Note: This is the second in our series of posts about the best DNA tests for health and longevity. To better understand the basics of DNA and the different types of DNA tests on the market please go back and read the first piece on The Benefits of Genetic Testing for Longevity.

Affiliate Disclaimer: Longevity Advice is reader-supported. When you buy using links on our site, we may earn commissions.

Getting a DNA test just to discover your ancestry is like buying a sports car just to drive it on 25 MPH roads to pick up groceries.

Sure, it’s cool and maybe even useful, but there’s so much more under the hood that you could be taking advantage of.

Especially for spanners interested in radically extending human lifespan, it’s crucial to understand how you can use DNA tests for health and longevity, and not just to see what percent neanderthal you are.

Genetic testing is useful for longevity because it can:

  1. Help you prevent diseases you may have a genetic predisposition for (you can know to avoid certain diets or behaviors, for instance).
  2. Help you better tailor your longevity regimen (like which supplements you may need and which to avoid).
  3. Help you identify and treat the cause of current health problems you may have been unsuccessfully dealing with for years, like vitamin or nutrient deficiencies.
best dna tests for health and longevity

While our first article covering genetic testing and longevity looked at the science behind DNA, how DNA tests work, and the theory behind why DNA tests are useful for life extension (it’s not just about discovering “longevity genes”), in this piece we’ll be getting a little more concrete.

One of our main goals with Longevity Advice is to provide life-extension information that’s actionable, so we’re going to dive into real-world specifics here and compare a bunch of the best DNA tests for health currently on the market.

But before we get to the individual genetics companies and tests, we first need to cover what types of DNA tests are best for longevity.

What types of DNA tests are best for healthy longevity?

There are two main types of DNA tests: genotyping and sequencing.

While genotyping tests look at a limited number of DNA sites by comparing them to known DNA strands on a microarray chip, sequencing counts the individual nucleotides in a DNA strand (and can count any length of DNA strand, all the way up to the entirety of a person’s DNA, i.e. their genome).

And within each of those two buckets there are several different specific tests you can get as well, like Y-DNA genotyping or whole exome sequencing.

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You may also recall I tipped my hand somewhat in the previous article when I admitted I am planning to get whole genome sequencing done for myself personally.

And while there are several reasons I think that specific test type is right for me, it may not be right for you. There are important considerations you should be aware of for each test type before you decide which one (or more) to get.

With that in mind, here are some of the high-level pros and cons of the different types of genotyping and sequencing tests so you can make an informed decision.

Genotyping pros:Genotyping cons:
Fast: Typically only takes 2-6 weeks to get results.Low genetic coverage: Most genotyping tests cover fewer than ~700,000 genetic positions, which is less than ~0.1% of the over 3 billion base pairs in your genome.
Relatively inexpensive: Tests range from as low as $49 to as high as $400.Future genetic discoveries may require additional tests.
Low physical risk: Most genotyping tests require only a saliva sample or cheek swab.Privacy concerns: Many large genotyping companies are targets for hacks and government and law enforcement data requests.
High-confidence results: Health results cover the most widely-understood parts of the genome while omitting the sections we know less about.
Mature market: The most well-known and mature companies offering genetic testing are ones focused on genotyping, so costs, process, regulations, and a robust third-party genetic data analysis market are all geared towards these companies and their data formats.

And with sequencing:

Sequencing pros:Sequencing cons:
High genetic coverage: Instead of less than 0.1% of your genome, most sequencing tests give you anywhere from 10 times more (whole exome sequencing at 1% of total genome) to 1,000 times more (whole genome sequencing at ~100% of total genome) the genetic coverage of a genotyping test.Relatively higher cost: Tests can be anywhere from $300 to as much as $2,000.
Low physical risk: Most sequencing tests require only a saliva sample (though some also use blood).Slow: The sequencing alone can take 4-8 weeks, and that doesn’t account for shipping and processing time.
Fewer tests required for future genetic discoveries: We are learning even so-called “junk DNA” is useful, and more about this unknown part of our genome will be discovered in the future.Privacy concerns: The same concerns around genotyping data falling into the wrong hands apply here, but possibly to a greater extent as a whole genome gives even more information about a person.
Still early days: A whole genome sequence will give you lots of data we don’t yet understand, and trying to base health decisions on that data could lead to poor results.

There are also things you need to consider before taking any DNA test for longevity, no matter if you choose genotyping or sequencing.

