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.
October 1, 2020
Table of Contents
- 7 Facts from our WeGene Review
- WeGene Introduction
- How Does WeGene Work?
- Review of WeGene Results
- Downloading Your WeGene Data
- Review of WeGene Privacy
- WeGene in the News
- WeGene Reviews
- Review of WeGene Pros and Cons
- Nebula Genomics
Edited by Christina Swords, Ph.D.
7 Facts from our WeGene Review
- WeGene location: Shenzhen, China
- Products: ancestry and trait reporting East Asian descent, who may often receive inaccurate results from other companies
- Data upload option: available (e.g. for 23andMe data)
- Data download: available
- Privacy: relatively weak; WeGene may share customer data for many reasons
- Costs: $85 (genotyping), $566 (Whole Genome Sequencing)
- Alternatives: Nebula Genomics (Whole Genome Sequencing with weekly updated reports (incl. health information) and advanced ancestry reporting)
This is a review of WeGene, a genetic testing company, based in Shenzhen, China. Founded in 2015, the company has been focusing on creating a robust East Asian genetic database. Their goal is to provide more accurate ancestry results for consumers of East Asian and Southeast Asian (e.g. Southern Han) descent. Overall, the company aims to include all 56 Chinese ethnic groups, in addition to other East Asian populations.
Using genomic information, WeGene provides a variety of genetic test results, including ancestry, nutritional reports, and weight loss information. Like many other genetic testing companies, they allow users to either order a DNA test or upload raw DNA data. However, it is important to note that many testing services are not available to an international market.
How Does WeGene Work?
As a company that is primarily based in China, WeGene has two separate websites. One website is dedicated to its Asia-based audience and the second one for an international audience. Based on which website is accessed, the company offers different services and DNA testing kits.
Review of the WeGene International (English) Website
The international Wegene DNA test services offered by WeGene are limited to DNA analysis of pre-existing genetic data. If users have DNA data from Nebula Genomics, 23andMe, or other companies, they can upload it onto the company’s servers. Reports include Wegene ancestry DNA results and genetic health risk analysis.
However, the website does say that a “WeGene Personal Genome Service Test” will be coming soon! This test is currently valued to be $99, but further specifications are not listed (e.g. number of genetic markers).
Review of the WeGene Main Website
The main WeGene website, which is displayed only in Chinese, has an impressive range of services. In addition to importing DNA data from other websites, users can also send in their saliva for a DNA test. All the steps for purchasing and receiving a DNA report are clearly listed. All tests use an FDA-approved DNA Genotek saliva collection tube.
WeGene Detection Standard Version 2.0: This test is valued at ￥599.00 ($85.00). For sequencing, the test uses a customized Illumina BeadChip that is optimized for Chinese populations. The company claims to test 1.2 million sites in the genome. Once they have the data, the reports take 2 weeks to process.
WeGene Whole Genome Sequencing Elite Edition: This test is valued at ￥3999.00 ($566). For full genome sequencing, the company uses a high throughput sequencer developed by BGI.
Additional services offered by WeGene include comparing ancestral similarity, like Native American or European ancestry, with other users, and surname tracing. Furthermore, users can look for “unknown genetic relatives”, and compare their Wegene DNA results with family members and friends.
Users also have the opportunity to take quizzes to participate in genetic research. These questionnaires are provided by universities, such as the Shanghai Academy of Life Sciences. Topics include predisposition to sensitive skin, dizziness, and more. There are even questionnaires to study behavior during the COVID19 self-isolation period.
People can also create their own “micro interpretation” projects. These projects are typically quizzes that can be taken by anyone with DNA results. Users can even like and comment on these quizzes.
Lastly, WeGene provides a highly active discussion forum for users to talk about their results. With the aforementioned services, the company has merged their DNA testing website with a social media and research platform.
Review of WeGene Results
The International (English) Website
The international WeGene website only provides two reports for imported DNA data.
The first ancestry report includes information on ancestry composition, neanderthal ancestry, and maternal and paternal haplogroups.
The second health risk report includes information on an individual’s predisposition to a genetic health condition. This report is based on the gene variants in their DNA data. Furthermore, users can choose whether or not to receive health reports about certain diseases.
WeGene makes sure to highlight that these results are not concrete predictions. Rather, the website encourages users to contact licensed genetic counselors.
The Main Website
On their main website, WeGene offers a report of nine sections regardless of which DNA kit is purchased.
