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Best DNA Test For Asians

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If you think that your family came from anywhere in Asia, look at which DNA tests are best for determining this type of ancestry.

Best DNA Test for Asians

Top DNA Tests for Proving Asian Ancestry

It seems as if everyone in the world took one of the DNA tests. If you watch hit television shows such as “Grace and Frankie,” you’ll even see some of your favorite characters taking those tests. They want to know where they came from and which cultural groups they belong to us as well as their overall ethnicity makeup. One of the ethnic groups you might wonder about is Asian.

Depending on your family and how much you talk and share, you might know that some of your ancestors came from parts of Asia. If you had family members who lived in certain areas, they may have spent some time in the camps out west during World War II. That and the racism that they faced can make them hesitant to talk about their past experiences. As the older generations age, they can forget some of their memories or not want to talk about those experiences too. That is why we’re here to help. In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know about the best DNA tests for proving Asian ancestry. You can find out some of the issues associated with these tests and which one is the best for Asians.

Did You Know?

With more than four billion residents, Asians represent more than 40% of the world’s population.

Best DNA Testing Kits 2020

Brand

Rating

Pros

Cons

Bottom Line

ancestrydna

95%

4.5 stars

Pros

  • Offers solid results at a good price
  • Most affordable DNA kits

Cons

  • Requires a subscription to continue to use the online family tree

Bottom Line

  • The best DNA test kit for ancestry
  • Millions of users and tons of info shared
23andMe

92%

4 stars

Pros

  • Easy to read information
  • Stores genetic markers and regions results online forever

Cons

  • Can cost quite a bit to undergo complete testing of your sample

Bottom Line

  • One of the only home kits with health screening that test genetic markers & other data
MyHeritage DNA

90%

4 stars

Pros

  • Easy to use which take a cheek swab than provide a saliva sample

Cons

  • Add-ons increase the price of the kit
  • Basic test provides limited info.

Bottom Line

  • Provides info on more than 40 regions
  • Easy to use
familytree dna

85%

3.5 stars

Pros

  • Simple format makes the site easy to use
  • Customers can find all data they need

Cons

  • Doesn't retain data as long as other sites do so users must back-up

Bottom Line

  • Good choice for beginners and those who do genealogical research online
LivingDNA

80%

3.5 stars

Pros

  • Users can compare their own results to a historical database to verify information

Cons

  • No options to find family members or others
  • Results works best with British ancestry

Bottom Line

  • Can deliver strong results on markers relating to locations in the United Kingdom

What Does Asian Mean?

The term Asian is a little misleading because it can refer to people from so many different countries and regions. There are 48 countries on the continent called Asia, which is home to more than four billion people. This term also includes five different regions that consist of different cultural groups too. Many people dislike the term because they prefer describing the cultural groups their family members were a part of, including Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese. Another thing to consider is that this term can apply to people who live in neighboring regions and countries, including Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, India and Russia.

Most of the popular DNA tests that you see online or in the drugstore can now test for Asian ancestry. You can pick one that asks you to swab the inside of your cheek and seal the sample before sending it back or one that lets you provide a simple saliva sample. Once you pop that sample in the mail, the testing center will send it to the lab and have experts compare your sample against the database filled with user samples. It usually only takes eight weeks or less for you to see what your ancestry is and which users match your sample.

What Does Asian Mean

Your Asian ancestry can connect you to people across the continent.

Genotype Testing

The main thing that you need to know about DNA tests is that they do genotype testing. Also called SNP testing, this is a process that looks at your genetic code to identify specific traits. Your genes can determine the physical characteristics that you share with your parents, including the colors of your eyes and hair and what your skin looks like. The tests look at your chromosomes, which come in pairs. Those chromosomes determine the sex/gender that you have at birth but also relate to traits that are only found in specific cultural groups. Experts refer to these as ancestry markers because they only appear in select ancestry groups.

Though you might know that you get half of your genetic markers from each of your biological parents, you might not know that this isn’t an equal split. The chances are good that you get more of your genes from one parent or the other and in a different combination than your siblings do, which is why you don’t look exactly the same. This can explain why your DNA test has different results than the one your sibling took did. Your results might show that you have a smaller percentage of Asian blood than your siblings, especially if your parents are from two different races.

How Long Does it Take to Process an Asian DNA Test?

Most Asian DNA tests ask you to wait up to eight weeks for your results. Many people find that they get their results back in four weeks or less though.