7 things to consider before getting a DNA genetic test

dna test sequencing machine
Bored with all this background information? Skip straight to the comparisons of the tests!

Here are the main issues I’ve considered and think are important when comparing the different genetic tests on the market:

1. Your genetic privacy

The biggest concern most people have with DNA testing is privacy, and rightly so.

While it’s currently much easier for a criminal who wants to commit identity theft to simply use other personal information like Social Security numbers and home addresses, having your unique genetic data digitized and accessible online still leads to a whole host of other scary privacy implications.

The 2018 arrest of the suspected Golden State Killer was a watershed for showing just how DNA information held by private companies could be used by governments. The police were able to track him down when DNA recovered from one of his crime scenes was matched to one of his relatives who had taken a DNA test and uploaded the data to GEDmatch, a genealogy service for finding distant relatives through DNA.

While catching serial killers is obviously an unalloyed good, unsettling future implications arise when you consider this connection between law enforcement and genetic testing companies.

dna test golden state killer
Police sketches of the Golden State Killer before a DNA match of a relative unmasked him.

Imagine, for instance, a government-controlled healthcare agency approving and denying treatments and coverage based on their interpretation (possibly erroneous, as we’ll cover in the accuracy section below) of your genetic code.

Or a government immigration agency using it to establish your nationality (this is already happening).

Or insurance companies and employers having access to your genome and making pricing and employment decisions based on it, as depicted in the dystopian 1997 film, Gattaca.

Not to mention the potential for overzealous police investigators to mistakenly go after innocent family members whose relatives may have been the ones who committed a crime.

Of course, to some extent the cat is already out of the bag on this one. 

If any one of your relatives (as far distant as a third cousin) has already uploaded their genetic data to one of these websites, police can already identify you by matching your DNA to your relative’s. As of 2018 about 60% of white Americans could already be identified this way, and that number can only have gone up in the years since.

If any one of your relatives (as far distant as a third cousin) has already uploaded their genetic data to one of these websites, police can already identify you by matching your DNA to your relative’s.

And several genetics companies will share your “anonymized” genetic information with drug discovery and pharmaceutical corporations. In fact, it’s often a crucial part of their business model and helps keep the cost of individual DNA tests down for the consumer.

While most (but certainly not all!) DNA testing companies now require people to opt in to any law enforcement matching program or third-party data-sharing, and require a warrant before sharing data with the government, for many companies this is still flimsy protection from state and non-state actors alike.

As recently as July of 2020, GEDmatch, the exact same DNA analysis company police used to identify the Golden State Killer, was hacked, exposing the DNA profiles of over 1 million people to law enforcement agencies. As genetic databases grow larger, targeted attacks like this will only happen more frequently.

So what’s the best way to protect your privacy when getting a DNA test?

As I researched the different genetic tests for longevity on the market, I looked for companies that offer some combination of the following:

  • A clear privacy policy that states your genetic information won’t be shared without your consent or that such sharing would require a government order like a warrant or subpoena.
  • A documented history of the company pushing back on or fighting law enforcement and government requests for genetic data.
  • An “opt-in” vs. “opt-out” model for third-party and government data-sharing.
  • Robust data security practices, ideally third-party audited, with the gold standard being full encryption of a person’s genetic information itself.
  • No history of data security breaches or hacks.
  • The ability to submit a DNA sample and create and pay for an account anonymously or under an assumed name.

While nothing’s a guarantee, especially when it comes to data security and online privacy, following the above guideposts should at least minimize your privacy risk when getting a DNA test.

2. The type of DNA sample required

Though most modern genetic tests sample your DNA with a saliva spit tube or cheek swab, there are more invasive ways of getting someone’s DNA. For example, some genetic tests ordered by doctors require blood or plasma samples (whole exome sequencing typically requires blood).

That said, all of the consumer tests I’ll be comparing below use the less invasive saliva/swab methods.

3. Test accuracy

In the first article of this genetics series, we discussed just how difficult and complex DNA tests are to do. In short, there are a lot of opportunities for things to go wrong that could result in an inaccurate DNA test.

Stories of people getting different genetic results from different companies—and sometimes even from the same company when submitting multiple samples—are all over the internet.

It’s important to make the distinction here between accuracy of the DNA test itself (i.e. determining the actual order of your ATCG pairs) and accuracy of the interpretation of that DNA data (i.e. that your ancestry is 93% European vs. 88%). We’re concerned right now with accuracy of the test itself. I’ll cover interpretation and analysis later.

Most “next gen” genetic testing and sequencing methods used by the best DNA tests for health we’re comparing have upwards of 90-99% accuracy rates in reading genetic information.

But there’s a few caveats you should be aware of.

The first is the difference between the accuracy of genotyping and sequencing. While both are highly accurate, genotyping may suffer some accuracy compared to sequencing, as a 2016 paper found: “Due to the limited number of reference samples with variant genotypes, DMET [genotyping arrays] may be less reliable [than whole genome sequencing] for some rare variants.”

The second caveat to be aware of, specifically with sequencing, is called “sequencing depth” (or sometimes “sequencing coverage”). 

“15x” or “30x” sequencing depth (or coverage) means they read each DNA base in your genome multiple times (the gold standard is 30 different times, hence “30x”) to help minimize errors.

For instance, on the websites for these different sequencing companies you’ll often see that they offer “15x” or “30x” sequencing depth (or coverage). All this means is that they read each DNA base in your genome multiple times (the gold standard is 30 different times, hence “30x”) to help minimize read errors. In this case it’s usually the higher the better (but also the more time-consuming and expensive).

And the third caveat here is that both types of DNA tests, genotyping and sequencing, suffer in accuracy when detecting super-rare genetic variants (though sequencing may suffer less). 

Recent studies have found that commonly used genotyping chips are more likely to give false positives when testing for very rare variants, and similarly commonly-used sequencing platforms can give erroneous false positives for rare gene variants.

Which means if a genetic test tells you that you may have a very rare gene variant, before relying on that test to make any medical or treatment decisions, it’s first prudent to confirm that finding (usually by getting a more-accurate “short read” follow-up of that specific part of your genome).

4. Genetic coverage and completeness

This can get a little confusing because people will use the term “coverage” to refer to both the sequencing depth mentioned above (15x vs. 30x etc.) and also for how much of your genome is actually getting read when you take a DNA test.

This latter meaning is what we’ll cover (sorry!) now.

You may remember that popular genotyping tests like those offered by 23andMe and AncestryDNA only actually “read” a very small portion (less than 0.1%) of your whole genome.

At the other end of the spectrum, whole genome sequencing reads essentially 100% of your genome.

In between, you have things like whole exome sequencing that reads only the active parts of your genome called exons—about 1% of your total genome.

The main reasons to pick a test with lower genetic coverage, like a genotyping or exome test, above a whole genome test, are cost and time, so let’s cover about each.

A brief note on telomeres

Telomeres, the “caps” on the ends of chromosomes that protect genes during cell replication and get shorter as we age, have been suggested as a possible cause of aging itself. Though the jury is out on whether telomere length is a direct cause of aging, shortened telomeres are still associated with a whole host of age-related diseases. This makes measuring telomere length of special interest to spanners and longevity researchers. While direct telomere tests usually require a doctor’s order and involve blood samples (and don’t worry, we’ll compare the telomere test options on the market in a future piece) there are new methods to estimate telomere length using data from whole genome sequencing. This makes whole genome sequencing a more attractive option if you’re interested in learning about telomere length in addition to your genes.

5. Cost

It took anywhere from $500 million to $1 billion to fully sequence the first human genome between 1999 to 2003.

dr evil human genome project
“One…billion dollars!”

Luckily for you, the cost of DNA tests has dropped precipitously in the last few years, outpacing even the famed Moore’s Law of computing.

whole genome sequencing cost

That said, price differences remain between the many different types of DNA tests and coverage you can get.

For genotyping tests (with added health data, not just ancestry data), typical costs range from $99 up to $399 (but go as low as $49).

Whole genome sequencing tests are more expensive, and you can expect to pay between $299 to over $2,000 depending on the company (though special sales can sometimes bring that price down to as low as $200).

Whole exome tests don’t really have a cost advantage compared to whole genome tests when it comes to the consumer market, and are typically used by medical professionals in a clinical setting where the time to do a whole genome sequence may be an issue.

6. Speed

Consumer genotyping companies offer quick turnaround times, with results getting back to customers in as little as four weeks, including shipping time, and usually in the 2-6 week range.

By contrast, whole genome sequencing can take anywhere from 8-10 weeks (not even counting shipping time).

7. After-test support and analysis

Just getting all your genetic data won’t help you if you don’t know how to interpret or take action from it.

And this is why I mentioned the difference, above, between the accuracy of the DNA test itself and the accuracy of the interpretation of that DNA data.

