YSEQ review – Does the quality meet the price?

yseq-review

YSEQ Review Summary

YSEQ is a DNA testing company that offers a variety of tests for decoding the Y chromosome and other parts of the genome. Learn more in our YSEQ review!

Nebula Genomics

Results
Price
Interface

Summary

YSEQ uses multiple next-generation sequencing products to analyze DNA however they tend to be more expensive than competitors and the interface can be difficult to navigate.

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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.

March 7, 2022

Edited by Christina Swords, Ph.D.

7 Facts from our YSEQ Review

  1. YSEQ location: Germany
  2. Services: multiple next-generation sequencing products (Y-chromosome DNA testing, mtDNA, and whole-genome sequencing)
  3. Data download: raw DNA data download available
  4. Reports: Custom sequencing products; no DNA interpretation reports
  5. Privacy: strict application of confidentiality but open to disclosing information with your permission or under other pressing circumstances
  6. Cost: ranges from less $100 to over $1500
  7. Alternatives: Nebula Genomics (the most affordable 30x Whole Genome Sequencing)

YSEQ Introduction

YSEQ is a direct-to-consumer genetic testing company that primarily offers Y chromosome sequencing tests and services.

In recent years, the company has expanded and now offers mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and autosomal DNA tests (whole genome sequencing). Based in Germany, YSEQ was established in 2013 by Thomas and Astrid Krahn, former Family Tree DNA employees. 

With YSEQ, users have full power to decide the exact regions of the Y chromosome or mtDNA they want to sequence. True to the company’s tagline, “YSEQ: DNA Origins Project,” it caters to users who want to better understand their ancestry.

While the company offers an impressive range of custom sequencing options, this offer does not include reports with DNA interpretation. Instead, most users must use third-party services, such as YFull, to interpret their raw data.

Get your 30x Whole Genome Sequencing at a much lower cost than YSEQ and with an added bonus: Nebula Genomics also provides regular updates based on the latest scientific discoveries. Click here to learn more about yourself at a price you can’t beat!

How does YSEQ Work?

Review of YSEQ Services: The Basics of SNPs, STRs, and Haplogroups

Single nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs, are differences in DNA sequences at a single nucleotide level. For example, when DNA sequences from two individuals differ at a single point, it is called an SNP. 

On the other hand, short tandem repeats, or STRs, are a series of repeated DNA sequences that differ between individuals. Identifying the number of repeats at specific areas of the genome can create a “DNA fingerprint”. This genomic fingerprint may be used to determine someone’s genealogy. 

Together, SNPs and STRs are markers that can be inherited. A combination of such markers is known as a haplotype. Different Y-DNA and mtDNA tests for different haplotypes may assign people to a specific “haplogroup”. For example, while Y-DNA tests can tell us more about paternal origins, mtDNA tests tell us about maternal lineages. 

The services offered by YSEQ are based on testing STRs and SNPs found in the Y chromosome and in mitochondrial DNA. The test can reveal ancestral origins and genes associated with common ancestors. 

You can choose from many fixed Y chromosome haplogroup panels and STR marker panels. In addition, there are custom haplogroup panels and a near-endless number of custom SNPs. 

Once users send their DNA to YSEQ, it is stored with the company in case further analyses are required. 

Prices for haplogroup panels
Prices for some of the haplogroup panels

Review of YSEQ Y Chromosome Haplogroups

There are 77 strict haplogroup panels and 179 custom haplogroup panels to choose from. Each one represents different ancestral origins. 

YSEQ recommends that first-time users order the Top Level Orientation Panel, which costs $159 and covers all the haplogroups. In this panel, YSEQ does multiple rounds of testing to determine your exact position in the Y chromosome ancestral tree.

It first determines whether you belong to the M169 or M9 category. Once this information is available, it works down the tree to determine your super-clade. Each super-clade corresponds to different ancestral origins. For example, Haplogroup D-M174 is found in East Asia and the Andaman Islands. 

The other 76 defined haplogroup panels are more specific, and cost between $88 and $99. Again, previous results from other tests can help users understand which specific haplogroup panel they would like to order. 

