tellmeGen review – Does it have all the answers?

tellmeGen Review Summary

tellmeGen is an DNA testing company that provides its customers with ancestry and health reports. Learn more in our tellmeGen review!

Nebula Genomics

Results
Price
Ease of use

Summary

tellmeGen offers comprehensive genetic testing and access to genetic counseling, although the latter service comes at an addition fee.

4.3

7 Facts from our tellmeGen Review

  1. Location: Valencia, Spain
  2. Services: Genetic testing, with separate testing options for adults and children. Provides access to genetic counseling, medical consultation, and nutrition counseling at additional costs
  3. Reports: Genetic predispositions to over 125 health conditions, inherited conditions, wellness, personal traits, ancestry data, and pharmacologic compatibility (not available to users in the United States)
  4. Result delivery: Reports delivered through the tellmeGen platform. Users can download their raw DNA data as a CSV format file 
  5. 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 
  6. Cost: $89 for one child or one adult Starter DNA kit; $149 for their Advanced option if purchased directly from tellmeGen. This company offers Duo and Family  test kits as bundles, which lowers the cost of every unit. Single test kits can be found on Amazon for approximately $130
  7. Alternatives: Nebula Genomics (Whole Genome Sequencing with regularly updated reports and advanced ancestry reporting)

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.

August 15, 2022

Edited by Christina Swords, Ph.D.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Report is well organized and easy to follow
  • Comprehensive health reporting
  • Focus on customer service. Expect emailed inquiries to be responded to within 24 hours
  • Virtual or in-person medical consultations, nutrigenomic consultations, and access to genetic specialists
  • Long list of unique traits included in the report

Cons

  • The DNA matching part is a work in progress
  • Consultation and specialist access come with an additional cost, which is not specified

Introduction

tellmeGen is 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. 

The company provides customers with detailed information regarding their genetic health and connects clients with customized genetic services. These services include genetic counseling, 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.

Did you know that DNA tests like tellmeGen decode only 0.02% of your DNA? At Nebula Genomics, we offer affordable Whole Genome Sequencing!

This complete 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 health and ancestry than any other DNA test! Click here to learn more!

Review of TellmeGen Services and Products

tellmeGen’s microarray technology studies more than 750,000 SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms) located in the exome component of the genome. While this service does not evaluate a customer’s entire DNA, it examines the portion currently known to be linked to health and ancestry data to identify genetic variants.

The tests allow customers to discover and understand disease risks and predispositions to disease. tellmeGen offers DNA testing kits for children (ages 0-3 years) and adults. Proper documentation is required to prove parental guardianship of children before guardians can perform child DNA tests.

tellmeGen kits
tellmeGen kits

tellmeGen offers two products: The starter kit and the advanced kit.

The offer consists of two main tiers: Starter and Advanced. The main difference between these two categories (besides the price tag) is the number of aspects detailed in the report.

In the case of the Starter kits, patients get 90 aspects of well-being, traits and ancestry, and the option to contact genetic relatives.

On the other hand, the Advanced option studies and cracks 400 aspects. This one also includes health and drug compatibility. This means that users of this tier not only get the option to implement changes to avoid health issues in the future. They will also be able to reduce or eliminate substances with possible side effects.

How to use tellmeGen

After purchasing a tellmeGen DNA test kit, clients must register it.

After registration, clients must follow the instructions to collect a saliva DNA sample. The saliva sample must be as pure or clean as possible. To ensure this, tellmeGen recommends collecting it in the morning, before consuming any foods or beverages, and before the client brushes their teeth.

Alternatively, users can wait a minimum of 30 minutes after eating, smoking, chewing gum, drinking, etc. The child kit contains special buccal swabs to ensure safe and simple saliva collection. 

The sample must then be shipped to the tellmeGen testing facility in Spain. tellmeGen provides a prepaid shipping label and documentation the customer must complete to ensure the sample can pass customs.

Once mailed, there is a 4-6 week waiting time before tellmeGen results can be expected.

Review of TellmeGen Health Report

The report is divided into six sections, identifiable with tabs. It begins with information on the individual’s genetic predisposition to over 125 common diseases/illnesses. 

The report is further broken down by symptoms and genetic risk factors for predispositions. These complex diseases are compared to the average risk of a person of the same race, age, and gender. This information can help customers determine if they need to seek additional health care if needed. 

The following section is a diagnosis of an individual’s inherited monogenic diseases. Such disorders are caused partly by genetic mutations and changes that can impact personal health. For example, this section may highlight any red flags for hereditary breast cancer or porphyria compared to typical risk. Given that these traits are heritable, this part also discusses possible implications on the health of a customer’s offspring.

A sample of a tellmegen report on porphyria
tellmeGen sample reports are useful in determining the carrier status of heritable issues among family members and understanding genetic health as a family

The third section of the Health Map indicates pharmacologic compatibility, which shows 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 U.S. citizens. tellmeGen has indicated that this information will become available to these clients, free of charge, in the event of loosened FDA restrictions. 

A sample of a tellmegen report on pharmacologic compatibility
Another section of the report focuses on pharmacologic compatibility

The fourth section of the personalized Health Map reveals how a customer’s genes affect personal traits. These include alcohol tolerance, resistance to a particular treatment, baldness propensity, and pain sensitivity. It can be helpful information to aid the individual in understanding their body and catering to a lifestyle that helps them function optimally. 

After having more relevant data on how health and wellness are linked to genetics, the company now offers a Wellness section. It includes items such as caffeine and anxiety, HDL and LDL cholesterol levels, vitamin levels, and several more. This information helps users adapt their lifestyle and diet according to what the test results reveal their metabolism is like. 