Because you can get wildly different results from different DNA companies if you submit the same DNA data to them. For instance one may say you have a genetic propensity to gain weight from eating dairy, while another may say dairy is fine and it’s carbs you actually need to worry about.

The sort-of-dirty secret behind the analysis of genetic information is that, for a lot of things DNA-related, we just don’t have enough research to make firm conclusions. 

The sort-of-dirty secret behind the analysis of genetic information is that, for a lot of things DNA-related, we just don’t have enough research to make firm conclusions.

Not to mention, genetics aren’t destiny. Environment, lifestyle, and epigenetics—which are all modifiable—play large roles in a person’s future health.

So the analysis has to be probabilistic.

“You may have a such-and-such percent chance of developing Alzheimer’s by your fifties” or, “You may have a genetic predisposition to alcohol addiction” (but also, you may not).

This is why so many companies offer (or even require) genetic counseling from a licensed medical professional after you get your results.

Our ability to predict health based on genetic data is still very much in its infancy. Without that context, it’s too easy to make ill-informed decisions based on what are, essentially, educated guesses.

So when evaluating the analysis services offered by these DNA companies (and we’ll cover third-party genetic analysis services in two weeks) here are a few things to look out for:

  • The tying of specific research studies to the recommendations they give. Do they make it easy for you to find the actual paper they’re using as a basis for telling you to stop eating dairy, for instance?
  • The size and update frequency of the database of studies the company uses to form its analysis. Are they relying on the newest studies in the field for their conclusions and recommendations, or old research that may have been superseded?
  • The type of data you get access to. Can you easily save your genetic data and upload it to third parties?
  • The amount and quality of professional genetic counseling you can access.

Hopefully that all gives you a good footing for judging which DNA test to take for your own health and life-extension needs.

So now, on to the DNA tests themselves.

Best DNA Tests for Health and Longevity

As the previous 3,000 words have hopefully convinced you, I’ve done a lot of research (maybe too much?) to find the best genetic tests for life extension.

The following companies and best DNA tests for health were all selected based on meeting these specific criteria:

  • Useful for health data, not just ancestry or ethnicity data. Specifically, they test for at least one genetic variant known to cause inherited disease (i.e. more than just diet and exercise gene variants).
  • Easily purchased: Can be ordered by consumers without a doctor’s order or prescription and currently available in the US.
  • Safe sample collection: Spit or swab test, no blood samples required.
  • Raw data provided: Gives you access and control to your raw genetic data in a common file format.
  • Visible pricing: Pricing is transparent and provided online.
  • Privacy taken seriously: Has a clear privacy policy stating your genetic information won’t be shared without your consent.

The tests are broken into sequencing vs. genotyping, and ordered alphabetically by company name.

best dna tests for health comparison
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The best whole genome sequencing tests for health

1. Dante Labs (Best for depth)

whole genome sequencing for health dante labs

This Italian-based DNA testing company partners with labs around the world to offer a variety of different sequencing tests, though a 30x whole genome sequencing is their star offering. Other tests offer either more sequencing depth (up to 130x for specific genetic regions known to contain the most mutations) or more in-depth reporting and analysis of your genome.

Dante offers health reports and analyses including reports on “predispositions to over 100 common diseases,” as well as a rare disease report, and nutrition and fitness reports.

While slightly more expensive than other tests offered in this list (so look out for those Black Friday sales), Dante claims their use of the NovaSeq 6000 sequencer means their sequencing accuracy is higher than the industry average. It’s worth noting the research they base that claim on compared the NovaSeq 6000 to, among others, the MGISEQ-2000/DNBSEQ-G400 and the manufacturer has since released the newer DNBSEQ-T7 (used by other companies on our list like Nebula and Sequencing.com) which claims higher throughput and effective reads (though lower maximum read length) than the MGISEQ-2000.

Being in Italy, Dante Labs is also governed by the relatively stricter privacy laws of the European Union, which is generally good news for keeping your genetic information private. Their genetic privacy policy states you need to affirmatively opt-in to allowing your DNA information to be used for research purposes, and that you can withdraw this consent at any time. However, they do state they retain your genetic information for up to 10 years after you deactivate your account with them “to comply with legal obligations.”

That said, they also claim they won’t give, sell, or lease your information to any third party without your consent, and “We will not provide information to law enforcement or regulatory authorities unless required by law to comply with a valid court order, subpoena, or search warrant for genetic or Personal Information.” 