YSEQ Y chromosome haplogroup tree
YSEQ Y chromosome haplogroup tree

For example, the Q Superclade Panel is for users who have other STR tests that point them in this direction. YSEQ will test the users for defining markers in this panel and then work its way down the ancestral tree. 

YSEQ Q Superclade Panel
YSEQ Q Superclade Panel

In addition to the 77 defined haplogroup panels, YSEQ also offers 179 custom panels that work similarly to family finders offered by other DNA testing services.

These panels are highly specific and more expensive ($89 – $509). For example, the E1a1-Z31503 Phelps Panel is recommended for the “Phelps” surname origin. Similarly, the E1b-L1019 Goodrich Panel is for people named Goodrich. YSEQ is a good option for genetic genealogists interested in such genographic projects.

If you are particularly interested in genographic projects related to the British Isles, you should also check out Living DNA.

Review of YSEQ Y Chromosome STRs, SNPs, and Panels

YSEQ offers 9 combined STR panels ($25-$99), 125 specific STRs ($9.95-$15), and 131,611 SNPs ($1 each) to choose from. If a SNP test is not available, users can put in a special request. Since each SNP corresponds to a different haplogroup, users can create their custom haplogroup panel for testing. 

However, this level of customizable testing requires a certain amount of prior knowledge and research. Users need to know their specific family history, have preliminary tests, and know the exact haplogroup they want to further investigate.   

Review of YSEQ mtDNA tests

YSEQ offers 4 YSEQ mtDNA tests. Two YSEQ tests are for the mitochondrial hyper-variable region 1 (HPV1, $25) and region 2 (HPV2, $25). Users can also test their entire mitochondrial DNA ($145) or upgrade from HPV1 or HPV2 to the full mitochondrial DNA ($115).

There are also 30 additional mtDNA custom panels corresponding to specific regions of the mitochondrial DNA ($15-$60).

Review of YSEQ Full Genome Sequencing

YSEQ offers three levels of full genome sequencing, specifically for genealogy researchers. Once the YSEQ team receives the sample, it measures the DNA concentration and conducts quality control. It then sends it off for sequencing on a NovaSeq 6000 platform. Finally, from the raw DNA FASTQ files, it annotates all Y chromosome SNPs and provides mtDNA haplogroups. 

  • Whole Genome Sequence 45 GBases: $579, Provides 15x coverage
  • Whole Genome Sequence 90 Gbases: $929, Provides 30x coverage
  • Whole Genome Sequence 150 Gbases: $1559, Provides 50x coverage

YSEQ conducts no medical or health analysis of the DNA data. 

Review of YSEQ Results

Although YSEQ does not do any DNA analysis or interpretation, users can see whether they test positive or negative for the reported haplogroups. Users also get a table to see if they are ancestral (negative) or derived (positive) for SNPs.

YSEQ provides users with result pages for whole-genome sequencing that include a list of SNPs found in the data with their ancestral states. 

Users can export their data to third-party websites (such as YFull) if they want further analysis. 

Downloading Your YSEQ Data

Customers can download their whole-genome sequencing data or get it mailed on a micro SD card. However, YSEQ does not provide information about downloading the Y chromosome or mtDNA data and does not specify data formats. 

Review of YSEQ Privacy

Once users send their DNA to YSEQ, it is stored and processed in Houston, Texas, in case further analysis are required. When users send a sample and apply for the service, they automatically consent to the use of their data for internal research and development. 

The statement mentions a consent form that users sign for specific services. If there is no consent form for a particular service, the Privacy Policy stands. 

YSEQ takes all responsibility for keeping personal information private. However, it makes “enough general information public to allow [YSEQ] to build a DNA database library usable for genealogical purposes.”

With user consent, this data can be used for biological research purposes. Your information will be anonymized unless explicitly requested by YSEQ. Users can contact Thomas Krahn and Astrid Krahn on the website.

