Living DNA review – The best ancestry test for people from the UK?


Living DNA Review Summary

Living DNA specializes in ancestry reporting for people whose ancestors came from the United Kingdom. Learn more in our Living DNA review!

Nebula Genomics



Living DNA is a UK based genetic testing company that offers ancestry and wellness reports. The historical information is good but some customers believe the reports may be incomplete or vague.


Edited by Christina Swords, Ph.D.

7 Facts from our Living DNA Review

  1. Location: United Kingdom
  2. DNA test: ancestry and wellness reports
  3. Data upload: free with optional upgrades
  4. Data access: raw DNA data can be downloaded
  5. Privacy: family finding functionality exposes personal information
  6. Pricing: the starting price is $49
  7. Alternatives: Nebula Genomics (Whole Genome Sequencing with weekly updated reports and advanced ancestry reporting)

Living DNA Introduction

This is a review of Living DNA (LivingDNA), a UK based company for genetic testing that provides health and fitness reports. These reports are tailor-made for each user based on their genetic information. The company also offers ancestry reporting across several regions worldwide.

The service was created by David Nicholson and Hannah Morden, under the parent company DNA Worldwide, and launched in 2004. In 2016, Living DNA was launched as a separate entity. And in 2018, the company partnered with FindMyPast to incorporate British isles and Irish family history records.

The DNA testing company conducts research based on the genetic data collected from users. After registering for Living DNA, users sign-up for online surveys to contribute to this research. 

Did you know that the Living DNA test decodes only 0.02% of your DNA? At Nebula Genomics, we offer the most affordable Whole Genome Sequencing! This is the most 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 and family connections than any other DNA test! Click here to learn more!

How to use Living DNA

Living DNA ships their autosomal DNA testing kits all over the world. Customers can order the kit online, use the cheek swabs, and ship them back to the company for testing. The swabs are then processed to generate your raw dataset and test results. The process generally takes 6-8 weeks, but can sometimes take up to 12 weeks. Living DNA will send an email once the results are ready. fCustomers can track their kit and view results online using their Living DNA login.

DNA testing with Living DNA
DNA testing with Living DNA
Living DNA ancestry test
Living DNA ancestry test

Review of Living DNA Products and Services

LivingDNA offers a product for users to explore their continental ethnic breakdown. These include 8 broader regions of Oceania, American continents, Africa, Europe, Near East, Central Asia, South Asia, and East Asia. The DNA results tell a user where their ancestors lived.

Compared to other ancestry analysis options, these basic results aren’t very in-depth. The company Living DNA does offer an Ancestry upgrade that will provide a deeper analysis comparable to other testing companies.

Living DNA offers the following products:

Email course (FREE): This is a free, 7-day course to understand the basics of DNA. Signing up for this free course answers questions like, what is DNA? How does DNA testing work? What are the different types of genetic testing?

Starter kit ($49): Users receive basic global reports, such as maps, that connect them to their ancestors. The results include genetic matches and a simple nutrition report. This kit is good for those who just want to explore the idea of DNA testing. 

Full ancestry kit ($99): This kit is reportedly the company’s most advanced kit, as it reveals deeper ethnic ancestry. The user obtains access to ancestry reports across 150 regions & sub-regions. This includes a global family ancestry report tracing back 500 years. 

Do you want to learn more about your family tree? The report also includes an in-depth prediction of the ancestor’s migration routes from Africa hundreds of thousands of years ago. The test also includes results from autosomal DNA, mtDNA, and Y-DNA.

The company also suggests ordering a personalized ancestry book for $69 in the US. This book gives a breakdown of DNA sample results in the form of a coffee table book.

Well-being kit ($129): This kit explains how the body processes different nutrients. Users receive personalized diet and fitness suggestions depending on their genetic results. 

Well-being and DNA ancestry kit ($179):  A bundle including the Ancestry kit and Well-being kit.

Raw DNA data upload (FREE): Already have your genetic results from another company? You can perform a Living DNA upload to the portal on their website for free. You will have access to the basic results of your ancestry in 8  locations worldwide.  

Review of Living DNA Reports

Users get extensive reporting of their ancestors from all over the world.

Living DNA provides extensive DNA reporting
Living DNA provides extensive DNA reporting

Review of Living DNA Ancestry Reporting

LivingDNA’s tools also allow you to trace back your ancestry up to 10 generations. Their analysis compares your genetic signatures against a database of people from over 150 subregions in the world. 

Based on their autosomal genetic information, the company reports your ethnic estimates from these subregions. Users also get access to historical and cultural information about the subregions. 

You can explore your ancestry on an interactive map. Regional breakdown results based in African ancestry break down into 72 sub-regions. Conversely, a smaller region like British ancestry is broken down into only 21 sub-regions.

