How much is a DNA test? [A 2021 Guide]

If you have ever wondered how much is a DNA test or how much does genetic testing cost, you have landed at the right place. The cost of a DNA test mainly depends on the type of test and how much of your DNA you want sequenced. A small DNA test that looks at only at a few SNPs can be as low as $25. Diagnostic tests that decode the whole genome can easily be over $1000.

A person at a computer
DNA Genotyping and Sequencing. Unsplash

People usually want to know how much a DNA paternity test costs, or they might want to know if they are predisposed to a specific disease or who they might be related to. In this DNA cost review, we will discuss not only the price of genetic testing but also cost-effectiveness.

Comparing DNA testing products – How much are they?

As the market for genetic testing grows, so does the opportunity for scammers or run-of-the-mill products to arise. This article will discuss what to look for when deciding what DNA diagnostic center to go to.  

Unfortunately, some companies offer popular products that do not live up to their claims. It is not always about the price, and when it comes to cost, you should consider all the essential aspects we will mention here.

How much a DNA test costs varies a lot between suppliers but also does the quality of the product you are getting. If you want to go with the cheapest option, you should also verify that the supplier is reliable and that your DNA test results will be accurate

Here, we will compare what a few products offer in terms of both cost and quality.

Nebula Genomics

$99-$299

Nebula Genomics DNA testing kit in How much is a DNA test

Nebula Genomics offers the most comprehensive genome analysis. While most DNA tests decode only a small percentage of your DNA, Nebula Genomics utilizes 30X Whole Genome Sequencing to extract and analyze 100% of your genes.

This DNA test gives you full access to your genetic composition, providing a much broader opportunity for a healthier life than the majority of companies in the market. 

These are the benefits you will get:

  • Full access to your genomic data
  • Weekly updates based on the latest discoveries in the scientific community
  • Advanced ancestry analysis
  • Powerful tools to explore your genome
  • Super competitive price

As of 2021, this is a $1000 value that you can get at less than 30% of that price. Value is an important consideration when deciding how much a DNA test is worth.

23andMe

How much is a 23andme DNA test: $99-$199

23 and Me DNA testing kits in How much is a DNA test

23andMe offers vast information on your genetic composition and ancestry. It also includes other services like genetic health risks and medical predispositions. However, 23andMe only decodes 0.02% of your genome, leaving a lot of potential genetic questions unanswered.

Pros:

  • The ancestry report is thorough
  • Reports are interesting and continuously updated

Cons:

  • Customer service is not the best
  • The service does not provide an explicit guarantee of what your health will look like in the future

AncestryDNA

$99 – $119

AncestryDNA testing kit in How much is a DNA test

AncestryDNA has one of the most extensive databases thanks to its popularity. The tool is easy to use, and you get to explore your background and compare to more than 5 million DNA profiles. Like 23andMe, AncestryDNA decodes only 0.02% of your DNA.

Pros:

  • Easy to use and understand
  • Free shipping

Cons:

  • The subscription fee may get expensive
  • Too many of the cool features you see in advertisements need a subscription

MyHeritage

$79

MyHeritage DNA testing logo in How much is a DNA test

As the name suggests, MyHeritage is a DNA testing company that dedicates itself to discovering people’s ancestry. They offer a raw look at your genetic composition, but they will not give you any interpretation of your results or information on how your ancestors lived. 

Pros:

  • Results are easy to understand
  • Resources for research and a family tree included
  • Can help you find family members

Cons: 

  • The process to collect DNA is not straightforward
  • Only results with no interpretation or information of your ancestors

Living DNA

$79 – $149

Living DNA testing logo in How much is a DNA test

Living DNA traces your ancestors a thousand years back. As you can see, it is dedicated to finding out about your ancestors. However, the results may take a while to be generated.