Genotype Testing

Paternal vs. Maternal DNA

Before taking a DNA test designed for Asians, it’s helpful to look at how these tests work. The most important thing to understand is that your maternal and paternal DNA is different because your parents belong to different haplogroups. A haplogroup refers to a specific group of people who share common traits. Experts use haplogroups to trace familial lines across multiple generations. They can see how the genes of those people mutated and changed over the years based on where they lived and the traits they inherited.

Maternal DNA tests allow women to trace their ancestry through their mother’s familial line. Women share more genes with their mothers than their fathers, while men inherit more genes from their fathers than their mothers. Maternal or mitochondrial DNA tests can give you loads of information about your mother and her family, including which regions they lived in Asia and how they moved across the continent. With a Y-DNA test, the company will test the Y-chromosome that comes from the father. This type of test can only look at the DNA that a son gets from his father and his male ancestors. The downside is that you might not see some of the Asian ancestry that you have because of grandparents who are only on one side of your family tree.

What Determines Your Percentage of Asian Ancestry?

  • When your ancestors left Asia
  • If they lived in Europe and other areas
  • The number of non-Asians in your family
  • Whether your direct family members are white or other ethnicities, including your parents and grandparents
  • The regions of Asia where your ancestors lived

What You Need to Know About Asian DNA Tests

DNA tests for Asians can finally help you learn about your heritage. Many people take these tests because they don’t talk to some of their family members or they were adopted at a young age. Even if you know who your parents are and talk to your family every day, you may still want to take a test to learn more about your family’s past. Before looking at the best tests that are available, there are some things you need to know.

  • Fewer results: A common problem with Asian DNA tests is that they don’t offer as many results as you would expect. They can give those with European ancestors specific information, including when they moved to other countries, the names of villages and towns where their families lived and the percentage of genes that they share with others.
  • Limited regions: Most of these tests limit the regions that they show to just a handful. If you have family who came from Hawaii and other Polynesian regions, your results will show a large percentage of Polynesian genes but not list any specific regions. The same is true if you’re primarily Asian. Some tests divide the entire region into large areas such as Central Asia and North Asia.
What You Need to Know About Asian DNA Tests

Most Asians who migrated to North America likely came across on the land bridge.

Why Take a DNA Test for Asians?

The number of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease is on the rise. This condition affects a person’s memory and can make some patients forget who they are and the names/faces of their loved ones. When your grandparents or parents begin exhibiting the early symptoms of the disease, it might be too late for you to sit them down and ask about their family histories. With a DNA test designed for Asians, you can find all the information that you need in one convenient spot and even find out if some of your old family stories are true. Other reasons to get an Asian DNA test done include:

  • It gives you the option of connecting with people who took the same test and share ancestors
  • You can see what percentage you are of each major region in Asia and other parts of the world
  • The results are easy to read and understand
  • You can share the results with other people in your family and with other ancestry websites
  • Some tests can reveal that you have relatives who lost touch with your family in the past
  • The results make it easier for you to create an accurate family tree
  • You can see if any of your ancestors lived about their histories

Top Reasons Users Take Asian DNA Tests

  • Find family members
  • Prove relations between two or more people
  • See if they are predisposed to certain medical conditions
  • View their health and wellness traits
  • Learn about their familial histories
  • View all the ethnicities they are
Why Take a DNA Test for Asians

Best DNA Test for Asians: AncestryDNA

One of the biggest names in the industry is AncestryDNA, which is also the best DNA test for Asians. This DNA testing service is available from Ancestry.com, which has millions of users and even more resources to help you trace your family tree. In 23andMe vs. AncestryDNA, we compare these two products to help you see which one gives you the most for your money. At last count, the site had a database that included more than 10 million registered users. The odds of finding lost family members via this test are quite high.

Another benefit of using AncestryDNA is that it includes members from many different Asia regions, including:

  • Caucasus
  • Central Asia
  • East Asia
  • Syria
  • Lebanon
  • The Philippines

If you have ancestors from any of those regions, you’ll likely find many matches in the system. AncestryDNA uses your DNA sample to find the genes and chromosomes that you share with all other users. It can find that you share a percentage of genes with people from more than 700,000 places around the world. With the map feature, you’ll see the ethnicities that your DNA shows and where your family lived at different points.

A popular reason that people opt for the AncestryDNA test is that it lets them connect with users. You can add a photo and create a profile that shows who you are. The site even lets you include a link to the family tree that you create online. When you turn on the connect feature, users can reach out if they have any information you can use or if you came up as a match to them. The downside is that it doesn’t offer much help to those from East Asia.

