MyHeritage DNA Review: 10 features of the MyHeritage DNA testing kits

DnaTestingBuyersGuide Editorial Team

DnaTestingBuyersGuide Editorial Team

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DNA testing kits come in many shapes and forms, each with its own set of unique benefits and drawbacks. Today, we’re going to explore the 10 most fabulous features of the MyHeritage DNA testing kits—and how exactly they make this product stand out from the competition.

Note that some of these features may be limited to a particular type of MyHeritage DNA testing kit, so make sure to check the specifications of your product before buying.

MyHeritage DNA testing kits: 10 things that make them truly amazing

1. Advanced risk score analysis for 4 major health issues

MyHeritage DNA testing kits are among the few products in this niche that calculate polygenic risk scores (PRS) for several health conditions like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. But what’s that in the first place?

Basic genetic risk estimations calculate health risks based on a few super-specific genes that studies managed to link to a particular condition. Think ”If you have gene A, your risk of developing this disease is about 40%”. And that’s it. Simple, even a little too basic.

PRS, on the other hand, takes into account a huge set of different genes, and each could have an impact on the resulting risk. Think ”You have gene A, so your risk of developing this disease would usually be about 40%—but your genes B and C mitigate the risk a bit, so the result is actually about 27%.” To summarize, PRS gives a much more accurate estimate of the real risk.

The MyHeritage DNA Health kit provides PRS estimates for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, female breast cancer, and arterial hypertension (high blood pressure).

2. Basic genetic risk analysis for 18 health conditions

Polygenic risk score calculation is great for estimating the risk of conditions that are based on a wide range of health factors. For example, high blood pressure may be caused by heart conditions—but it also can be the result of hormonal issues or problems with the blood vessels. However, not all hearth risks need that kind of in-depth estimation.

For many diseases, checking just one or two genes will be enough for an accurate estimate!

MyHeritage DNA Health kits offer basic (but quite accurate) genetic risk estimates for 18 health conditions: (Simplified explanation in brackets where needed)

  • Age-related macular degeneration (a form of age-related vision loss)
  • Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (contributes to lung and liver disease)
  • Celiac disease (an immune disorder of the small intestine)
  • Crohn’s disease (a type of inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract)
  • G6PD deficiency (leads to persistent anemia)
  • Hereditary BRCA cancers (breast, ovarian, and pancreatic cancers)
  • Hereditary hemochromatosis (a type of iron overload when the body absorbs too much iron from the diet)
  • Hereditary thrombophilia (increased risk of blood clots)
  • Late-onset Alzheimer’s disease (after age 65)
  • Late-onset Parkinson’s disease (after age 50)
  • MUTYH-associated colorectal cancer (cancer of the large intestine and rectum)
  • PALB2-associated breast cancer
  • Susceptibility to HIV-1 infection
  • Susceptibility to malignant hyperthermia (a life-threatening side effect of certain drugs used for general anesthesia)

3. Carrier status reports for 18 dangerous conditions

MyHeritage DNA Health kits can help you ditch the guesswork and know exactly if you’re at risk of passing any dangerous health conditions to your children. After all, you can be the carrier of some of their key genes—without showing any symptoms yourself!

Here’s the full list of carrier status reports: (Simplified explanation in brackets where needed)

  • Ataxia-telangiectasia syndrome (balance and walking issues, increased risk of cancer and infections)
  • Canavan disease (progressive damage to the nervous system)
  • Cystic fibrosis (accumulation of thick mucus in the lungs and other organs, leading to severe damage)
  • Familial dysautonomia (issues with regulating involuntary physiological processes like digestion, breathing, and body temperature)
  • Familial Mediterranean fever (FMF, inflammation of the joints, lungs, and abdomen)
  • Fanconi anemia (bone marrow failure leading to anemia and increased cancer risk)
  • Gaucher disease (a build-up of fatty compounds in the spleen, liver, and other organs, impairing their function)
  • Glycogen storage disease type 1A (a build-up of a form of sugar in the liver, kidneys, and other organs, impairing their function)
  • GRACILE syndrome (severe damage to the kidneys and liver, usually results in death soon after birth)
  • Limb-girdle muscular dystrophy, type 2D (progressive muscle weakness, eventually results in needing a wheelchair and mechanical ventilation for breathing assistance)
  • Mucolipidosis type IV (ML4, causes vision loss and a delay in development)
  • Niemann-Pick disease (damage to the liver and spleen, regression of mental and physical growth)
  • Nonsyndromic hearing loss (hearing loss without any other symptoms)
  • Rhizomelic chondrodysplasia punctata (intellectual disability, shortening of the bones in the arms)
  • Sickle cell anemia
  • Tay-Sachs disease (progressive damage to the nervous system, can lead to death in early childhood)
  • Usher syndrome, type 2A (loss of hearing and vision without balance problems)
  • Usher syndrome, type 3 (loss of vision and hearing with a later onset in life)