I could find no public information about Dante being served or having to resist any government data request.

Unfortunately, recent reviews seem to indicate large delays in receiving results after shipping samples to Dante, with some customers claiming not to have received results after waiting as long as 6-8 months, and complaining about a lack of responsiveness from Dante’s customer support.

  • Privacy: https://www.dantelabs.com/pages/genetic-data-privacy-information
  • Coverage: 30x whole genome (with 130x of select areas in certain tests)
  • Sample type: Saliva spit tube
  • Cost: $599-$1,490
  • Speed: 2-8 weeks not counting shipping (though with possible large delays)
  • Raw DNA data provided? Yes, as as gVCF and BAM files
  • After-test support: Yes, with research referenced

2. Full Genomes

whole genome sequencing for longevity fullgenomes

Based out of Maryland, Full Genomes offers whole genome sequencing at 15x, 20x, and 30x sequencing depth for different prices.

The primary reason for spanners to buy a whole genome sequencing test from Full Genomes would be to get the raw data, as the company only offers ancestry analysis of genetic data, and does not provide or sell health or longevity reports.

Full Genomes’s privacy policy states they will remove your personal and genetic information upon request within “a reasonable time.” 

They also mention they will disclose your personal information to a third party only in a limited set of circumstances including: “(i) with your permissions; (ii) as described in this statement; (iii) as may be required by law, regulatory authorities, legal process or to protect the rights or property of FGC or other Users (including outside your country of residence); (iv) to enforce our terms and conditions; (v) to protect our rights, privacy, safety, confidentiality, reputation or property; (vi) to prevent fraud or cybercrime; and (vii) to permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain.”

I could find no instances of Full Genomes being served or having to resist a government warrant or data request.

Reviews of the service generally seem positive, but there are few if any from the last year.

  • Privacy: https://www.fullgenomes.com/privacy-policy/
  • Coverage: 15x-30x whole genome
  • Sample type: Saliva spit tube
  • Cost: $645-$1,150
  • Speed: 8-10 weeks
  • Raw DNA data provided? Yes, as VCF, FASTQ, and BAM files
  • After-test support: No

3. Nebula Genomics (Best for privacy) (Best for cost)

dna whole genome sequencing for health and privacy nebula genomics

Founded by genetics wunderkind Professor George Church of Harvard (who helped start the Human Genome Project, invented the first genome sequencing method, and initiated the Personal Genome Project), Nebula Genomics is a “privacy first” whole genome sequencing company.

They are currently developing technology to allow completely anonymous DNA sequencing including using blockchain tech and encryption to provide total privacy and control over your genomic data. While the technology is not fully rolled out as of early November, 2020, the privacy program is in beta and you can opt-into it when purchasing a DNA test kit from Nebula.

Other privacy protections with Nebula seem robust, including an explicit privacy policy that states they won’t share your genetic data with any third parties without your consent and that, “Nebula will not voluntarily share your genetic information with law enforcement.” Additionally they say they will immediately delete any genetic information if you decide to close and delete your account with them (except where a court order prevents them).

And while a 2019 blog post claims to offer fully anonymized genetic testing by shipping to P.O. boxes and allowing payment in cryptocurrencies and prepaid debit cards, I could find no option for paying with cryptocurrency on Nebula’s current purchase page.

I could find no instances of Nebula being served or having to resist a government warrant or data request.

For whole genome sequencing Nebula is also the most affordable option on this list, with their starting 30x test costing a mere $299 (comparable even to some genotyping test costs). 

You are required to sign up for their Explore Reporting service with any test you purchase, which runs at $19.99 a month if paid monthly, $9.99 a month if paid annually, or $300 if you pay for lifetime access. That said, you can cancel at any time, and many customers do just that, signing up for the one month option, getting their results, and then cancelling the service (making the effective cost $318.99, still the lowest cost on this list for whole genome sequencing).

In addition to the industry-standard genetic analysis report, Nebula’s Explore Reporting service, if you do opt to pay for it, provides weekly updates of new, curated genetics research papers that may apply to your specific genes. They also offer a free, publicly available research library, and custom-built “genome exploration” software and ancestry analysis for you to do your own digging into your genetic code. That said, Nebula doesn’t offer genetic counseling with a professional, but does give you access to your raw DNA data so you can use it for any third-party analysis or counseling service.