Pros:

  • It covers 80 regions and goes back in time up to 80,000 years
  • Affordable price

Cons:

  • Results will take 10-12 weeks
  • Some users have reported low or no matches at all

tellmeGen

$89-$149

tellmegen DNA testing home page in How much is a DNA test

TellmeGen is dedicated to providing health information and ancestry. It uncovers the mystery of what is causing a particular debilitating illness by diving into risks and inherited traits.

Pros:

  • A thorough report on medical predispositions
  • Free updates forever

Cons:

  • The database is small
  • Not the best customer service and results take longer than expected sometimes    

For more information on other DNA tests, you could check out the rest of our blog or our summary of the best DNA tests.

What is a DNA test?

DNA testing is used to determine a person’s chromosome structure or DNA sequence. DNA science largely determines our traits, ancestry, and predisposition to disease. In other words, it reveals a “book” with instructions on how your body is composed. 

A technician performing DNA testing
A technician at the Cancer Genomics Research Laboratory. Unsplash.

Many genetic testing companies offer various levels of this genetic information and follow up with recommendations on how you can improve your natural physiology, find relatives, and/or prepare for potential illnesses. 

However, most of these companies base their reports on only 0.02% of your total genome, at best. This is not even close to Nebula Genomics 100% sequencing. 

Coverage of DNA tests

There are several types of genetics tests. Most tests require you to collect a cheek swab sample. Their thoroughness often determines how much the DNA test costs. We will mention the most important ones. If you want to know more details about each, check out our introduction to DNA testing methods

DNA microarray-based genotyping

DNA microarrays measure the level of expression of several genes simultaneously. Researchers have been using this technology for almost three decades. It is advantageous in that it provides a more comprehensive study of the genome with minimal effort.

The price is lower than a complete genome test since it is targeted. The cost is between $10 and $100 per sample.

NGS-based DNA tests

Next-Generation Sequencing focuses on the efficiency of reading large amounts of genetic information. This revolutionary technology helps rapidly sequence the entire genome. 

The estimated cost per sample of this test goes around $20-$25.

Whole Exome Sequencing (WES)

The Whole Exome Sequencing reads about 1.5% of the protein-encoding human genome, much more than the targeted sequences used in microarray-based genotyping. How much is a DNA test using WES? The price range is around $300, although it could be as high as $1500, without including the analysis cost.

Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS)

As the name suggests, Whole Genome Sequencing produces a more in-depth insight into an individual’s entire genetic composition. Since it sequences the entire genome, there was a time when it’s price was much higher than alternative methods, such as WES. However, advances in technology have driven down the price and have made whole genome sequencing accessible for more people. How much is a DNA test using WGS? Costs normally range around $1000. However, Nebula Genomics offers it for just $299

Types of DNA tests

Before spending money to see how much a DNA test costs, it is best to know what type of genetic information you need. 

Paternity test

This test is designed to confirm a baby’s biological father. Paternity test results are very accurate, looking for a genetic relationship between the potential father and the child. How much is a DNA test ranges from $60 to $200. 

Ancestry test

This test traces your ancestors and often provides clues to the geographical locations where you and your ancestors may have come from. The price of this test is usually around $100.

Health and diseases risk test

The results of this test help doctors determine your risk of developing a disease. It also enables a more focused treatment to prevent or treat it. The cost will depend on the test range; it can go anywhere from $100 to more than $2,000.

Fitness and nutrition test

Due to the rising popularity of diets and supplements, DNA test companies promoting good health and a better lifestyle are common today. Along with the paternity test, it is one of the most sought after types of tests. Essentially, once you know your predisposition to certain health factors, you can better target areas in your body with specific nutrition and lifestyle changes.

This genetic testing cost will depend on the company offering it. Usually, it goes $100-$120, but some services price them up to $450. 

How much is a DNA paternity test?

Much interest for how much is a DNA test is related to a paternity testing kit. These are the most common types of DNA tests and their prices vary. In these types of tests, each individual involved gets a DNA profile, including the alleged father. Genetic markers are then compared to verify if there is a genetic match. 

