• 15/06/2021


Living DNA can provide a snapshot of your genetic makeup and may be particularly useful to those of British Isles ancestry.

Living DNA, while relatively new to the direct-to-consumer testing market, boasts a vast team of researchers, scientists and genetics experts that work with a number of educational institutions and consortiums to hone and refine our knowledge of the migrations of our ancestors.


Excellent for finding out more about your ethnicity Turnaround time from test to results is slower than other testing companies
Receive updated ethnicity information as the company refines data compiled from its testers Lacks some genetic genealogy features and tools available from other testing companies
Offers results in optional hard copy format which would make a great gift
Ability to download raw data to get health information or use genealogical tools from other vendors

Pricing and Collection

Living DNA’s test is what they call a 3-in-1 test as it looks at your autosomal DNA, Y-DNA (if you are a male) and your mtDNA. Autosomal DNA is DNA that you inherited from all lines of your family ancestry. Your autosomal DNA is made up of random segments of DNA passed down generation to generation from approximately 6 – 10 generations ago. Y-DNA, on the other hand, is only carried by males as the Y chromosome is a sex chromosome and men inherit a Y chromosome from their father and an X chromosome from their mother, and women get an X chromosome from each of their parents. Therefore, men’s Y line of descent traces only their direct male to male line or patriline. mtDNA, or mitochondrial DNA, is passed from mothers only to both their male and female children and therefore traces the testers direct matriline.

DNA Test £99 + postage (approx. $130)

How do I take the test?

The test itself usually arrives within a week and is straightforward to use.

  1. The kit is a swab test that should be taken at least half an hour after you have eaten or drank anything.
  2. Swab your cheek with the supplied swabs and place them in the vial. Repeat with the second swab.
  3. Once you have activated your kit online using the provided activation code you are ready to ship your test kit back to the lab.
  4. Results at Living DNA are a bit slower than other vendors to appear, taking about 10 to 12 weeks.

It is of note that you can purchase an optional hard copy of your results that one can imagine may make a great gift for a family member or just to keep along with your other family history materials to be passed down to family members.

Features and Reports

Once you have received notification your results are back, it is time to log in and explore.

Firstly, your family tree ancestry results will show you a general overview of your geographical origins followed by information about how your origins are determined. From here you can view more information about the migration of your ancestors and a visual representation plus a visual representation of your genetic mixture in the past 10 generations. A video presentation also gives further detailed information about the ancient migrations of your ancestors.

The Motherline and Fatherline section of the results is laid out in a similar fashion. Details of your haplogroups can be found here along with information about migrations presented with a map showing how your ancestors migrated around the world. Information about haplogroups and particularly the phylogenetic tree helps you understand where you fit in these genetic maps of humankind.

Upcoming Feature

Despite Living DNA being more concentrated on population genetics, they are looking to expand their service and will soon be launching a new feature called, Family Networks. Notably, Living DNA does not provide familial matching like most of the other DNA testing companies like AncestryDNA, FamilyTreeDNA, myHeritage or 23andme. With the launch of Family Networks, that is all about to change but, with a twist.

Living DNA intends to implement new technology with Family Networks that is claimed to “be the most precise matching service on the market.” They will be analysing your mtDNA and Y-DNA (if male) on top of your autosomal DNA. With only your birth date and DNA data, they plan to deliver a family tree builder showing exactly how your matches fit into that tree as well as infer, through analysis of your combined DNA profile, up to 13 generations back to connect matches with whom they share no DNA with. The genetic genealogy community waits excitedly to see how this will work and the Family Networks feature is due imminently.

Living DNA does not offer any health-related information but, does let you download your raw DNA data so you can submit it to alternative health data providers such as Promethease and Genetic Genie. Find out here how health DNA testing can help with your diet and fitness.

Privacy & Security

Living DNA puts you in control of your genetic data and how it is used. They will not use your genetic data for any other purpose without your consent, other than what is needed for your DNA ancestry test. You may request that your sample and genetic data is destroyed at any time. All digital information and DNA samples are stored securely. The company operates to multiple quality and security accreditations.

Help and Support

Living DNA’s site has a detailed FAQ section with topics such as Living DNA Kit, Account, Uploading data and more. To get in contact with the customer support team, you can submit an online form, phone them on weekdays from 9 am to 5 pm at +44 203 424 3482 or send an email to [email protected]. Alternatively, you can write to them at:

Living DNA, K10 the Courtyard, Jenson Avenue, Commerce Park, Frome, BA11 2FG, United Kingdom

About Living DNA

Firstly, it is important to understand that Living DNA was spawned off the back of the People of the British Isles Project which began in 2004 which collected samples from rural populations across the British Isles. The purpose was to examine this data for genetic differences of these populations to aid in medical research as well as discover more about ancient migrations within the British Isles. Because of the specific goal of this project, Living DNA is particularly useful for those of British Isles descent as not only can Living DNA show your family ancestry broken down between 80 worldwide regions but, also 21 regions within the British Isles. It makes Living DNA unique among testing companies in this respect.

Comparison to Competitors in the Market

Unlike FamilyTree DNA tests that focus on genealogical aspects of your DNA sample, Living DNA analyses the anthropological features of the DNA and provides an ethnicity estimate. Like 23andMe, it carries out all three tests of the autosomes, yDNA as well as the mtDNA and offers a DNA match. When compared to Ancestry DNA that illustrates 13 sub-sections that your DNA can be traced back to, Living DNA offers 21 subsections. Thus, it provides a more comprehensive and detailed analysis of your ethnicity. Further, if we compare the DNA testing kits of leading companies in the market, Living DNA is the only company that requires one mouth swab instead of two as in the case of MyHeritage and GPS Origins.

Though Living DNA takes as much time to deliver results as other companies like Ancestry DNA and 23andMe, it provides more comprehensive research than any other testing company does. In comparison to other companies, Living DNA boasts of panels like Coverage Map, Migration Map, and Phylogenetic Tree. However, unlike FamilyTree, AncestryDNA, MyHeritage and so on, Living DNA is yet to offer matches to other genetic relatives. We sure hope it starts doing that soon! Like HomeDNA, Living DNA destroys all your DNA related information as well as personal information if you so desire.


As far as the DNA test cost is concerned, Living DNA is a moderately priced online DNA testing company. It is sure to win your heart if you are looking for migration details and geographical movements of your ancestors. Living DNA reviews suggest that not only is it reliable but also user-friendly and perfect for users new to the world of DNA testing and DNA research.

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