Ancestry analysis: For individuals of East Asian heritage, the company reports specific regional Asian ancestry. Furthermore, they report the paternal and maternal haplogroups.
Sports genes: This interesting analysis tells the users their predicted basal metabolic rate. More results analyze their sensitivity to carbohydrates, caffeine, and saturated fats. Sub-reports include a section on exercise response, weight loss, and even predictions for strength and endurance.
Nutrition Metabolism: This report includes the user’s metabolic capacity for caffeine and lactose, in addition to vitamin and mineral requirements.
Health Risks: This report calculates the user’s genetic risk to over 100 diseases. The genetic risk is reported in comparison to the population. For each disease, WeGene also reports symptoms, suggestions, related comorbidities, specific gene variants, and additional risk factors. At the end of each disease, there is also a list of references for further reading.
Inherited Diseases: Instead of genetic risks, this report includes traits that the user has inherited based on single genes or mutations. For each disease, WeGene reports the number of genes that contribute to the disease. They also provide the average age of onset, detection, specific gene loci, and more.
Drug Guides: This report highlights the predicted optimal dosage for a number of different drugs.
Genetic Characteristics: A number of genetic traits are highlighted. Reports include blood type, the tendency to have deeper sleep, genetic height, and more.
Skin Properties: This report includes the user’s predisposition to tanning, freckles, skin dryness, oil control, cellulite, and more.
For users who purchase the whole genome sequencing option, there is an additional “whole-genome report”. Compared to the number of traits in the regular report, the whole-genome results do not add much value. There are 229 additional traits available to the user, with most (189) being genetic risks.
Downloading Your WeGene Data
Users can access their raw DNA data at any time. Furthermore, since WeGene uses different sequencing technology, they provide their data in additional formats, like 23&Me and Ancestry. This allows users to upload their data onto these other websites.
Review of WeGene Privacy
There are also eleven different instances where WeGene may share your data. These include circumstances related to public health, legal news reporting, and academic research for the public interest.
All information collected is stored in the People’s Republic of China. Personal information is saved until the account is canceled.
WeGene also has an additional bioethics community to ensure the ethical handling of data.
WeGene in the News
As a company that serves a large population of East Asia, WeGene has been in a number of news articles. Let’s review WeGene press coverage.
- ‘It made me question my ancestry’: does DNA home testing really understand race?
- Chinese DTC Genomics Firm WeGene Plans to Go International, Expand Cohort Research Who am I? Hunt for heritage drives Chinese to DNA tests
- China embraces a revolution in genetic testing, seeking answers on destiny and identity
- Who are you? DNA tests help Chinese retrace ancient steps
- WeGene Review from Top 10 DNA Tests: 7.9/10 (For the main Chinese website)
- Ancestry DNA Testing WeGene Review: 3/5 (This review is primarily for the English website)
- GenomeLink Review: “Did 23andMe call you “East Asian”? Check out WeGene to find out where you are really from!”
- The Best DNA Tests Review
- Louis Kessler’s Behold Blog: WeGene Review
- 23andMe + WeGene + MyHeritage Genetic Test Results Review on YouTube
Review of WeGene Pros and Cons
|– An incredible website for individuals of East Asian descent, who may often receive inaccurate results from other companies.|
– The main Chinese website is incredible and offers many services.
– For East Asian users, there are over nine reports that are updated for life.
– Each report has an extensive list of references.
– Reports are updated with newer research.
|– Currently not optimal for those who are not of East Asian descent.|
– The majority of their reference genomes are from East Asia.
– The international website does not offer many services.
– International users cannot order a DNA test, and receive only two reports from imported data.
– International users may use the Chinese website but must translate the reports to English.
– The full genome sequence reports do not offer much additional value.
We finish our WeGene review with a comparison to Nebula Genomics and other DNA tests.
Nebula Genomics is distinct from WeGene and other genetic testing companies. We focus on providing extensive data analysis for all people. This data analysis can extend to the entire genome, with immense additional value.
Our goal is to provide you with the best experience on our website. With full access to genome exploration tools, you can analyze your genetic data any time without fearing hidden fees or costs. Unlike other companies, we use the newest research to create genetic reports that are accurate for everyone.
Nebula Genomics: Available Everywhere, to Everyone
Our services are available in almost every country in the world!