Paternity DNA testing
DNA tests can help couples determine paternity. Herney on Pixabay

When required by law, the legal test price is higher since the testing companies have an accredited laboratory for legal purposes. A legal DNA test ranges from $300 to $500. This fee includes all the costs related to the collection of DNA samples and processing. 

How much is a home DNA test? Non-legal paternity tests or those not requested by a court can go from $30 for a home DNA test to about $200. This price will also depend on the testing company and shipping charges. Many people want to know how much is a DNA test while pregnant. These prenatal tests, which can be performed either non-invasively or through surgery, can cost a few thousand dollars.

Given that non-legal paternity tests are not court-ordered from an accredited lab, they are not legally binding. You can take a home paternity test anywhere, but they will not help establish child support, inheritance benefits, etc. They are mainly available to provide parents or potential parents with a peace of mind. HomeDNA is a popular at home DNA test. Have you ever wondered how much is a DNA test at CVS or how much is a DNA test kit at Walgreens? HomeDNA costs $28.99 at CVS and $27.99 at Walgreens.

Legal DNA tests are often more expensive and include additional costs, such as lab fees.

How much is a dog DNA test?

Are you interested in knowing your four legged friend’s genetic background? Many owners of mixed-breed dogs want to know the specific breeds in their pet. For some pet lovers, this is important as they get a better assessment of how to care for their furry ones. 

A dog holding a round carton
DNA tests are able to distinguish dog breeds. Unsplash.

How much is it to get a DNA test? Dog DNA tests are readily available through tests online and through stores. They are usually priced at $60 or more. Embark and Wisdom Panel are two popular options. If you’re a cat lover, you may be interested in Basepaws.

Other factors in addition to how much is a DNA test

Now that we have cleared how much a DNA test costs, you should think of cost-effectiveness. The market offers many options to get the information you need, but there are some variable aspects you should be aware of before making a decision.

Size of the company’s database

This is important if you are taking an ancestry DNA test. Most genealogy tests require the subject’s DNA to be matched with an extensive database. Therefore, the success of the results depends on the size of the company’s database and the ability to find matches.  

Countries the company sell to

If you do not live in the United States, verify that the services are offered in your country. The largest home testing companies are located in the United States and represent the largest customer base. 

Other products offered by the company

The variety of products offered by the testing company is usually an indication of its size. This is not always the case, but very large companies typically make promises they cannot live up to. Try to find out what commitments have been met and which are just promises.

What is the range of products they offer? What portion of your genome can they decode? What is the size of their DNA database? Do they allow integration with similar services with other companies? 

Privacy policy

Is it safe to have this company unravel your DNA? What is their privacy policy? Will you get a notification if this policy were to change? What happens if the company ceases to exist?

Scientific credentials

Does this company have any affiliations with credited boards of scientists? Are their test results and interpretations based on proper scientific investigation?

Do you need a subscription?

Most companies include a subscription feature to give you constant access to your results. This subscription enables you to have your information updated according to new scientific advancements. However, most basic services are free.  

Shipping costs

It’s important to remember that when looking at how much a DNA test costs, there may be other fees. For example. if you are getting a DNA test from an overseas company, shipping and handling can considerably increase the test’s total price. 

Nebula Genomics

Is a home DNA test kit worth it? Yes! A direct-to-consumer DNA test is a safe way to determine your genetic composition. The FDA has approved home DNA tests as reliable means to obtain your genetic information. Plus, results are of the highest quality and can be used by physicians and genetic counselors.

Nebula Genomics is the safest way to go when it comes to how much is a DNA test and getting the best value for your money. With our 30X Whole Genome Sequencing, we guarantee that you will get complete results on all aspects available. 

You do not only get an automatic cold report on your raw DNA data; you also get the most comprehensive reports, which are updated weekly. This guarantees that your information is always up to date and based on the latest scientific discoveries. 

Since we offer 30X Whole Genome sequencing for $299 you can feel assured that you are getting the most comprehensive view of your genome for the best price. 

Edited by Christina Swords, Ph.D.

Updated: October 20, 2021