Benefits of Using AncestryDNA

  • Matches your genes to hundreds of thousands of regions
  • Includes many regions in and around Asia
  • Shows migration maps to describe how your family migrated
  • Provides members with access to genealogical documents and research help
  • Has a forum where you can talk with other users
Best DNA Test for Asians AncestryDNA

23andMe

One of the top DNA tests for Asians is 23andMe. The company made headlines when it first released a home DNA test because it included medical testing. Some of those old tests are no longer available, but you can still see what health and wellness traits appear in your genes. 23AndMe is a good choice for those hoping to test for Asian ancestry because it includes a database for Asians. The East Asia database that it uses now includes more new regions. Some of those regions include:

  • Japan
  • Korea
  • China
  • Southeast Asia
  • Mongolia
  • South Asia

If you worry about providing a DNA sample via a cheek swab because you think that you might mess it up, you’ll like that this test uses a saliva sample. It takes mere seconds to fill the included cup, pop it in the packaging and send it back. You will get personalized results based on your specific sample that shows the haplogroups found on both your paternal and maternal lines. When someone in your family takes the test, 23andMe will show you those family members through the DNA Relatives feature and let you send them a message.

Another benefit to choosing 23andMe for Asian DNA testing is because you can join the Global Genetics Project. The company launched this program as a way to add even more information about groups who came from outside of Europe. It’s designed specifically for people who have two grandparents on each side who came from a specific region. Some of the regions that qualify you for this program include Uzbekistan, Indonesia and Thailand.

Benefits of 23andMe for Asians

  • Lots of Asian groups and subgroups
  • Millions of users
  • Family tree help
  • Connects you to distant family members
  • Includes Thailand and other Asian countries
  • Easy to use
23andMe

MyHeritage

Though not as popular as AncestryDNA and 23andMe, MyHeritage can trace your family roots and determine which of the more than 40 ethnicities your sample shows. Some of the regions that Asians can use include:

  • China
  • Japan
  • Vietnam
  • The Philippines
  • Indonesia

Other regions that this test can show include Mongolia, Inuit and Malaysia. Many people came to North American centuries ago via a land bridge near Alaska, which allowed them to travel on foot. Some of those individuals settled in the icy region and married Eskimos and Inuit people. MyHeritage is one of the few tests that can reveal if you’re part Eskimo.

MyHeritage also gets bonus points for the option it offers for those who took other tests. Once you get your results, you can download the information as raw data and upload it to the MyHeritage website. This lets you compare all your results and see how the information you received from one company works with that provided by another company. The site uses your raw data to extend its database and connect you with other users.

As with AncestryDNA and 23andMe, MyHeritage has a connect option for users too. If your sample shares enough genes with another sample to indicate a familial relation, it will let you both know. You then have the option of chatting with that person online and carrying your relationship offline too. The database of this company is smaller than others though and doesn’t include as many Asian regions.

Benefits of Using MyHeritage

  • One of the only DNA tests with Eskimo and Inuit matches
  • Shows you automatic matches that it finds with other users
  • Offers fast results
  • Lets you chat with distant relations online
  • Features some of the more popular Asian regions
MyHeritageDNA

TeloYears Advanced Ancestry

When you first visit the TeloYears Advanced Ancestry website, you might back out because you think you clicked on the wrong link. While the homepage focuses on a DNA test and service that can make you look younger, it also offers DNA testing that is a good choice for those with Asian ancestry. This company used advanced technologies and has a large database that can identify the exact Asian genes that you have. It does a good job of breaking your sample down into individual groups and subgroups, including:

  • Central Asia
  • East Asia
  • Middle East
  • South Asia
  • North Asia

Though these are the same regions that most DNA tests feature, TeloYears goes deeper into your ancestry. It takes every one of those regions and divides it into smaller subgroups. This lets you see the exact cultural groups that your ancestors belonged to and can help you see how they immigrated to different regions. Some of the subgroups that might appear in your sample include:

  • Miao
  • She
  • Tujia
  • Daur
  • Tu

When most testing companies look at your DNA sequence, they identify around 700,000 markers and connect those to specific groups. TeloYears can identify more than 250 to 300 million markers in your sample. After it finishes testing your sample, it will show which groups and subgroups relate to your markers. The main issue with TeloYears is that it markets itself as an anti-aging company and offers a free DNA test when you pay for a cell test. Once you submit your sample, the company will keep asking you to sign up for its supplements.

