Genetic genealogy is a fascinating topic. Even those who aren’t interested in family history jumped at the chance to swab their cheeks to learn their heritage. For many, however, it stopped at that. After the excitement of the initial reveal, it can be difficult to know what to do with DNA test results— if anything at all. Are there opportunities to understand and appreciate genetics beyond percentages and pie charts? More importantly, are they gift-worthy enough for the holidays? Yes!
We’ve scoured the web to bring you 10 of the most stellar genetic genealogy gifts around. Unlock the secrets hiding in genetic code without a science degree. Share that 13% Italian pride with the world. Turn your DNA into art. Discover how you can give your favorite genealogist new ways to celebrate what makes them unique.
Family Tree Magazine’s Top 10
DNA Gift Ideas
This best-selling book, written by DNA expert and Family Tree contributor Blaine Bettinger, covers all the basics of DNA, from selecting the test and testing company that will best break down your roadblocks to interpreting results (including ethnicity estimates) and applying them to your research. The book also contains detailed guides to each of the major genetic-genealogy tests, plus worksheets for recording information about your DNA cousins. Individual chapters on using third-party tools like GEDmatch and applying genetic genealogy to adoptee research will give you even more to do with your DNA results.
This business card (or credit card) case does an excellent job of summing up genetic genealogy in one beautiful design. Featuring a “Tree of Life” on one side and a “Double Helix” on the other, it’s perfect for genetic genealogists, DNA researchers, or anyone celebrating family reconnection through genetic testing. The non-tarnish steel case is fully customizable, including engraving. Your choices for personalizing the card case include:
- colors featured behind each design
- engraving location
Now that you’ve traced your ancestors back to their ancient origins and discovered distant cousins, it’s time to put the focus back on yourself or a loved one. Helix, a population genomics company, partners with health systems to provide specific genetic health information for their customers. By purchasing a DNA test kit from them, you have the option to add on specialized tests for specific traits (they also offer an ancestry test).
Health-based DNA Kits
- GenePrism: Actionable Insights
- Mayo Clinic GeneGuide
- Prostate Cancer Genetic Risk Score
- Alzheimer’s ApoE
Traits Test Add-Ons
DNA as art? This company saw the potential way back in 2005. Since then, they’ve created thousands of art pieces as unique as, well, you! The process begins with a DNA collection kit. Once you return your sample, science takes over. Your DNA is analyzed and the resulting “fingerprint” is captured as an image, which is colored and printed. The choice of style, color, size and frame is up to you. There are also options for multiple DNA samples to be featured on a single print—perfect for couples and families. This is truly a one-of-a-kind gift that is sure to be a conversation-starter. You can learn more about DNA11’s DNA Portrait process here.
Genetic expert (and Family Tree contributor) Diahan Southard does more than just write about DNA. She and her team have been helping people decipher and demystify their results since 2000. She offers many different types of services, from access to a video tutorial library to personal consultations. Her DNA Mentoring Service is a great gift for anyone who received test results, but isn’t quite sure about next steps or wants to find out more. The consultation consists of a DNA expert meeting with you online, pulling up your unique test results and walking you through them—from a basic look to more advanced feedback. Choose to give a 20-minute session, a bundle of three 20-minute sessions or a 45-minute session.
DNA Painter is an award-winning website that allows users to see and understand their autosomal DNA results visually. Some of its features include trees and fan charts, chromosome mapping, and a variety of tools to help predict possible relationships with matches. While these tools are free, purchasing a subscription unlocks many additional benefits such as the ability to:
- create multiple trees
- add up to 50 chromosome mapping profiles
- bulk import shared DNA segments from MyHeritage, 23andMe and FamilytreeDNA
- import all generations of your direct line from your GEDCOM file
Finding birth parents. Donor-conceived siblings. “Non-paternity events.” Perceptions of race and ethnicity. In The Lost Family, journalist Libby Copeland explores the impact home DNA testing is having on lives and families. From genealogy hobbyists to science to businesses like Ancestry and 23andMe, Copeland “investigates what happens when we embark on a vast social experiment with little understanding of the ramifications.” Interwoven throughout these topics is the story of one woman who received usual results, and embarked on a search for answers about her family and identity. A fantastic read for anyone on a similar journey, or someone who simply enjoys investigative journalism.
Made up “of a team of professional historians, researchers and scientists with a passion for genealogy,” Australian-based totheletter DNA offers an incredible service: testing family heirlooms and artifacts for DNA. Although the ability to test objects for DNA samples has been utilized by law enforcement for years, totheletter DNA is exploring ways to make it commercially-available for genealogy.
Because extraction processes and methods are still a work in progress, however, the company cannot guarantee results. The test is expensive, so think twice before sending your envelope or postcard with stamps or other artifact. Because of this, totheletter DNA offers a free visual assessment of your item. If they feel you have a usable sample, they will notify you via email. Receiving the DNA results of a long-lost relative could be the gift of a (past) lifetime!
Perhaps you have someone in your life you want to take a DNA test who needs a little extra…enticing. Enter the “Meet Your Genes” DNA Gift Basket. Featuring a 23andMe’s Health+Ancestry Service kit, each basket contains different snacks and treats based on various genetic preferences the kit can reveal. From loving coffee to hating chocolate, the recipient can learn how genetic markers can influence their tastes. The baskets available are:
Don’t forget the next generation! Founded by scientists and moms, Yellow Scope is passionate about promoting women in science and putting high-quality lab equipment and experiments in the hands of curious girls. Their DNA & Traits: From Codes to Creatures kit introduces the concepts of genetics in fun and engaging ways through activities such as:
- Isolating DNA strands from fruit and cheek cells
- Surveying friends and family to learn about quirky traits
- Using “DNA codes” to create cute monsters with silly features