an average of 4.2/5 by over 800 reviewers on Trustpilot. However, the labs across the country and Europe have mixed comments and ratings on Google reviews.

Customers can contact customer support through their email address: customersupport@homedna.com

Nebula Genomics

There are several key ways in which Nebula Genomics is different from genetic testing companies like HomeDNA, 23andMe, and AncestryDNA. First, Nebula Genomics uses more advanced DNA testing technology, and second, it provides more genetic data than most other DNA testing companies. 

Nebula Genomics stands out for its advanced privacy protection, even among other whole-genome sequencing companies. Customers love Nebula Genomics: the company received an average rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars based on over 600 reviews on Trustpilot.

Nebula Expand 

To access Nebula’s expanded DNA report, just upload raw DNA data from 23andMe or Ancestry and get access to free DNA analysis! Nebula Genomics uses a statistical technique called imputation to fill in gaps in regular DNA tests. Based on this expanded data, you’ll be able to access a report on hundreds of genetic traits. 

Whole Genome Sequencing

In the early 2000s, the first human whole genome sequencing cost hundreds of millions of dollars. Today, thanks to the genomic revolution, the whole genome sequencing cost at Nebula Genomics is less than $300. Nebula Genomics gives you access to 100% of your genome, while services like HomeDNA, 23andMe, and Ancestry only read out about 0.1% of your genome – sometimes even less.  

When you purchase Nebula’s whole genome sequencing, you’ll also get access to the weekly updated Nebula Library and our genome exploration tools to search for specific genes or variants in your genome. 

Privacy is a Priority

You shouldn’t have to sacrifice your privacy for the chance to learn valuable information about your own genome. That’s why Nebula Genomics created the first privacy-focused personal genomics service. 

When you explore your genome with Nebula Genomics, you maintain ownership of your genetic data. You’ll be given full access to over 100 gigabytes of your personal genetic data. Nebula also connects you, the data owner, directly with potential third-party data buyers so that if you choose to share your genetic data, you can receive compensation for it. The bottom line is that Nebula is committed to your privacy. 

Here’s how Nebula Genomics compares to 23andMe, Ancestry, and HomeDNA. 


23andMeAncestryDNAHomeDNANebula Genomics
Genetic data analyzed~600,000 positions in the genome~700,000 positions in the genome~80,000 autosomal genetic markers tested (HomeDNA Advanced Ancestry Test)~3,000,000,000 positions in the genome
Free DNA upload optionNoNoNoYes
Raw DNA data availableYesYesNot available for some productsYes
Oral microbiome profile NoNoNoYes
Weekly updates based on the latest discoveriesNo NoNoYes (learn more)
Paternity testing availableNoNoYesNo
Ancestry reportingYes, but based on relatively few genetic variantsYes, but requires sharing data with other Ancestry customersYes, but not very detailedDeep ancestry reporting with full Y chromosome and mtDNA sequencing
Privacy focusNoNoNo Yes (learn more)
Cost$99 or $199$99-$119$69-$159$0, $99, $299
HomeDNA vs. 23andMe; HomeDNA vs. Ancestry; HomeDNA vs. Nebula Genomics

Did you like out HomeDNA review? You might also enjoy more reviews or our complete guide to the best DNA test kit and other home tests. Or check out our guide to DNA upload sites! You can also learn more about paternity tests in this blog post!

For specific DNA tests regarding paternity, check out DNAnow (18-region DNA paternity test), PaternityUSA, and Genovate. Legal paternity tests that are accepted by U.S. courts for instances such as child support can be purchased from companies like DNA Services Unlimited and Genetrack Biolabs.

You may also be interested in learning about DNA testing during pregnancy in our DNA test while pregnant at home test review.

Other companies that do carrier screenings for diseases that may be passed down to children include: