sibling DNA test buying guide

Best Sibling DNA Test Reviews 2019: Top 8 Picks Compared + Buying Guide

Are you looking for a sibling DNA test to confirm if you share a parent with someone else?

You’ve come to the right place.

In this in-depth buying guide we review and compare the best sibling DNA tests sold today.

Sibling tests come in two types:

  1. dedicated sibling DNA tests designed solely to either legally prove a relationship exists (court-admissable) or for your information; and,
  2. ancestry DNA test kits that can be used to prove a sibling relationship exists but are usually not court-admissable. An ancestry DNA test will also tell you a lot more about your family tree, ethnicity and ancient ancestors.

Note: If you are interested in a DNA test that will prove siblingship, provide genetic ancestry information and help you make family connections, then read our recently-updated comparison of 23andMe vs. AncestryDNA vs. Family Tree DNA.  These are the top 3 providers in the market.

Finally – no matter how you get your sibling DNA results, they will not be court-admissable unless you specifically request this feature from the vendor.


When Does a Sibling DNA Test Make Sense?

DNA is a vast and complicated structure

DNA tests are regularly used to confirm that one person shares a parent with another individual.

But there are two ways to determine this, depending on your situation.

To determine sibling status, most DNA testing companies recommend that all 3 people involved – both potential siblings and the parent – get tested.  This is because it’s far easier to confirm siblingship by checking whether both potential siblings have inherited half of their DNA from the exact same person, or not.

Of course, if the shared parent in question is not available for testing, then buying one of the sibling DNA tests listed below (for all potential siblings) is the next best option.

Almost all sibling DNA tests will tell you whether another person is a full sibling, a half-sibling, or no relation at all.

You can also buy a sibling DNA test suitable for legal purposes, for example to settle a paternity case.

But a court-admissible sibling DNA test is different from a normal sibling DNA test.  The science is the same, but the process is more rigorous to ensure the reliability of the test. That’s why legal sibling DNA tests are more expensive.

 


Best Sibling DNA Tests (Compared)

Sibling DNA TestDNA MarkersUse in Court? 
LiveWell

sibling dna test
23Addl charge Learn More
BioGene

sibling dna test
24 Yes Learn More
GenTrace

sibling dna test
16Addl charge Learn More
Genovate

sibling dna test
46No Learn More
My Forever

sibling dna test
46No Learn More
Family Tree DNA

sibling dna test
37No Learn More
23AndMe.com

sibling dna test
700,000No Learn More
AncestryDNA

sibling dna test
700,000Yes Learn More

 


Best Sibling DNA Test Reviews

LiveWell Sibling DNA Test Review

sibling dna test

LiveWell’s Sibling DNA test is easy and fast.

They send you two swab kits once you complete an order online. Once you both collect your samples, secure them, and mail them back in the prepaid envelope.

The samples are tested at an AABB, A2LA, and CAP certified lab.

LiveWell compares 23 genetic markers in each person to confirm siblingship. Testing more markers increases accuracy and reduces the chances of inconclusive results.

LiveWell tests for three things:

  1. Whether you are full siblings or completely unrelated.
  2. Whether you are full siblings or half siblings.
  3. If you already have a known parent, they test whether you are half siblings or completely unrelated.

After the lab receives your samples, results will be ready in 3-5 days. You’ll receive them by email, but you can also request a hard copy at an extra fee.

Note that LiveWell’s normal Sibling DNA Test report is not admissible in court. If you want a test for legal proceedings, they sell one for $100 more.

Pros

  • Confidential at-home sample collection. You don’t have to go to a lab.
  • Highly accurate test conducted in a certified lab.
  • Quick turnaround.
  • Two options to receive your results – email or hardcopy.
  • An easy-to-navigate website that makes it easy and quick to order (less than 5 minutes).

Cons

  • They don’t provide an option of entering two mailing addresses for the sampling kits. This is a big disadvantage for siblings who live far apart.
  • Results are not court-admissible. If you want a legal test, you have to pay more.
See Latest Price

Read My Review


BioGene Sibling DNA Test Review

sibling dna test kit

If you are looking for a quick sibling DNA test, BioGen is a good option.

It is also the most flexible sibling test, with plenty of options to suit your specific situation.

The BioGene Sibling DNA Test works the same as other online sibling DNA tests.

You order the test online and receive a swab kit in your mail. You take a cheek swab and send it to the lab for testing.

When ordering, you can instruct the lab to check whether you are full siblings vs. half-siblings or half-siblings vs. unrelated.

The company promises results will be ready in one business day.

If you do not want to take a cheek swab or you want to test someone’s DNA without their knowledge, BioGene accepts alternative DNA samples such as fingernails, hairbrush, a toothbrush and so on.

The accuracy of their sibling DNA test depends on how much DNA they can collect.

Something we love about BioGene’s versatility is that you can opt not to receive the kit in your mail. This is great if you have privacy concerns.

They will guide you on how to make your own kit and provide you with a case number.

And that’s not all.

While most DNA testing companies accept samples from just two individuals, BioGene gives you the option of add a DNA sample from your (potentially shared) mother for the same price. This increases the accuracy of the test.

Once the samples arrive at the lab, they test and compare 24 markers. That’s more than most other sibling DNA tests.

Pros

  • Versatile.
  • Highly accurate and reliable.
  • For added accuracy, you can include one mother’s sample at no additional cost.

