With so many different genealogical sites and companies offering DNA testing to determine ethnicity and ancestry it can be hard to stand out. Or, to know which site is the best choice. Living DNA Ancestry manages to be a rather budget friendly option while boasting to be one of the most region-specific tests out there. Living DNA tests and narrows down your ancestry over 80 different regions world-wide. This specificity can narrow down British ancestry to 21 different regions. Being able to narrow down your ancestry to much more region specific results is like no one else out there right now. While other tests may give you region-specific results those results are often from wide ranged regions such as Western Asia or East Europe. uses 26 regions to pinpoint your DNA, compare that to the 80 regions Living DNA uses and the difference is more than obvious.


Living DNA doesn’t just have an ultra-region specific testing process they also use testing that can track your DNA throughout history. Most DNA testing goes back 4 to 5 generations, Living DNA goes back throughout human history. Their tests track portions of your DNA to give you a detailed genetic and population history. Living DNA is leaps and bounds ahead of several other personal ancestry DNA tests and they have plans to stay ahead. Their site promises to allow takers of their DNA test to learn how much Neanderthal DNA they have sometime in early 2017.

Getting Started

Living DNA offers one test, regardless of whether the taker is male or female. You can order that test directly from their site for $159, which includes free delivery. This test is a swab test, so you will follow the directions provided to collect a cheek swab and then package it and send it back. Once you have your test in be sure to go online to the Living DNA site to activate the test. This helps to ensure that the test has been delivered to the right person and ensures your privacy and that the results go to the test taker. In about 10 to 12 weeks you will receive your online results.

Living DNA employs 3 separate testing processes all in one. This testing process will check chromosomes from your mother line through 4,500 mitochondrial markers and your family ancestry through 650,000 regular DNA markers. In males it will also test through the father line using 20,000 Y-chromosome markers. Living DNA uses their Orion chip to check 780,000 different locations in your genome for ancestry and ethnic information. Because their technology is progressing and evolving, anyone getting Living DNA testing will have their results updated as they learn new ways of testing and gain access to new databases for comparison.

Your Results

Living DNA provides two sets of results. The first are online and will provide you with your complete results. The second is a hard copy book you can order for an extra charge. Your online results will be available in roughly 10 to 12 weeks. The book, should you order it, will arrive 3 to 4 weeks after your online results are available. If you wish you can order your book or additional copies after your results come in. Living DNA does not compare your results to others who have tested. Their results won’t, at least at this time, let you know of any relatives or ancestors who DNA may be in their database. What it does give you is a very detailed region specific look at your ancestry throughout human history.


One of the biggest features that Living DNA touts is their detailed breakdown of British ancestry. Living DNA breaks down British ancestry into 21 different regions/ethnicities. Combining the information gained from The Peopling of the British Isles project with other data they are able to provide the most detailed breakdown of British ancestry of any company out there. Their testing results should give you an accurate picture of both where your ancestors originated from and emigrated to.

While Living DNA does not compare results to give you familial matches at this time they do allow you access to your raw data. With this raw data you can upload it to many free sites to compare your raw data and search for familial and ancestral matches. Though Living DNA uses a customized version of DNA testing, they have formatted their raw data to be backwards compatible with other companies.


Choosing the right DNA testing company comes down to several factors.  Living DNA may not be the cheapest testing option, but their prices are highly competitive. In reality for the amount of testing and the degree of specificity they offer Living DNA offers a low cost with a high value in return. It all comes down to your goals in getting tested and what you may already know about your ancestry. If you are fairly certain your ancestry has many roots in British Peoples then Living DNA’s ability to break down the regions of Britain into 21 different paths likely is the best possible choice for you. However, if you are relatively certain you don’t have much British ancestry you might not see as much value in the Living DNA test. Though, their testing does breakdown other larger regions of the world into smaller portions than most other testing companies.


Living DNA does not compare your DNA with anyone else they test. They do compare DNA to a database of famous DNA groups and will flag you if your DNA matches up with any of these “famous” DNA. However, if your hope is to find potential living relatives or ancestral matches Living DNA may not be the best choice for you. You do have full access to your raw data and can transfer it to another company that could do make those match ups. While the inability to make familial matches may be discouraging, Living DNA is constantly working to innovate and add more to their testing and all customers will have their results updated as new testing and results come available. So, while they may not be making comparisons and matches now if they do down the road you will automatically get those results at no extra charge.

Living DNA does not have a genealogical branch like, so if you want to use your DNA testing as a jumping off point to an online family tree they may not be the choice for you. For all the things Living DNA does not off the specificity in their region results is leaps and bounds ahead of the rest of industry. Combined with their ability to go back further than many other companies it is easy to see why so many are choosing to get their testing done with Living DNA.