Table of Contents
- 7 Facts from our tellmeGen Review
- tellmeGen Introduction
- Services and Products
- Review of TellmeGen Health Report
- Review of tellmeGen Ancestry Report
- Exploring Your Genome
- Review of other tellmeGen Services
- Review of tellmeGen Pros and Cons
- Review of tellmeGen Privacy and Data
- Other tellmeGen Reviews
- Nebula Genomics
Edited by Christina Swords, Ph.D.
7 Facts from our tellmeGen Review
- Location: Valencia, Spain
- Services: Genetic testing, with separate testing options for adults and children. Provides access to genetic counseling, medical consultation, and nutrition counseling at additional costs.
- Reports: Personalized “Health Map” outlines predispositions to over 125 health conditions, inherited monogenic disorders, unique personal traits, ancestry data, and pharmacologic compatibility. Pharmacologic compatibility data is not available to users in the United States.
- Result delivery: Reports delivered through the tellmeGen user-friendly platform. Users are able to download their raw DNA data from the platform, delivered as a CSV format file.
- Privacy: tellmeGen offers a high level of confidentiality. DNA kits are registered as encrypted alphanumeric codes. Connections to and from tellmeGen’s web platform use SSL encryption protocols.
- Cost: Approximately $235 for one child or one adult DNA test kit if purchased directly from tellmeGen. This company offers options to purchase multiple adult test kits as bundles, which lowers the cost of each individual test. Single test kits can be found on Amazon for approximately $130.
- Alternatives: Nebula Genomics (Whole Genome Sequencing with weekly updated reports and advanced ancestry reporting)
This is a review of tellmeGen, an autosomal DNA testing and DNA analysis company that uses microarray-based genetic mapping to provide clients with a comprehensive health map and an ancestry test.
tellmeGen provides customers with detailed and easily digestible information regarding their genetic health, and connects clients with customized genetic services. These services include genetic counselling, nutritional counselling, and medical consultations with tellmeGen doctors and geneticists. It is important to note that appointments with these specialists are not included in the price of the DNA test.
Services and Products
tellmeGen uses microarray technology to study more than 650, 000 SNP’s (single nucleotide polymorphism) located in the exome component of the genome. While this service does not evaluate a customer’s entire DNA, it examines the portion of DNA currently known to be linked to health and ancestry data to identify genetic variants. Their tests allow customers to discover and understand a limited number of disease risks and health concerns. tellmeGen offers separate DNA testing kits for children (ages 0-3 years) and for adults. Proper documentation is required to prove parental guardianship of children before guardians can perform child DNA tests.
How to use tellmeGen
After purchasing a tellmeGen DNA test kit, clients must register their kit with their tellmegen login on www.tellmegen.com. They will find options in the top right corner of the web page listed as “create account” or “my account.” Registration is done by creating a user account on the tellmeGen web platform and inputting the code associated with the individual kit. This code is located on the collection tube from the kit.
Following registration, clients must follow the included instructions to provide a saliva DNA sample. It is necessary for the sample to be as pure or clean as possible. To ensure this, tellmeGen recommends collecting the sample in the morning, before any foods or beverages have been consumed and before the client brushes their teeth. Alternatively, it is advised to wait a minimum of 30 minutes after eating, smoking, chewing gum, drinking, etc, before collecting the saliva sample. The child kit contains special buccal swabs to ensure safe and simple saliva collection.
The specimen must then be shipped to the tellmeGen testing facility in Spain. tellmeGen provides a prepaid shipping label and necessary documentation that the customer must fill out in full to ensure the specimen is able to pass customs.
Once mailed, there is a 4-6 week waiting time before tellmeGen results can be expected.
Review of TellmeGen Health Report
Included in the tellmeGen test results is a four part Health Map. This report begins with information on the individual’s genetic predisposition to over 125 common diseases/illnesses. The Health Map is further broken down by symptoms and risk factors for predispositions to disease as compared to the typical risk of an average person in the same race, age and gender as the client. This information can help customers determine if they are high risk or low risk compared to the average risk for common diseases and whether to seek additional health care. tellmeGen claims that knowledge of disease predisposition is vital, and gives customers the tools to take preventative measures based on their personal predispositions.