4. Advanced ethnicity tracing

MyHeritage offers ethnicity tracing like many other DNA testing brands. What sets them aside is their Founder Populations Project.

The Founder Populations Project is an ambitious attempt to trace the origins of the whole humankind by identifying unique founder populations—groups of people who lived in a particular place for generations. At the moment, no other DNA testing kit digs so deep into the genetic heritage of our planet.

In other words, the ethnicity tracing that MyHeritage provides is currently among the most in-depth of its kind.

5. DNA matching across a database of millions of users

MyHeritage does not share your personal or genetic information with third parties. However, if you wish to, you can upload your DNA testing results to their system and find genetic relatives you never knew you had. 

MyHeritage can compare your data with the results of millions of users from all around the world (both other MyHeritage users and people who used other types of DNA testing kits). The higher your match with a stranger—the higher the probability of you two being relatives!

6. Semi-automatic family tree builder

Have you ever wanted to make a detailed visualization of your family tree? MyHeritage is the perfect place to start. Using the virtual family tree builder, you can add your relatives, add photos, stories, and memorable dates.

And then, the real fun starts.

After using your DNA testing kit, you can upload your results to the MyHeritage platform and enable the system to help you expand your family tree. MyHeritage will analyze your genetic data with millions of other users to reveal your ancestors and relatives. You’ll also be able to search through billions of birth records, marriage certificates, and other resources to find specific family members—even those who lived centuries ago.

7. No spit or blood: just a quick cheek swab

Spit is messy, but most DNA testing kits work with saliva samples. Luckily, MyHeritage is not one of them.

Instead, MyHeritage products work using cheek swabs—just pick one and rub it against your cheek for 30 to 60 seconds, and you’re all set. No mess, no bodily fluids, everything as neat and clean as possible.

8. One of the largest ethnicity databases in the niche

MyHeritage DNA testing kits analyze DNA samples to match 42 supported ethnicities across the whole globe. This is one of the largest numbers in the industry, meaning you’ll get the most accurate results possible. If tracing your ethnicity is one of your top expectations from a DNA testing kit, MyHeritage products are among the best options.

9. Millions of users. Billions of records

As of 2020, MyHeritage registered over 99 million users and gathered over 12.2 billion historical and genealogical records. As a result, the system managed to build a huge virtual family tree with over 3.9 billion people!

If you choose to upload your results online (secure and never shared with third parties), you’ll be very likely to find a few new relatives from all around the world.

10. Choose your language and really understand your results

One fabulous feature of all MyHeritage products is that they’re supported in 42 different languages. Although this seems unimportant at first, this feature is actually essential to make sure you’ll understand all the details of your results. Additionally, you’ll be able to share them with other family members who may be comfortable with using another language, different fro your own.

Final Thoughts

If you need a super quick summary of MyHeritage DNA testing kids, it would probably go like this: they’re perfect for those people who want to dig deeper. 

Not just simple health risk estimates, but full-blown polygenic risk scores. Not just ethnicity tracing, but detailed tracing up to your founder population. Not just a family tree, but a family tree that helps to build itself.

Top this set of features with the fact that MyHeritage is supported in 42 different languages, and there you have it: the best DNA testing kit for the curious minds who want the details, not just the basics. That’s what MyHeritage is all about.

Read more:

  • Ancestry DNA Test Review

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