With Great Data Comes Great Responsibility
At Nebula Genomics, we understand and value your privacy above everything else. Ownership and control over your data are solely in your hands. If you choose to share your data with researchers, you can choose to be compensated. There are no third party applications or advertisers with access to your data.
Your data is stored on secure servers and is always encrypted. You can read more about the importance of DNA privacy here.
Additional Value with Nebula Expand
Already have DNA data from other companies? You can upload your DNA data to receive a Nebula Genomics expanded report. Our reports provide more information than other genetic companies, which use DNA genotyping methods based on microarrays. We are able to fill in the blanks using our advanced statistical models, called imputation.
Instead of having limited and static reports for individual genetic traits, our reports are updated weekly. You have immediate access to hundreds of traits in the Nebula Research Library, without any hidden fees.
Nebula Genomics 30x Whole Genome Sequencing (NEW!)
Our goal has always been to put the power in your hands.
This means that you may miss out on valuable information. With our new 30x Whole Genome Sequencing service, we read 100% of your DNA. In other words, you review a fuller picture of your DNA. We are able to provide you with 10,000 times more data, which we use to give you an extensive report .
Picking the best place for your DNA test is a very important decision. To make the decision a bit easier, here is a comparison of WeGene, 23andMe results, AncestryDNA tests, and Nebula Genomics.
|DNA Testing Method||Genotyping||Genotyping||Illumina BeadChip, with full genome sequencing with BGI. Coverage information not included||Whole Genome Sequencing (30x coverage)|
|DNA Reports||One full report||One full report||Nine reports, with one additional whole-genome report||An extended report that is updated weekly (learn more)|
|Y-DNA, mtDNA, and Ancestry Reporting||Yes||Yes||Yes, but ancestry reporting is mainly accurate for East Asian users||Deep ancestry reporting with full Y chromosome and mtDNA sequencing|
|Ownership of Data||Unclear. The customer can have saliva destroyed||Unclear. The customer can delete/destroy DNA and data||Unclear whom the data belongs to||Your data permanently belongs to you|
|Focus on Privacy||No||No||Yes||Yes (learn more)|
|Security technology used||Standard security protocols like SSL.||Standard security protocols like SSL.||Unclear||Blockchain, privacy-preserving computing|
|Data Upload Options||No||No||Yes||Yes. Imputation enables an expanded report|
|Free updates based on new research||No||No||Yes||There are weekly updates to the report (learn more)|
|Tools to Explore Data||Limited||Limited||Limited||Yes (learn more)|
|Data Access||Yes (23andMe format file)||Yes (AncestryDNA format file)||Data can be downloaded, in various formats||Yes (FASTQ, BAM and VCF files)|
|Cost||$99, $199, or $499||$99 or $149||Varies depending on individual needs. $99-$566||$0 – $299|
If you are interested in ancestry or health risk information, you should also look into AncestryDNA (basic ancestry and health test), 23andMe (basic ancestry and health test), or even tests specific for African ancestry.
Other DNA upload sites to check out are:
- 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)
- GeneFood (data upload and a personalized nutrition test)
- Gene Heritage (inherited allele reports)
- Genetic Genie (free for health reporting)
- LiveWello (variance reports and community sharing)
- Living DNA (free upload for ancestry)
- MyHeritage (free upload for genealogy)
- MyTrueAncestry (learn your connection to ancient populations)
- Silverberry Genomix (free upload and options to purchase additional reports)
- yourDNAportal (free expanded reports on health and ancestry)
If you have whole genome sequencing data, also take a look at YFull for Y-DNA and mtDNA analysis.
Interested in ancestry or genetic genealogy? You may be interested in these other reviews:
- 23andMe (basic ancestry test)
- 24Genetics (ancestry test)
- African Ancestry (African lineages)
- AncestryDNA (basic ancestry test)
- CRI Genetics (basic ancestry test)
- DNA Ancestry Project (Y DNA and mtDNA for genetic genealogy)
- DNA Consultants (specific ethnicities)
- DNA Land (free DNA upload for trait and ancestry analysis)
- Findmypast (genealogy for those with British and Irish ancestry)
- HomeDNA Ancestry (migration history based on gene pools)
- iGenea (percentages origins, relatives, ancient tribes, and famous people)
- LifeDNA (upload and health reports, DNA kit and updates available at an additional cost)
- TheGenealogist (UK based genealogy service)
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.
Did you like our WeGene review? You can read more reviews on our blog and check out our complete guide to the best DNA test kit and other home tests.