Thursday, January 24, 2019

24genetics Review

My European countries map from 24genetics
24genetics offer DNA tests for health and ancestry related reports, and also accept raw DNA uploads from other companies for more limited report options. For the uploads, they only offer reports on ancestry, sport, skin, nutrition, and talent/personality. If you buy a test with them, you can also get health and drug response reports, but be aware that each one costs $149 - $199, and if you want all the reports, the "all in one" pack costs a whopping $399. This seems very expensive, and if you're looking for a health report, I wouldn't buy tests through this company, there are less expensive venues. 23andMe costs half this for their ancestry and health, and is on sale often enough you can get it for even less. 23andMe may not include all same reports, but you can then upload your data to other, inexpensive sources like Promethease for more.

Most of the reports from uploaded DNA say they accept data from 23andMe or AncestryDNA, except the ancestry report, which says it will accept DNA from 23andMe, FamilyTreeDNA, AncestryDNA, or MyHeritage. The ancestry test costs $49, and the rest cost $69. You can order a promo pack including ancestry, sport, nutrition, and skin for $99. These also seem expensive for what you get, considering they don't have to run your DNA through a lab, so I only purchased the ancestry report and uploaded my raw DNA data from 23andMe.

The report is sent in an email as a PDF, much like how DNATribes before they discontinued their upload offer. In the PDF, you get an ethnic break down of your DNA first on a continental level called "Global Vision", then a country level, and finally a regional level. Like most ethnicity reports, they say the results date back "hundreds and even thousands of years".

My country results from 24genetics
My continental results (deserving of all caps, apparently) say:

EUROPE 99.20%
ASIA 0.80%

Most likely, the Asian results are just noise. You'll see in the country and regional break down that my Asian results are in a part of Georgia, in the Caucasus area (just above the Middle East), so it's possible this is related to my southern Italian ancestry, but given the small percentage, it may just be noise and not mean anything.

My country results:

Great Britain 33.80%
Italy 30.00%
Austria 17.10%
Greece 8.20%
Netherlands 5.60%
Switzerland 2.30%
Finland 2.20%
Georgia 0.80%

The top two results are very accurate, my family tree is indeed roughly 32% British, and I did in fact inherit about 32% of my DNA from my Italian grandmother. But rest of the results aren't very consistent with my known ancestry. The smaller results could just be noise, and I'm guessing the Austria result is coming from my Germanic ancestry. I'm not sure where the Greek is coming from, since the only Mediterranean ancestry I have is already fully accounted for in my Italy results.

AncestryDNA's PCA chart showing reference panel
populations and their genetic distance to each other
The main thing it's missing is my Norwegian ancestry. Though I had one Norwegian great grandfather, my Scandinavian results often come back lower than the "expected" 12.5% on most ethnicity reports, so perhaps I inherited less from him than expected. I do get a trace amount in Finland, but as you'll see below, it's in an eastern part of Finland, which seems like it would have more in common genetically with Russia than Norway. In fact, AncestryDNA used to group Finland and NW Russia together. Although they now have separated the two groups, their PCA chart (left) shows that the Finnish group has no overlap with Scandinavia (let alone Norway), but does have some minor overlap with the Baltic States (northeast Europe, such as Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania). So I doubt there's any connection to my Norwegian ancestor. Norway usually has more in common genetically with Germanic Europe and Britain, so maybe the Netherlands results are coming from my Norwegian ancestry, but I do also have Dutch ancestry, though much further back on my tree.

Maps are provided for the results, first showing the highlighted countries on a global scale (above right), and then zooming in on Europe (above left). I guess my one small result in West Asia didn't warrant a zoom in.

My regional results
My regional results:

Essex Medieval 32.30%
Tyrol 17.10%
Apulia 15.80%
Lombardy 13.60%
Utrecht 5.40%
Crete 3.20%
Kythera 3.00%
Romandy 2.30%
Finland Karelia 2.20%
Andros 2.00%
Cornwall 1.50%
Georgia Svaneti 0.80%
Treviso 0.60%
Groningen 0.20%

Essex Medieval is an interesting result because it specifies a time period as well as location. I wonder why the other results don't include a time period? I do indeed have ancestry from Essex, although there's a few branches from there, they are all from fairly far back on my tree, in the 1500s. I suppose that's consistent with the Medieval timeline, however, they seem to be attributing almost all my British ancestry to Medieval Essex, yet I have British ancestry from many other locations, some from much more recent time periods too (which should account for more of my DNA).

My European regional map
Tyrol is a region of western Austria which borders Germany and Switzerland, both places where I do have ancestry from, so I'm assuming that's where this result is coming from.