Living DNA ancestry composition
Living DNA ancestry composition

Maternal and paternal ancestors

The users can track down their maternal line and paternal ancestral lineage in different global regions. The company generally provides a percentage for your haplogroup, showing a breakdown of regions where the same haplogroup can be found.

The company explores your maternal lineage using mtDNA (mitochondrial DNA) via the prevalence of haplotypes and subtypes. And using the haplogroups and an interactive map you can trace the migration map starting from your oldest ancestors. 

The fatherline results are based on Y-DNA and reported only for male users. This is because only genetic males possess Y-DNA. 

tracks maternal ancestral roots
Paternal ancestry
Father line ancestry reporting is done using Y-DNA
                            Father line ancestry reporting is done using Y-DNA

Extended family network matching

Living DNA uses your DNA results to find your genetic match with other users. As of January 2019, about 50,000 users have joined this service. This direct matching is based on your DNA, age and gender.

In addition to using the data on autosomal genes, this system uses both the motherline and the fatherline data. DNA matching is possible with those who are closer than the user’s 7th-degree relative or their 4th cousin. You can also connect to your matches (with whom you share no recent common ancestor) by going back to 13 generations. You can then connect with your matches by sending them messages.

Review of Living DNA Wellbeing Reports

Living DNA helps users to make healthy lifestyle choices based on their genetic variants. Users will understand how they respond to and process different nutrients, food types, and exercise training.

The wellbeing report covers health and fitness tips
The wellbeing report covers health and fitness tips

Nutrition Reports

The well-being report provides information on how your genes help your body process micronutrients like vitamins and minerals. Users also understand if genetic variants make them susceptible to things like vitamin D deficiency.

Similarly, the user will have knowledge about some other vitamins like vitamin A, vitamin B12, and vitamin C. 

The report also describes how your body responds to proteins, fats, complex carbohydrates as well as sugars. For example, users get insight into whether they are tolerant to gluten or lactose intolerant.

They will further learn whether they have an increased risk of having celiac disease. However, these reports may not always apply correctly for the users – this is mentioned in “cons” below! In short, the company says that users learn the types of foods that are compatible with their bodies.

The wellbeing report tells you about how your body processes nutrients
The wellbeing report tells you about how your body processes nutrients

Personalized fitness solutions

You will be provided with professional tips on weight management! Or simply want to follow a balanced approach for your overall health? Living DNA claims to have the solution for you! The company’s well-being kit will provide you with a number of fitness tips based on your genetic makeup.

The report covers an explanation about a number of factors for your endurance. You will learn about your training ability, oxygen flow, blood vessel response, tendon durability. Based on these insights you can choose the exercises and equipment that should be a part of your fitness plan.

Exercise and recovery

Living DNA’s results inform maximum strength capacity during training. You can then get an idea about how intense your training should be. You can also decide whether you should opt for cardio or weights. With the help of professionals, you can devise your training plans.

You will get an insight into how your body is prone to injury.  The company will provide recommendations on how to wind down after your exercises. This helps in devising an optimized plan for your training. 

provides health and fitness tips
Living DNA provides a guide to wellness

Living DNA Pricing 

The original price of the testing kits ranges from $99 to $179. Extra shipping charges apply. In the US the price can range from $49 to $99. You can learn more about how their prices compare to other companies on our blog.

DNA Data Access

You can download your raw DNA data from the Living DNA results portal. You have to purchase a kit in order to get the full ancestry report. You can also receive occasional updates about your ancestry with their upgraded product.

Review of Living DNA Privacy and Security 

According to the website, Living DNA is committed to secure storage of its customers’ data. The company usually makes the user anonymous before sending the data to the lab partner. The company does not sell personal or genetic data to any third party. 

The company also aims to secure its data storage. For the option of free DNA upload, you have the ownership right over your sample. It is unclear how the issue of ownership over the data exactly works.

For users who participate in extended family networking, genetic results are shared with the matching people outside the EU. To prevent this, users can opt-out of participating in this program. 

Living DNA in the News

Living DNA Reviews

  • According to the Living DNA reviews by TechRadar the kits are expensive (original price is £99 to £179). The website gives a score of 3.5 stars. The reviewer notes that some of the ancestry results are vague.
  • According to Living DNA Trustpilot reviews, 44% of 171 customers voted it to be bad and 30% voted it as excellent. Complaints include incomplete and unclear results, high prices, and misdescription.
  • You can find few Living DNA reviews on Reddit

Pros and Cons


  • Users can easily follow the guide instructions in the kits
  • Reports about the migration pattern of your ancestors with substantial amounts of historical information
  • Covers a higher number of subregions to show the deep ancestral lineage to the users


  • DNA data sharing policy is vague
  • There have been complaints about incomplete results

Nebula Genomics

We finish our Living DNA review with a comparison to Nebula Genomics and other DNA tests.