The following section is a diagnosis on an individual’s inherited monogenic diseases. Such complex diseases are inherited disorders caused in part by genetic mutations and alterations, and can impact personal health. For example, this section may illuminate any red flags for hereditary breast cancer or porphyria. Given that these traits are heritable, this section discusses possible implications on the health of a customer’s offspring as well.
The third section of the Health Map indicates pharmacologic compatibility, which indicates how the individual will biologically react to and process certain drugs. This acts as a starting point towards personalized medicine, and in conjunction with a professional medical opinion, can streamline pharmacologic healing. Unfortunately, due to FDA regulations, this portion of the report is not included for citizens of the United States. tellmeGen has indicated that this information will become available to these clients, free of charge, in the event of loosened FDA restrictions.
The last section of the personalized Health Map reveals how a customer’s genes affect personal traits, such as alcohol tolerance, antioxidant capacity, baldness propensity, pain sensitivity, etc. This can be beneficial information that aids the individual in understanding their body and catering a lifestyle that helps it to function optimally.
tellmeGen aims to create DNA testing in which customers can receive genetic information from anywhere, conducting DNA tests anywhere in the world with a device and sharing it with your doctor.
Review of tellmeGen Ancestry Report
The tellmeGen report also includes some basic ancestry information, however, the company is fairly honest in outlining that their database for this is minimal. The results display a simplistic map with ancestry percentages, and very little data pertaining to the context of these percentages. Specifically, the tellmeGen can tell individuals of their relation to 74 ethnic groups spread across 8 broad geographical areas. tellmeGen additionally does not include a DNA matching service to connect clients to individuals with comparable DNA, and therefore will not help in locating relatives or with developing a family tree.
tellmeGen plans to upgrade their ancestry information to include more of the human genome, stating that a future version of their services will analyze neanderthal ancestry and mitochondrial DNA, as well as Y-chromosomes in male users.
Exploring Your Genome
tellmeGen routinely updates the databases for all portions of their report, allowing customers to continuously have new genetic information as it becomes available. These updates are included in the cost of the DNA test kit, and provide customers with a consistently updated genetic analysis for the portion of DNA tested by tellmeGen. If users wish, they may download their raw data from the tellmeGen platform as a csv file.
If additional information is desired, tellmeGen offers to connect clients with their in-house geneticists, nutritionists, and medical professionals to further provide health-based counseling based on DNA results. These services are associated with additional costs. You can learn more about how their prices compare to other companies on our blog.
Review of other tellmeGen Services
Overall, tellmeGen offers a unique and beneficial service. Due to its lacklustre ancestry reporting and the fact that only a portion of DNA is evaluated, it may not be ‘the most complete genetic testing’ as claimed by their website.
However, their focus on client health provides an extensive profile of potential health complications that rivals other DNA testing services. The availability of in-house specialists to further analyze this health testing is an additional and cohesive benefit of tellmeGen, and is a somewhat uncommon service in the world of genetic testing kits.
Many questions regarding purchasing tellmeGen products, sample collection, accounts, and test results are answered on the company’s frequently asked questions page.
Review of tellmeGen Pros and Cons
|User-friendly reporting, with an emphasis on creating personalized and easily-absorbed information. Information is well organized.||Website is a little convoluted and poorly organized. For English speaking users, the language can be baffling as it is a Spanish company, and seems to be written by someone who is not a native English speaker.|
|Very comprehensive health reporting.||Limited ancestry data. No relative matching service provided.|
|Focus on customer service. Expect emailed inquiries to be responded to within 24 hours.||Consultation and specialist access come with an additional cost, which is not specified.|
|Offers virtual or in person medical consultations, nutrigenomic consultations, and access to genetic specialists.|
|Long list of unique traits included in the report.|
Review of tellmeGen Privacy and Data
tellmeGen emphasizes transparency throughout their website. This includes details on the machines and methods used to complete the DNA testing, as well as information pertaining to how they keep their client’s personal data confidential.
When the kit is registered to a customer’s tellmegen registered account, it is done so as an alphanumeric code. This ensures that personal information is not left vulnerable. Connections to and from their website use SSL cryptographic protocols aimed at keeping data private.
Other tellmeGen Reviews
tellmeGen is generally rated highly by consumers, as seen by its 4-star rating on Amazon. Additional tellmeGen reviews comparing 23andMe vs tellmeGen and AncestryDNA vs tellmeGen consistently rate tellmeGen as the better option for those most concerned with health evaluations, as seen on Verywell Health and Mashable.
