Is MyHeritage DNA worth it?

MyHeritage’s DNA testing service will come alongside its existing offerings of family trees and access to records. ​”

So you’ve paid your money to Ancestry DNA. You’ve found that you have a mixed ethnicity. You also have a number DNA matches to distant cousins. Interesting. So why would MyHeritage DNA be promoting a free upload of your previously tested data?

MyHeritage launched its improved ethnicity estimate in May 2017, with coverage of 42 different ethnic regions. It’s a big improvement over the My Heritage DNA launch in November 2016 that covered only 25 different ethnic groups.

I first noticed an advertisement from MyHeritage DNA on Facebook promoting the free upload of previously tested DNA results. If you have tested your DNA with other DNA test providers like 23andMe, FamilyTreeDNA or AncestryDNA, you can upload the DNA raw data file to You’ll receive an ethnicity analysis with notification of any DNA matches. I previously compared the ethnicity results I received from AncestryDNA and DNA.Land here.

If you’re new to DNA testing and are serious about verifying your ethnic background, I recommend using more than one DNA ethnicity estimation service. This is because whether you use AncestryDNA, 23andMe or MyHeritageDNA your ethnic profile will look slightly different. This is because each company will use different algorithms, methods or even a specific database to interpret your DNA profile.

Uploading your DNA results to other companies will largely confirm what you already knew about your ethnic makeup. In my visual diagram below, MyHeritage’s analysis has identified that I am 83.2% Filipino, Indonesian or Malaysian. Not exactly accurate, but this is a lot better than what the current AncestryDNA ethnicity profile had for just about anyone with Asian ancestry i.e. an all-encompassing East Asian category.

​23andMe’s reference populations specifically cover Japanese, Korean, Yakut, Mongolian and Chinese. DNA.Land (which is also free) is similar but goes a step further and identifies even more specific populations. For example, DNA.Land’s Central Chinese result covers “Han, Miao, Naxi, She, Tujia, Yi and Southern Han in (N China and 7 other sites) China and Han in (China) Beijing”. Naturally with time, these reference populations will result in more definitive admixture estimates.

My European results on MyHeritageDNA were lower than was estimated over at AncestryDNA or DNA.Land. At DNA.Land, my West Eurasian result was 22%. At AncestryDNA, my total Europe result was 21%. Over at MyHeritageDNA, my comparable Europe result was the lowest at 16.8%. This will be common across all DNA testing services, only I have found that using AncestryDNA will offer a greater number of DNA matches than either DNA.Land or MyHeritageDNA.

Having more AncestryDNA matches will not guarantee that you’ll find missing family, but rather that your chances of finding family, are higher.

But to answer the question, yes, MyHeritage DNA is a worthwhile and welcome addition for identity enthusiasts. Whether it is using AncestryDNA, DNA.Land or MyHeritageDNA, ​you can increase your understanding of your own ethnicity. You can find other relatives or build a missing part of your family tree. Just like AncestryDNA, MyHeritage’s DNA testing service will come alongside its existing offerings of family trees and access to records.

MyHeritage realises that many people have already tested with other DNA testing companies, and part of this effort to broaden its utility is great for those interested in who they are and where they came from. If you haven’t already tested and would like to test with MyHeritageDNA, it costs $79 USD (or in Australia, the standard price is $130).

But as a brief reminder, these are my top points for DNA testing as it relates to ancestry, as I explained here:​

  1. Different companies use different algorithms and different panels. This won’t change who you are, but change your understanding of what MyHeritage can only show — an estimate of your ancestry.
  2. DNA reference panel datasets are improving all the time. MyHeritage will have better reference panels for different populations. For example, MyHeritage is better than AncestryDNA if you are of Asian descent.
  3. You can see your DNA matches. Uploading my AncestryDNA results to MyHeritage gave me other relative matches I hadn’t come across before.
  4. Ancestry testing services will soon offer a health analysis. 23andMe received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) to market its Personal Genome Service Genetic Health Risk (GHR) tests for 10 ailments. This emerging health trend is certainly one to watch.

Originally published at