In contrast to Living DNA, Nebula Genomics offers whole-genome sequencing (WGS) at a depth of 30X. This produces about 10,000 times more data than other genetic testing services which enable superior reporting on ancestry and traits.

In particular, we enable ‘deep ancestry’ reporting by fully decoding mtDNA and Y chromosomes. This helps trace both the paternal and maternal ancestral links accurately. To this end, we have partnered with the FamilyTreeDNA through whom our customers will get access to the world’s largest databases of mtDNA and Y-DNA data. 

Nebula Genomics users also have access to the weekly report updates based on the latest research studies. 

Features23andMeAncestryDNALiving DNANebula Genomics
Data upload optionsNoNoYes. A basic report will be provided.Yes. Expanded reports are provided.
DNA testGenotyping GenotypingGenotyping Whole genome sequencing
Sequencing depth600,000 positions600,000 positionsUnspecified6,000,000,000 positions
AncestryYes YesYes Deep ancestry reporting with full Y chromosome and mtDNA sequencing in collaboration with FTDNA
Weekly report updatesNoNoNoYes (learn more)
Data exploration toolsLimitedLimitedUnclearYes
Cost$99, $199, $499$99, $149In the UK prices are £49, £69, £79, £99. $0 – $299
23andMe vs. AncestryDNA vs. Living DNA vs. Nebula Genomics 


Living DNA (LivingDNA) is a UK based DNA testing and reporting company with health and detailed ancestry reporting products. The Living DNA test costs less than some competitors, such as Ancestry DNA. It has impressed many of its users with its “sophisticated” deep ancestry reporting. 

However, some have complained about these family tree DNA results being vague. Living DNA’s privacy policy regarding their use of genetic data authority remains unclear.  

If you’re looking for sites to explore ancestry, you should also look at AncestryDNA ($99 for ancestry test, $149 for ancestry + health test), MyHeritage ($79 for ancestry test, $199 for ancestry + health test), 23andMe ($99 – $499), FamilyTreeDNA, DNA Land (free). 

If you are interested in genetic testing that will help you achieve your health and fitness goals, there are a lot of products to choose from. You can learn more about your options on our website including:

  • Athletigen (free upload and basic report; additional tests and reports available at an additional cost)
  • CircleDNA ($189 – $629)
  • DNAFit (in partnership with CircleDNA $189 – $629)
  • Fitness Genes ($49 for data upload; up to $199 for DNA testing kits)
  • Genomelink ($39 for fitness information)
  • Genopalate ($69 for data upload; $189 for DNA testing kit)
  • Helix DNA ($145 + additional cost for the apps)
  • Noom (subscriptions start at $150 per 6 months)
  • Nutrisystem (plans start at $9 per day for men and $8 per day for women)
  • Orig3n ($29 – $150 for various DNA tests)
  • Promethease ($12; for health information)
  • SelfDecode ($59 – $289)
  • (fitness app purchased separately)
  • Vitagene (diet and health, $99)
  • Xcode Life ($20 each for fitness and health report)

For more DNA upload sites, you should look at:

  • DNA Land (free DNA upload for trait and ancestry analysis)
  • DNA Painter (for genealogy – the first one is free and subscriptions are available for others)
  • GedMatch Genesis (free DNA upload and paid advanced options)
  • Genetic Genie (free for health reporting)
  • LifeDNA ($99 for upload and health reports, DNA kit and updates available at an additional cost)
  • MyHeritage (free upload for genealogy)
  • MyTrueAncestry (learn your connection to ancient populations – free upload – $397)
  • WeGene (a focus on Asian populations, cost of reports)

If you have whole genome sequencing data, also take a look at YFull ($25 – $49 for Y-DNA and mtDNA).

Interested in ancestry or genetic genealogy?

If you’re looking for an at home paternity test, you should also read our review of HomeDNA.

If you want to focus on your maternal and/or paternal lineages, you can look at YFull or YSeq, services which analyze mtDNA or the Y chromosome to determine specific lineage haplotypes. Full Genomes also offers Y chromosome sequencing and analysis.

There are a lot of great supplement companies out there that may help you lose weight and get healthy (you can read about many of them on our blog!) But be careful! There are also dangerous experimental drugs out there like SR9009 and RAD 140 that are not approved for human consumption.

Did you like our Living DNA review? You can find more reviews on our blog and check out our complete guide to the best DNA test kit and other home tests!