Nebula seems to have relatively fast responsiveness and good customer service according to reviews, but on occasion has been reported to run out of testing kits.

  • Privacy: https://nebulagenomics.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/360036114572
  • Coverage: 30x-100x whole genome
  • Sample type: Saliva spit tube
  • Cost: $299-$999, plus $9.99-$19.99 per month for access to educational database (or lifetime access for $300)
  • Speed: 8-10 weeks
  • Raw DNA data provided? Yes, as FASTQ, BAM, and VCF files
  • After-test support: Yes, with research referenced

4. Sequencing.com (Best for breadth of reports)

DNA tests for health wgs from sequencing.com

Sequencing.com offers both genotyping and whole genome sequencing tests, as well as third-party analysis of genetic data from other testing companies like 23andMe and Nebula Genomics

Sequencing.com is best-known for their wide variety of over 80+ DNA reporting “apps” that will analyze your raw DNA data (either from their own tests or from genetic tests taken with almost any other company on the market) on everything from Covid-19, to longevity, to ancestry, to diet.

Of note for spanners, Sequencing.com measures telomere length with their whole genome sequencing test and has several longevity reports as options in their DNA analysis “apps.”

Privacy also seems to be a top priority for Sequencing.com, with claims that, “We do not sell or share your data, including your DNA data, with anyone” and, “We do not allow your data to be accessed by pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies, law enforcement agencies, governments, or anyone other than you.”

Their privacy policy also states they will remove all genetic data within 30 days of you closing your account with them. Sequencing.com further advertises using top-of-the-line computer security to prevent hacks and unauthorized data access.

I could find no instances of Sequencing.com being served or having to resist a government warrant or data request.

Their whole genome sequencing service, at $399, is on the lower end as far as cost goes, and reviews seem to be generally positive.

  • Privacy: https://sequencing.com/privacy-policy
  • Coverage: 30x whole genome
  • Sample type: Saliva spit tube
  • Cost: $399
  • Speed: 8-10 weeks
  • Raw DNA data provided? Yes, as Paired FASTQ, BAM, VCF, and TXT files
  • After-test support: Yes

The best genotyping tests for health

5. 23andMe (Best for third-party analysis)

dna test for health 23andme genotyping kit

The giant in the room and the first company most people think about when they hear the words “consumer DNA test,” 23andMe offers a variety of genotyping tests.

The two relevant to longevity enthusiasts, however, are their DNA tests which include health information, the “Health + Ancestry Service” and the “VIP Health + Ancestry Service” (which simply adds a second kit and premium support with priority testing) starting at $99.

The “Health + Ancestry Service” test covers a variety of reports including disease predisposition reports like BRCA1/BRCA2 variants and carrier status of diseases like cystic fibrosis. A total of 55+ health and wellness reports for specific gene variants are included.

While 23andMe is partially owned by pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, and their business model is predicated on using anonymized genetic data from customers to aid in drug discovery, they nevertheless claim to take user privacy very seriously. Customers must opt-in for their data to be part of any research program, and even then all your data is de-identified before being passed on to researchers.

Additionally, their privacy statement says you have the right to delete your genetic data at any time, and that your information won’t be shared without your consent or a court order.

23andMe also puts out a quarterly transparency report that claims not to have given any user data to law enforcement or governments without user consent since the report started in 2015.

Both their transparency report and their law enforcement guide include “warrant canaries” for warrants or FISA/national security requests. These canaries are text saying 23andMe has not yet received any secret government demand for user information. By removing the text if they do receive such demands, warrant canaries allow the company to signal that they have received secret government demands without breaking the letter of the law that they not actively disclose such demands to the public or the users in question.

Because 23andMe is so large and dominating a presence in the DNA testing space, one of the real benefits to getting a test with them is that the raw genetic data they provide is accepted by almost every single third party DNA analysis company on the market. Meaning from just their relatively cheap test you can get access to a lot of other reports and analysis on your genes.

Reviews seem mixed, but negatives appear to focus largely on the purported accuracy of ancestry percentages.

  • Privacy: https://www.23andme.com/privacy/
  • Coverage: ~600,000 locations (~0.01% of genome)
  • Sample type: Saliva spit tube
  • Cost: $99-$399
  • Speed: 4-6 weeks
  • Raw DNA data provided? Yes, as a tab-delimited TXT file
  • After-test support: Yes, including 1-on-1 results walkthroughs with 23andMe employees

6. AncestryDNA

dna genetic test for longevity ancestrydna

AncestryDNA is the other huge player in the genotyping space, and offers similar (but not exactly the same) tests to 23andMe.

