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

living-dna-review

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

Results
Price
Comprehensiveness

Summary

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.

4

Edited by Christina Swords, Ph.D.

November 4, 2021

7 Facts from our Living DNA Review

  1. Location: United Kingdom
  2. DNA test: ancestry and wellness reports
  3. Data upload: no longer available
  4. Data access: raw DNA data can be downloaded
  5. Privacy: family finding functionality exposes personal information
  6. Pricing: $69-$99 plus shipping (U.S.) Prices varies by country
  7. Alternatives: Nebula Genomics (Whole Genome Sequencing with weekly updated reports and advanced ancestry reporting)

Living DNA Introduction

Living DNA (LivingDNA) is a UK based company for genetic testing that provides health and fitness reports. These 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, the company Living DNA was established 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 DNA test 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 order the kit online, use the cheek swabs, and ship them back to the company for testing. The swabs are then processed to generate a raw dataset and DNA 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. In addition, customers can track their kit and view results online using their Living DNA login.

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.

Living DNA offers the following products. Prices reflect shipping to the United States. International prices may vary depending on location.

Full ancestry kit ($69): 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 build your family tree? The report also features an in-depth prediction of the ancestor’s migration routes from Africa tens of thousands of years ago. The test also includes ancestry results from autosomal DNA, mtDNA, and Y-DNA.

Well-being kit ($79): This kit explains how the body processes different nutrients. Users order a personalized diet and fitness suggestions depending on their genetic results. 

Well-being and DNA ancestry kit ($99):  A bundle including the Ancestry kit and Well-being kit.

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 reports

LivingDNA’s tools also allow you to trace back your ancestry up to 10 generations. Their DNA 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. 

Maternal ancestry
Maternal ancestry
Father line ancestry reporting is done using Y-DNA
                            “Fatherline” 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 wellbeing report provides information on how your genes help your body process micronutrients like vitamins and minerals. Users will also learn if genetic variants make them susceptible to things like vitamin D deficiency.

Similarly, the user will know about 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. Overall, 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 as well as instructions for how to follow a balanced approach for your overall health. The company’s wellbeing kit will provide you with a number of fitness tips based on your genetic makeup.

The report covers an explanation of several factors that influence your endurance. You will learn about your training ability, oxygen flow, blood vessel response, and 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 for optimized potential. Then, with the help of professionals, you can devise your training plans.

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

Living DNA provides a guide to wellness
Living DNA provides a guide to wellness

Living DNA Cost 

The original price of the testing kits ranges from $99 to $179. The prices are currently reduced to $69-$99. Extra shipping charges apply. In the US, shipping charges range from $10 for standard shipping to $40 for express shipping. 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.

Review of Living DNA Privacy and Security 

According to the website, Living DNA is committed to securing the storage of its customers’ data. The company 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 Privacy Statement has not been revised since 2019. Back then, the UK was still a part of the EU, and the General Data Protection Regulations applied to Living DNA. 

However, there’s the UK GDPR, which is quite similar to the EU’s, with some differences. UK GDPR tends to be a bit more lenient than EU GDPR. Living DNA does not have any observations about this on their Privacy Statement.   

You do not only share personal information with the company when you place it in a form or subscribe to a recurring service. Living DNA will also record the personal data you share when you ask them to respond to a query. If you contact them with a question via email, letter,  or phone, and you provide your personal information, they will use it to send marketing material.                         

For the option of free DNA upload, you have the ownership right over your DNA sample. However, 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

In 2019, the company received a moderate amount of new attention regarding the completeness and price of their new product, with CNN asking if it is the most detailed at-home DNA testing kit yet and PR Newswire highlighting its low retail price.

Living DNA Reviews

Other LivingDNA reviews are available from third party reviewing services. According to Trustpilot reviews, 39% of 320 customers voted it bad, and 35% voted it excellent. Complaints include incomplete, unclear, and inaccurate results. Some customers have also indicated the results are wrong or different from other consumer DNA tests they have taken. 

Living DNA has its subreddit, where people write their experiences with the product and ask questions.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • 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

Cons

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

Nebula Genomics

We culminate 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 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 30x 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$99-$119$69-$99$0, $99, $299
23andMe vs. AncestryDNA vs. Living DNA vs. Nebula Genomics 

Summary

Living DNA (LivingDNA) is a UK based DNA testing and reporting company with health and detailed ancestry reporting products. Their tests cost 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 or inaccurate. The company’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 basic ancestry test), MyHeritage ($79 for ancestry test), 23andMe ($99 for ancestry test, $199 for ancestry + health test), FamilyTreeDNA, and DNA Land (free upload). 

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 ($151 – $503)
  • DNAFit (in partnership with CircleDNA $151 – $503)
  • Fitness Genes ($49 for data upload; up to $199 for DNA testing kits)
  • Genomelink ($39 for fitness information)
  • Genopalate ($40 for data upload; $150 for DNA testing kit)
  • Helix DNA ($190 + additional cost for the apps)
  • Noom (subscriptions start at $150 per 6 months)
  • Nutrisystem (plans start at $11 per day for men and $9 per day for women)
  • Orig3n ($8 – $150 for various DNA tests)
  • Promethease ($12; for health information)
  • SelfDecode ($90 – $297)
  • Sequencing.com (fitness app purchased separately)
  • Vitagene (health + ancestry, $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)
  • LiveWello ($19.95 for variance reports and community sharing)
  • 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!