Apulia is an area of southeast Italy. I have no known ancestry from there, but my Italian ancestry is indeed southern/Sicilian, not northern, so I'll give it points for that. However, Lombardy and Treviso are a part of northern Italy, where I have no known ancestry.

Next is Utrecht, a city in the Netherlands. I don't know where in the Netherlands most of my Dutch branches come from, but one of them is actually from Utrecht, and another from Amsterdam. But let's face it, the Netherlands is a pretty small country (though it was once larger), so I'm not really sure how distinct DNA from different parts of it really are from one another - Amsterdam is really not that far from Utrecht (about 27 miles). Although this is a small percentage, my Dutch ancestry is from far back on my tree, so I would expect it to be a small percentage, if it would show up at all. I also get a very small hit (possibly noise) for Groningen in the Netherlands, where I don't have any known ancestry.

My Asian regional map, probably
Now we get into percentages so low they may only be noise. Crete, Kythera, and Andros are all in Greece, which again, I have no known connection to. Maybe some of it is related to my Italian ancestry, but it can't be all of it, or that tips my Italian percentage over the edge of being too much. Romandy is a French speaking part of Switzerland, and I do have both French and Swiss ancestry (again, far back on my tree), so perhaps there's some legitimacy to this. Karelia is an eastern part of Finland I have zero connection to (again, it's unlikely it's from my Norwegian ancestry, and I have no known ancestry in Eastern Europe). Cornwall is the southwestern most part of England, which I have no known ancestry from, but could still be a legitimate part of my British DNA. Svaneti is a historical area of Georgia, which may just be noise or could be coming from my Italian ancestry.

Overall, I feel like my top most results from this company are accurate but it's missing significant locations and the smallest percentages are likely just noise. An interesting assessment, especially the more specific break down that you don't always get from other companies, but as with any ethnicity report, don't take it too literally. Worth the money? Probably not, maybe if it was cheaper.


  1. You say 24 genetics only accepts 23andme raw data but I bet it will accept ancestryDNA raw data converted to 23andme format. AFAIK, the website will convert ancestryDNA format to 23andme format for free and there should be other tools online to do it too.

  2. I uploaded my raw data from MyHeritage to get a more accurate geographical breakdown. A total waste of money. I have researched all branches of my family, including wives' families, back five to eight generations and they are 95% from south east England. gives me mainly Lancashire in the north of England. When I queried this, they wrote back (22nd May) saying 'I'm sending your query to the Ancestry team for further clarification'. Nothing more from them since.

  3. Could you do a review on FamilyTree DNA as well? I’d be interested to see what you scored.

    1. My FTDNA report is:
      British Isles 54%
      Southeast Europe 33%
      West and Central Europe 6%
      East Middle East 3%
      Trace Results
      Finland< 1%
      West Middle East< 2%

      So it's lacking my Scandinavian ancestry, and West/Central Europe is low as well.

  4. But you live in northern U.K. according to your profile?:
    "Location: Monifieth, Angus, Scotland, United Kingdom"
    Have the Ancestry team responded since your last comment?

    1. Just because someone lives somewhere doesn't mean they have any ancestry from that place.

  5. Popular DNA companies such as 23andme, AncestryDNA, and Family Tree DNA are unreliable. I’ve tried them all. The problem with the American DNA companies is the political correctness and euphemisms used, like 23andme calling a Greek cypriot “Western Asian” and Jewish people “European”, which is offensive and ridiculous. Not to mention faking results for some people, twins not getting similar results, heavily euro biased, privacy issues, data being sold, flat out inaccurate results, lack of reference samples, the list goes on.

    24Genetics has an actual lab with scientists, they have 1000+ reference samples from all over world. They are far more legit and reliable than the American companies

    1. 23andMe have over 14,000 reference samples from all over the world, and AncestryDNA have over 40,000 from all over the world. That leaves 24genetics' measley little 1,000+ in the dust. Although both do have more European samples than other parts of the world, they are not lacking in samples from most regions of the world and in fact have well over 1,000 (sometimes over 4,000) samples from Asia, Africa, the Americas, etc - numbers which exceed the total world number that 24genetics apparently have. 24genetics is a European company, so they may very well have a Euro-bias too. How are those 1,000+ samples distributed? Are there 600 samples from Europe, 100 from Africa, etc? I can't find details on this, I can't even find where they tell you they have 1,000+ reference samples. I do notice they say they have 1,000+ regions in the breakdown of their report - have you confused this with the reference sample number? That's not the same thing.

      Most companies tend to group ethnicity or regions by their genetic similarities. You can often view these similarities from the company's PCA chart, which many make available. Does 24genetics have a PCA chart? Not that I am aware of. For all your suggestions that 24genetics is somehow more scientific than other companies, yet they don't even make a scientific PCA chart available?