What do consumers have to say about tellmeGen? Here are a few examples:
“Firstly I want to say the customer service is excellent with this company. Very fast responses and they try really hard. Unfortunately, I found the website to be a huge pain (numerous glitches and issues) and the turnaround time was also over 2+ months which is very long. The biggest downside is that they don’t give results for a lot of very important SNPs (i.e. MAO, mold, 17b-HSD, etc) and some of the results I got back were not accurate (i.e. Allele’s don’t match up to what they should be). Depending on what you need tested they might or might not provide SNP data for it (but that could be said for all the DNA tests). You also cannot upload the info into the big hitters such as genetic genie/Stratagene so you have all of this info but no way to really interpret it…” (One star, April 29, 2019)
“TellmeGen provide a very professional service and keep you updated on the progress of your sample from collection to results. We choose to be screened due to potential genetic issues with certain prescribed drugs. You are provided with a login/dashboard to register your kit and review your results. The results are very comprehensive and also include current scientific/academic literature. In addition, the customer service staff are very responsive and provide prompt answers to questions. Within each section, there is detailed information about a disease/drug/trait, etc together with symptoms, prevention, and the role that genetics play in the process. As part of your account, you can select genes that you do not want the results for i.e. if there is a potential for an inherited condition. Please note that it is always advisable to obtain genetic counseling if you consider that you might have inherited a life-limiting condition. The results are updated almost daily as new research becomes available. You can also download the raw data if required. They also offer medical consultations – additional fee – should you require.” (5 Star, May 8, 2018)
We finish our tellmeGen review with a look at Nebula Genomics.
The field of genetic research is expanding at a rate that most DNA testing companies cannot contend with. While tellmeGen currently offers a very comprehensive health-based genetic test in comparison to other home DNA testing services, the quality of their service lacks in its family history data and in their lack of complete DNA testing. The consistent updates provided by tellmeGen are useful- but only for the portion of DNA that they sequence and evaluate. As genetic research expands outside of this range, the efficacy of tellmeGen’s services may prove to be dated.
At Nebula Genomics, customers are able to have the most affordable 30x Whole-Genome Sequencing services. This allows customers to have the entirety of their DNA sequenced, thereby keeping up with the fast-paced field of DNA research. Nebula Genomics also provides extensive reporting that is updated weekly, use-friendly tools that simplify DNA data, and complete ancestry analysis in collaboration with FamilyTreeDNA (FTDNA). In addition to this, Nebula Genomics places individuals in control of their raw data, giving clients the option to download it in various formats, which may then be used in alternate DNA services. Below is a concise comparison of Nebula Genomics to tellmeGen, 23andMe, and AncestryDNA.
|DNA testing method||Microarray-based genotyping||Microarray-based genotyping||Microarray-based genotyping||Whole-genome sequencing|
|Focus on privacy||Yes||No||No||Yes (learn more)|
|Security technology used||SSL for data transfer, plus alphanumeric encryption of samples.||SSL for data transfer||Unspecified||Blockchain, privacy-preserving computing|
|Continuously updated results based on new research||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Data upload options||No||No||No||Yes|
|Tools to explore data||Yes||Limited||Limited||Yes (learn more)|
|Ancestry reporting||Limited||Yes||Yes||Deep ancestry reporting with full Y chromosome and mtDNA sequencing in collaboration with FTDNA.|
|Health reporting||Yes||Yes||No||Yes, with included tools to help analyze genes and genetic variants.|
|Cost||$130 – $235||$99, $199, or $499||$99 or $149||$0 – $299|
If you want to look at additional at-home DNA tests based on the exome and beyond, you may also be interested in:
- Ambry Genetics (clinical diagnostics)
- CircleDNA ($189 – $629)
- Dante Labs ($599)
- DNAFit (in collaboration with CircleDNA, DNAFit previously partnered with Helix DNA)
- Full Genomes ($525)
- GeneDx (clinical testing for rare diseases)
- Helix DNA ($145 + additional cost for the tellmeGen apps)
- Invitae (diagnostics)
- Myriad Genetics (clinical diagnostics for cancer)
- tellmeGen ($235)
- Veritas Genetics (whole genome sequencing for $599 – $3599)
Did you like our tellmeGen 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.