YSEQ in the News

As a DNA testing company specializing in ancestral genetics and genealogy, YSEQ has not been particularly featured in the news. Here are a few articles, featured in Italian news websites:

Other YSEQ Reviews

The company does not have many third party reviews online. However, there are about 250 customer generated reviews on its website. The ratings range from 1 to 5 stars. The customers who gave lower reviews note the long wait times. Higher reviewers shared interesting results and many noted that they confirmed suspected origins.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • An incredible number of options for Y chromosome DNA testing, with lots of room for customization
  • YSEQ makes it easy to narrow down the user’s ancestry, with many different tests to do it
  • Full genome sequencing is available as an option at very high coverage (50x)
  • Users can request their own SNPs and STRs

Cons

  • Options are not as extensive for mtDNA or full genome sequencing
  • Costs can pile up as more follow-up tests are done on the same data
  • Users need to do their own research to interpret the data or pay extra money to third party DNA analysis tools
  • Very expensive full genome sequencing
  • The website is difficult to navigate

Nebula Genomics

Nebula Genomics is different from YSEQ and other genetic testing companies because it focuses on providing extensive data analysis. This data analysis can extend to the entire genome instead of just one or two regions of a chromosome. 

We want you to have the best experience on our website. With full access to genome exploration tools, you can analyze your genetic data at any time without fearing hidden fees or costs. Unlike other companies, we use the newest research to regularly update your genetic reports. Furthermore, our reports contain much more than just genetic ancestry. 

Less Effort For You

Whether it’s ancestry or health, we will do the research for you. Our intuitive interface allows you to unlock and understand your DNA data with minimal effort. 

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. 

Your data is stored on secure servers and is always encrypted. You can read more about the importance of DNA privacy.

More than Just Ancestry with Nebula Expand

Already have DNA data from other companies? You can upload it 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 can 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 regularly. You have immediate access to hundreds of traits in the Nebula Research Library with no hidden fees. 

Nebula Genomics 30x Whole Genome Sequencing

Our goal has always been to put the power in your hands.  

The DNA testing methods used by other companies only provide data from a portion of your genome. This data may often be from just one chromosome. 

This means that you may miss out on valuable information. With our 30x Whole Genome Sequencing service, we read 100% of your DNA. That is 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 YSEQ, 23andMe, AncestryDNA, and Nebula Genomics.

YSEQ23andMeAncestryDNANebula Genomics
DNA testing methodY-chromosome sequencing, mtDNA sequencing, whole-genome sequencing (15x-50x coverage)GenotypingGenotypingWhole Genome Sequencing (30x coverage)
DNA reportsNot providedOne full reportOne full reportAn extended report that is updated regularly
Y-DNA, mtDNA, and Ancestry ReportingYes, but you have to purchase mtDNA and Y DNA separately. Users need to do their own research. YesYesDeep ancestry reporting with a full Y chromosome and mtDNA sequencing
Data ownershipUnclear whom the data belongs to Unclear. The customer can have their saliva destroyedUnclear. The customer can delete/destroy DNA and dataYour data permanently belongs to you
Focus on privacyYesNoNoYes (You can learn more on our website)
Security technology usedUnclearStandard security protocols like SSLStandard security protocols like SSLBlockchain, privacy-preserving computing
Data upload optionsYes, with a feeNoNoYes. Imputation enables an expanded report
Free updates based on new researchNoNoNoThere are regular updates to the report (learn more)
Tools to explore dataNoneLimitedLimitedYes (learn more)
Data accessData can be downloaded, but the format is unclearYes (23andMe format file)Yes (AncestryDNA format file)Yes (FASTQ, BAM, and VCF files)
CostVaries depending on individual needs. Can be as high as $1559$99 or $199$99 or $308$0, $99, $299

Check out more of the blog to learn more about the importance of sequencing Y-DNA and mtDNA and paternity testing.

Interested in whole genome sequencing? You can check out these other products:

Or would you like to contribute to genomic research but be compensated? Check our our Luna DNA review!

Did you like our YSEQ review? You can read more reviews on our blog, including YFull that offers a similar product, and check out our complete guide to the best DNA test kit and other home tests.