      All DNA companies process customer DNA kits in an "actual lab with scientists". Do you mean an in-house lab? And where do they say they have an in-house lab? All I could find was "with Illumina chips and in a European laboratory". **A** laboratory, not *our* laboratory, or "our in-house laboratory".

      No major DNA company has ever faked results. This accusation is simply untrue, there's never been any reliable evidence or proof of that.

      "Twins not getting similar results" is also not true. I'm going to assume you mean identical twins, since that's the only significance to twins comparing results (fraternal twins are genetically no different to regular siblings). And if you examine the actual results the identical twins/triplets/etc got in new reports about this, they are actually very similar. The are not always exactly the same, but they only vary by about 1-2%, well within a normal margin of error.

      There are no privacy issues with 23andMe or AncestryDNA, and data has never been sold.

      All DNA ethnicity reports are only estimates or interpretations of our DNA which should not be taken literally, including 24genetics. And it has nothing to do with being "American". I note you didn't mention MyHeritage - which is not American, but is a "popular DNA company". Where do they fall in your wrath against most DNA companies? I'm happy for you if your 24genetics report has been the most consistent with your known ancestry, but that is certainly not the case for everyone, and if you're going to criticize other companies, at least get your facts straight and stop assuming unreliable, sensationalized pseudo-news articles are accurate. Then again, I suspect you deep down know at least some of what I've pointed out is true, because why else would you leave your name as "unknown" and not even use at least a screen name?

  6. History Chick,

    24Genetics have 1000+ REGIONS not 1000+ samples. Every region has to be represented by at least few samples (sample = individual) on average, which means that they have at least as many samples as 23andMe, though perhaps not as many as AncestryDNA. Which is quite impressive for a new startup that entered the market in 2017 (probably they started collecting reference samples before that, though) and which was the very first company that offered country and regional breakdowns, back when 23andMe was still reporting only very general categories such "Eastern European" without attempting to tell you if you are from Croatia or from Latvia (which makes a big difference). 23andMe introduced country and regional breakdowns in 2018, most likely as a response to 24Genetics (people started posting their 24Genetics results on 23andMe Forums in 2017 and that's probably how they found about this new competitor). Sau what you want, but 24Genetics started a revolution, a new era in DNA tests by forcing its competitors - giants such as 23andMe and AncestryDNA - to increase the specificity of their results and start reporting more than just continental and sub-continental (e.g. "Southern European") breakdowns.

    1. "24Genetics have 1000+ REGIONS not 1000+ samples."

      Yes, that's what I suspected, that "Unknown" misspoke about regions vs samples, but they definitely said "1000+ reference samples", not regions. Which means they don't even understand the difference.

      "Every region has to be represented by at least few samples (sample = individual) on average, which means that they have at least as many samples as 23andMe, though perhaps not as many as AncestryDNA."

      24genetics has not made their reference sample numbers public, so we have no idea how many there are. You say they need at least a few samples for every region, so if they have about 1,000 regions, they could have as little as 3,000-4,000 samples, if they have closer to 2,000 regions, they could only have about 6,000-7,000 samples. That's less than half what 23andMe have. Sure, the numbers could be bigger than that, but we don't know since 24genetics won't even tell us. Claiming they have "at least as many as 23andMe" may not be accurate at all. Maybe the whole reason they don't want to share the numbers is because they're that small and they don't want to admit it.

      "Which is quite impressive for a new startup that entered the market in 2017 (probably they started collecting reference samples before that, though) and which was the very first company that offered country and regional breakdowns"

      AncestryDNA introduced Genetic Communities, offering regional break down in March of 2017.

      "back when 23andMe was still reporting only very general categories such "Eastern European" without attempting to tell you if you are from Croatia or from Latvia"

      You do understand that the reliability of that level of specific break down for percentages isn't very high, even for a company with samples as high as AncestryDNA's? Just because 24genetics was among the first to do so doesn't mean the results are reliable. The proof is in the pudding, as they say, because my 24genetics results only about half match what they should be, whereas 23andMe's results are nearly spot on.

      "23andMe introduced country and regional breakdowns in 2018, most likely as a response to 24Genetics (people started posting their 24Genetics results on 23andMe Forums in 2017 and that's probably how they found about this new competitor)."

      LOL, no, I think it was in response to AncestryDNA's Genetic Communities. In any case, whatever extra time 23andMe needed to paid off, because their country break down is more accurate than any other company for the 4 kits I manage. Being the first doesn't necessarily mean being the best.

      "Sau what you want, but 24Genetics started a revolution"

      Say what you want, but most people haven't even heard of 24genetics and they are not considered among the main DNA testing companies for genealogy. I frequent dozens of Facebook groups for genealogy and DNA, it rarely gets talked about, and when it does, it's only to ask if it's worth doing the DNA upload, or to share results from a DNA upload - no one I know has directly tested with 24genetics.