A section of the report on high blood pressure
A section of the report on high blood pressure

The last section of the report, Ancestry, is discussed below.

Review of tellmeGen Ancestry Report 

The tellmeGen report also includes ancestry information. The service identifies and refines a significant portion of your DNA variation. Then, it compares it with that of thousands of reference individuals belonging to different ethnic groups. The ancestry results display a map with ancestry percentages and data about the context of these percentages.

Specifically, the tellmeGen report can tell individuals their relation to 74 ethnic groups spread across eight broad geographical areas. tellmeGen does not include a DNA matching service to connect people to individuals with comparable DNA and, therefore, will not help locate relatives or develop a family tree. 

The Ancestry portion includes three main results, each focusing on a distinct genome section.

The Maternal Lineage breaks down the mitochondrial haplogroup to describe the path taken by a user’s maternal ancestors. An interesting selling point of this portion of the results is the claim that celebrities have made their tests public. This allows users to compare their results against these famous people to find out if they share a haplogroup. 

A new portion of the Ancestry tellmeGen report is the paternal lineage. The company now traces men’s Y chromosome promising to find your ancestors back to 250,000 years. tellmeGen keeps the celebrities’ promise for this portion too.

Another new part of the Ancestry report is the “Know your Neanderthal DNA percentage.” As the name indicates, it looks into what portion of your DNA comes from the interbreeding of Neanderthals and Homo sapiens thousands of years ago. This information contributes to the map that tellmeGen displays on the front of this report section.

Exploring Your Genome 

tellmeGen routinely updates the databases for all portions of its 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 DNA portion tested by tellmeGen. Users may download their raw data from the platform as a .csv file. 

World map showing colorized sections and percent of ancestry from different locations for a user
tellmeGen ancestry provides a minimalist view of your ancestor’s possible geographical location

If additional information is desired, tellmeGen offers to connect clients with its in-house geneticists, nutritionists, and medical professionals to further provide health-based counseling based on DNA results. However, these services come with additional costs. You can learn more about how its prices compare to other companies on our blog.

Review of tellmeGen Privacy and Data

The Valencian company emphasizes transparency throughout its website. This includes details on the machines and methods used to complete the DNA testing and keeping its client’s data confidential. 

The kit is registered to a customer’s tellmegen registered account as an alphanumeric code. This ensures that personal information is not left vulnerable. Connections to and from the 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 reviews comparing tellmeGen with 23andMe and Ancestry DNA consistently rate it as the better option for those most concerned with health evaluations.

A five-star review from 2018 noted that the company is very professional. It included comprehensive results in their aim to get more information regarding genetic results and interaction with prescribed drugs. They also liked that the results were updated almost daily as new research became available.

One customer from 2019 also praised the company’s excellent customer service but had difficulty with the website. They also cited long processing times and incomplete information in their one-star review. Another downside is that you cannot upload your data to certain sites, such as Genetic Genie.

Nebula Genomics

Genetic research is expanding at a rate that many DNA testing companies strive to keep up with. tellmeGen continues to improve its health-based genetic test and has heightened the quality of its family history data service. The consistent updates are useful – but only for the portion of DNA that gets sequenced and evaluated. For a complete DNA test which includes these aspects and more, the gold standard has proven to be whole genome sequencing.

At Nebula Genomics, customers have an exceptionally affordable 30x Whole-Genome Sequencing service. We keep up with the fast-paced field of genetic research and provide our customers with DNA sequencing of the entire genome.

Nebula Genomics also provides extensive reporting with regular updates, use-friendly tools that simplify DNA data, and complete ancestry analysis. In addition, Nebula Genomics places individuals in control of their raw data. We give the option to download data 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. 

tellmeGen23andMeAncestryDNANebula Genomics
DNA testing methodMicroarray-based genotypingMicroarray-based genotypingMicroarray-based genotyping30x Whole-genome sequencing
Focus on privacyYesNoNoYes (learn more)
Security technology usedSSL for data transfer, plus alphanumeric encryption of samplesSSL for data transferUnspecifiedBlockchain, privacy-preserving computing
Continuously updated results based on new researchYesYesYesYes
Data upload optionsNoNoNoYes
Tools to explore dataYesLimitedLimitedYes (learn more)
Ancestry reporting Limited YesYesDeep ancestry reporting with full Y chromosome and mtDNA sequencing
Health reportingYesYesNoYes, with included tools to help analyze genes and genetic variants.  
Cost$149 – $369$99 or $199$99 or $119$0, $99, $299

If you want to look at additional at-home DNA tests based on the exome and beyond, you may also be interested in:

  • 24Genetics (various tests for health, ancestry, sports, skin, pharmacogenomics, WES, and WGS)
  • Ambry Genetics (clinical diagnostics)
  • CircleDNA (gene sequencing service and genetic counseling)
  • Dante Labs (30x whole genome sequencing, most reports are available at an additional cost)
  • DNAFit (in collaboration with CircleDNA, DNAFit previously partnered with Helix DNA)
  • Full Genomes (options to upload data or test for a comprehensive report)
  • GeneDx (clinical testing for rare diseases)
  • Helix DNA (whole exome sequencing and app marketplace)
  • Invitae (diagnostics)
  • Myriad Genetics (clinical diagnostics for cancer)
  • PerkinElmer Genomics (WES, WGS, newborn screening, and more)
  • Veritas Genetics (30x whole genome sequencing and advanced diagnostics)

Learn more about whole exome sequencing, the importance of sequencing Y-DNA and mtDNA and things like paternity testing.

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.