Only one of their tests, AncestryHealth, includes health data useful for longevity and it runs between $119-$179 depending on if there’s a sale running.

AncestryHealth includes reports on genetic diseases like breast and ovarian cancer risk from BRCA1/BRCA2 variants, and hereditary thrombophilia (risk of developing dangerous blood clots), as well as carrier status of things like cystic fibrosis and sickle cell anemia.

Privacy-wise, the company does a good job of publicizing their efforts to protect customer genetic data. As recently as January 2020 AncestryDNA revealed they fought a search warrant from a court in Pennsylvania that would have granted law enforcement access to 16 million DNA profiles. 

Their semi-annual transparency report also details that they received five total requests for customer information and so far have only provided data for one of them (apparently “related to criminal investigations involving credit card misuse, fraud, and/or identity theft”).

AnestryDNA’s privacy statement states they do not share your information with any third party without your consent, and “Ancestry does not voluntarily cooperate with law enforcement.” They say they will also delete any personal and genetic information upon request within 30 days.

Reviews of the service seem mixed-to-positive, though focus, as expected, on ancestry and genealogical results.

  • Privacy: https://www.ancestry.com/cs/legal/privacystatement
  • Coverage: ~700,000 locations (~0.01% of genome)
  • Sample type: Saliva spit tube
  • Cost: $119-$179
  • Speed: 6-8 weeks
  • Raw DNA data provided? Yes, as a TXT file
  • After-test support: Yes, including access to a PWNHealth genetic counselor through direct messages

7. SelfDecode

genetic test for life extension selfdecode

Founded by biohacker Joe Cohen, who is also behind longevity/biohacking blog SelfHacked, SelfDecode offers a genotyping test specifically designed for biohackers and spanners.

Their custom-designed DNA test looks at gene variants of particular interest for longevity, like MTHFR, ApoE, COMT, Vitamin D Receptor (VDR), and HLA. With a required annual subscription to their analysis service, the test starts at $187.

SelfDecode’s analysis back-end is tailored towards health and longevity, and reports include information from the most up-to-date and relevant genetic research.

SelfDecode claims to “never sell your data to other companies nor do we share user data with any third parties” without user consent. They add, “We also honor customer requests to completely delete their information from our database.” 

That said, their privacy policy states, “We retain some Account Information in your account related to your purchase history. This enables us to provide you ongoing support regarding your prior purchases, and is also necessary for accounting, audit and compliance purposes. We may also retain backup copies and archival files of your information to satisfy our state and federal legal obligations or regulatory requirements.”

And, in order to use the SelfDecode platform, they do require you to opt-in to allowing your genetic information to be pooled into anonymized “Aggregated Genetic Information” data sets used for improving their service. They also note that, “SelfDecode may use these data sets for business or promotional purposes.”

I could find no instances of SelfDecode being served or having to resist a government warrant or data request.

Reviews of SelfDecode seem generally positive.

  • Privacy: https://selfdecode.com/page/privacy/
  • Coverage: ~700,000 locations (~0.01% of genome)
  • Sample type: Saliva spit tube
  • Cost: $187-$387, requires annual subscription of $97
  • Speed: 6-8 weeks
  • Raw DNA data provided? Yes, as a TXT file
  • After-test support: Yes

Other best DNA tests for health?

Several well-known DNA testing companies didn’t meet our criteria for this list, including Sano, Circle, Living DNA, Fitness Genes, and Veritas

Are there others you think do meet our criteria above and should be included here as the best DNA tests for health and life extension? 

Add them in the comments and we’ll consider them for our next update!

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3 Comments

    1. J.P.

      Hey Margaret, thanks for commenting! I’d not come across Apeiron before, but from what I’ve seen in my recent search they wouldn’t make this list for a couple reasons.

      1. Their privacy policy makes no mention of your genetic data, and has no provision for you to request they delete your data (it says only you *may* have the right to have your data deleted based on the laws in your country, and that they will “review” any requests within 30 days).

      2. Their costs are higher than any of the other genotyping services on this list if you include any kind of reporting (vs. just raw data). The $149 for the genotyping test in their online store only gets you the raw data. To get any type of reporting you either need to pay for one of their “epigenetic coaches” or pay $649 for 3 reports, and $949 for 6 reports.

      Hope that helps!

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