      I will say again, ALL genetic ethnicity reports are very much estimates that should not be taken too literally. As such, it's highly recommended among the DNA genealogy community that the true value of DNA testing is in your DNA matches with other testers, something 24genetics doesn't even offer, which is probably why they are not viewed as a real competitor to companies like 23andMe, AncestryDNA, MyHeritage, and FTDNA.

      How interesting that there has suddenly been not one, but two people who have come to my blog at the same time only to talk about how 24genetics is so much better than other companies despite being not that well known in the industry... (and I'm not suggesting you're the same person, btw)...

  7. History Chick,

    I don't know who the "Unknown" person is, I commented on your blog before her/him (in response to the guy who claimed that his Northern British should be Southern British instead - which I found suspicious considering he lives in the north; but as you said it is possible he actually has ancestry from the south). As for Genetic Communities, they were initially only about the New World if I remember correctly. Things like "German settlers in the Midwest" etc. were the only types of Genetic Communities back in 2017. So it was not a real regional breakdown of your Old World ancestry. They did not have enough data to add regional breakdowns for the Old World. I'm fairly sure that 24Genetics (actually it turns out they were created in 2016 not 2017, but I learned about them in 2017) was the first company that offered such a breakdown, followed closely by LivingDNA - but the latter only offered regional breakdowns for Britain and overestimated everyone's British ancestry. Have you tried LivingDNA, is there a review?

    For me personally LivingDNA was very inaccurate at first (they gave me a mish-mash of many ethnicities including 20% British - and I'm 0%), but their recently updated results have been more accurate. I think we just need to give these companies a chance to improve and update our results once in a while. You say 23andMe is more accurate. Maybe, but they only started to be quite accurate very recently. And they don't assign any percentages to countries and regions. So for example, in my results they do list my country as a Highly Likely match, but they also list many other countries that I have no any known ancestry from. And you know, with plenty of shots fired, the likelihood that some will hit, is very high. 23andMe listed dozens of regions and just by chance they happened to list my actual region as well, but it is very far away down the list. My top several regions (the ones listed first) assigned by 23andMe are all incorrect.

    As for matching I agree that the lack of family matching is a disadvantage, they should add it ASAP. But you also need to have many customers in your database before you add family matching. What's the point of matching if many people will get only few or no matches. When it comes to family matching, old American companies that have been increasing their customer base for a long time have an advantage over younger European companies such as LivingDNA or 24Genetics. LivingDNA was offering free uploads and a free basic ethnicity estimate (only continental brekadown) to increase their customer base, I think 24Genetics should offer something similar.

    "Say what you want, but most people haven't even heard of 24genetics and they are not considered among the main DNA testing companies for genealogy. I frequent dozens of Facebook groups for genealogy and DNA, it rarely gets talked about, and when it does, it's only to ask if it's worth doing the DNA upload, or to share results from a DNA upload"

    They were talked about a lot on 23andMe Forums shortly after they started selling regional ancestry tests back in 2017 (or maybe late 2016, I'm not sure). At that time they had only ca. 300 regions if I remember correctly. Maybe Ancestry's Genetic Communities already existed but as I say, I think they only covered the New World at that time. Things like "Mormon settlers in Utah", "German settlers in Wisconsin", etc. So not really a regional breakdown of your ancestry, just who you are related to.

    1. No, Genetic Communities always had European communities from the start. They have grown and added more as time has gone on, but there were some from the start. Here is their introduction video for GCs posted back in Mar 2017, you'll see the examples they show are in Europe:

      Even if 24genetics popped up in 2016, AncestryDNA could not have developed GCs that fast in response to it - and if you didn't even learn about it until 2017, that means they weren't exactly in the running for major competition for either AncestryDNA or 23andMe. All DNA companies are constantly evolving as the science evolves - the idea that 2 major DNA companies with literally millions of testers were motivated to update their results based on a little known company doing something experimental and not necessarily reliable is laughable.

      I'm happy for you if you find 24genetics results are more consistent with your known ancestry, but that doesn't mean that's the case for everyone else, and it doesn't mean 24genetics are some leading DNA company that blows every other DNA company out of the water.

      I have indeed tried LivingDNA and you can find my review here: - as you'll see, I found their results much more consistent with my tree than you did at first. Which supports what I've been saying all along: it really has more to do with each individual than the company. There is no one DNA company that consistently provides the most accurate DNA results for every tester. Every DNA ethnicity report is merely an interpretation of our DNA and the reliability of those interpretations from different companies varies by the individual. 24genetics is no different in that regards. Some people will find it more consistent with their tree, others won't.