Benefits of Using TeloYears Advanced Ancestry

  • Looks for and identifies more genetic markers than other tests do
  • Breaks Asia down into more regions
  • Includes subgroups that other tests lack
  • Less expensive than other tests
  • Offers supplements based on what your genes show
TeloYears Advanced Ancestry

GPS Origins Asian Edition

An Asian DNA test that can compete with the big companies is GPS Origins Asian Edition. As part of the HomeDNA brand of products, it allows you to trace the exact routes and paths that your ancestors followed across Asia. Unlike other tests that focus heavily on European ancestry, this test specifically looks for the Asian genetic markers in your sample. Some of the regions it can give you information about include:

  • India
  • Siberia
  • Silk Road
  • Mongolia
  • China
  • Japan
  • Arabia

It can further breakdown those regions into smaller groups located in the south, central and other parts of certain countries. The test asks for a cheek swab and sends back your results in six weeks or less. Your results let you trace the migration paths that your ancestors followed and read stories from people who followed the same routes. It also shows you any important moments or times in history when the DNA of your family changed. No other test can do the same thing for Asians. It also gives you a PDF that shows the migration routes and the dates when your family followed those routes that you can share with others. When we check the site, this test was only available for those living in the UK, which is a bummer for those in other countries.

Benefits of GPS Origins Asian Edition

  • Features major and less popular parts of Asia
  • Includes a migration map that shows how your ancestors moved
  • Gives you a PDF copy of your results that you can easily share
  • Lets you read stories connected to migration routes
GPS Origins Asian Edition

Honorable Mention: WeGene

Though not a traditional DNA test, an honorable mention goes to WeGene. This is the best site to use to compare your results to a wider population after you take a DNA test. Based out of China, the site will automatically detect your location when you visit and change its language settings to match your area. You can then upload the raw data from your DNA test and run it through the system. WeGene was once only open to people who lived in Asia but expanded its terms to include people with Asian ancestry from other countries. With millions of Asian people already registered, this site makes it easy for you to see how your genes compare to other Asians from around the world. Some of the groups and subgroups in the database include:

  • Northern and Southern Han Chinese
  • She
  • Lahu
  • Mongolian
  • Tibetan

As soon as you get your raw data, you can upload a copy of the results to WeGene. Both the results offered by 23andMe and Ancestry are compatible with the site. It can trace both maternal and paternal haplogroups and show which groups match other registered users.

WeGene now offers an extra service for $99 that includes health care services that are similar to those offered by 23andMe. It can use your results to see if you have the genes that make you turn red when you drink or give cilantro a flowery taste. You can import your raw data to the site for free once you set up an account.

Benefits of WeGene

  • Free comparison tool
  • Premium services available for an added fee
  • Traces maternal and paternal haplogroups
  • Compatible with AncestryDNA and 23andMe tests

How Do Asian DNA Tests Work

Taking an Asian DNA test is easy. You can now buy any of these tests online and enter an address to have the kit shipped to your home address, workplace or anywhere else you desire. Each site has a website where you can sign up for an account and share as many personal details as you would like, including your hometown and current city. It takes just a few days for the test to arrive in the mail. You will need to:

  • Read through the instructions to make sure you understand how the test works
  • Provide a sample, following the detailed instructions
  • Seal your sample in the return packaging
  • Drop the sample in the mail
  • Wait for the email that says your results are ready

The lab that processes your sample should also send you an email when it arrives. Workers will look at your DNA sequence and genes and then run your sample through the database to see how it compares to all other users. The lab can see if you are distant cousins with other people and show you how closely you’re related to each person. If there was anything wrong with your sample, you will get an email that lets you know that you need to provide a new one.

Factors That Can Affect Your Sample

  • You ate or drank right before providing a sample
  • The sample was contaminated during shipping
  • You did not fill the saliva vial to the top
  • You didn't rub the swab on your cheek long enough
  • You smoked or used mouthwash before providing a sample
How Do Asian DNA Tests Work

What Asian Ancestry DNA Test Should You Use?

Out of all the DNA tests on the market, AncestryDNA is the overwhelming favorite. This test matches your results against more than 10 million users and has loads of information about different regions in Asia. Regardless of which test grabs your attention, you’ll want to make sure that it includes Asian users and haplogroups from Asian regions. This ensures that you don’t get basic results that show you’re 92% Chinese and nothing else.

23andMe comes out on top for some users. As someone with Asian ancestry, you can easily see if your family came from any countries outside of Europe and how they came to North America and other continents. This is also a popular DNA test because of the wellness traits that it shows you. All of the top Asian DNA tests can help you learn about the generations who came before you and how your family grew. The top choice for determining and proving your Asian ancestry is easily AncestryDNA.

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