Cons

  • No option to send kits to separate addresses.
See Latest Price

 


GenTrace Sibling DNA Test Review

sibling dna test

What we like most about GenTrace’s Sibling DNA Test is they allow you to test up to seven siblings. So if you have a bunch of people you suspect are (or are not) your siblings, this is the best sibling DNA test to buy.

GenTrace offers a basic 2-sibling test for $150. If you share a known mother, you can have her tested for added accuracy for another $95, bringing the total to $245.

Beyond that, the price goes up for each sibling you add.

GenTrace also sells court-admissible sibling DNA tests starting at $255 for two siblings. As with the basic test, you can test up to 7 siblings.

Don’t worry if your siblings are in different cities or states. GenTrace lets you input multiple addresses for kit delivery. They can even deliver to different countries.

All kits are barcoded and will be tested together.

The results will be ready in 3-5 days after the lab receives all the sample kits. You’ll receive an email with a link to where you can download your report.

GenTrace’s sibling DNA report provides a siblingship index to tell you their relative confidence in the accuracy of results.  The higher the index, the higher the likelihood that you are related.

If the index is more than 1.00, you are likely siblings.

If the index is less than 1.00, you are most likely not related.

There is also a separate index to indicate whether you are likely to be half or full siblings.

Pros

  • You can test up to seven siblings.
  • They can ship to different addresses – this is super convenient for siblings who live in different cities, states, or countries.
  • Easy-to-read report.
See Latest Price

 


Genovate DNA Sibling Test Review

Sibling DNA Test

Like GenTrace, Genovate offers the convenience of split shipping to multiple addresses.

Just provide the two addresses the kits will be shipped to when checking out. The kits are given a matching barcode to make sure they are tested together.

Genovate is perfect for those who are looking for a budget sibling DNA test. They offer the least expensive siblingship tests we know of.

On the downside, Genovate tests fewer DNA markers than other companies on this page. But their test is still reliable most of the time.

Genovate’s sibling DNA report is ready in 1-3 business days after lab receipt and tells you whether you are siblings or not or whether you are half or full siblings.

Note that this is not a legally-admissable test. For a test that you can submit to a court or use in a legal proceeding, you’ll have to go physically to Genovate’s offices. The court-admissable test is also more expensive.

But if all you need to do is confirm whether someone is your sibling or not, Genovate is a great affordable choice.

Pros

  • Affordable.
  • Fast turnaround.
  • Split shipping options available.
  • No age limits – ideal for those who want to test newborns and kids.

Cons

  • They test fewer markers, meaning the test is less reliable than other tests.
  • No option to provide known mother’s sample for a more accurate siblingship test.
See Latest Price on Amazon

Read My Review


My Forever Siblingship DNA Test Review

sibling dna test results

My Forever’s Siblingship DNA Test is one of the most accurate and reliable sibling DNA tests.

Unlike other companies that test 15-25 markets, My Forever DNA tests more than 40 markers. Testing more markers significantly increases the accuracy of a DNA test.

The test is easy to take, like most others. Just order online, and you’ll receive the sampling kit in your mail. Take a cheek swab sample and send it to the lab.

My Forever allows split shipping, meaning you can have the kits delivered to wherever your sibling(s) live.

After the lab receives the samples, test results take 2-3 business days.

The report is sent to your email address. You can also have a physical copy sent to your mailing address though that will take longer.

The report tells you the likelihood of being full siblings, half-siblings, or no relation to someone.

While My Forever’s results are accurate most of the time, you cannot use these test results in court.

For a court-admissable sibling DNA test, the company sells different version which you need to contact them about.

Pros

  • High level of accuracy – they test more markers than most other companies.
  • Quick turnaround.
  • 100% confidential.
  • Great customer service.

Cons

  • A legal DNA test is expensive and requires in-office testing, which is inconvenient for most people.
See Latest Price

Read My Review


FTDNA Family Finder Review

Most Accurate Sibling DNA Test

Best DNA Test for FTDNA

Family Tree DNA (or FTDNA) is not explicitly a sibling DNA test. Nevertheless, it’s one of the most accurate ways to determine if you are siblings with someone.

If you and your potential sibling both take FTDNA’s FamilyFinder test, you can determine your siblingship by checking to see if you are close DNA matches using FTDNA’s DNA matching tools.

Note: FTDNA sells several types of tests including Y-DNA, mtDNA, and Family Finder. FamilyFinder is the one you want for this job.

Once you send in your sample, it will take 6-8 weeks before your results are ready. It takes much longer than typical sibling DNA tests because FTDNA tests for far more than just siblingship.

Your results will contain estimates of ethnic percentages, insights into your ancient ancestry and dozens or hundreds of matches that could be your relatives.

To determine whether someone is a sibling, check to see if their registered name shows up on your matches list.  If you are siblings, they should be high up on the list because they are close relatives.

As a general rule, full siblings will share between 2,000 and 2,500 centiMorgans. If you are half-siblings, the figure can be as low as 1,800.

If you both take the FamilyFinder test and have received your results – but you don’t see your potential sibling listed in your list of matches and they don’t see you either – then it is highly likely you are not related.

Pros

  • Extremely accurate.
  • More value for money – costs less than conventional sibling DNA tests but provides much more information including ethnicity estimates.
  • In addition to your sibling, you’ll discover other unknown relatives.

Cons

  • Long turnaround time – 6-8 weeks compared to the 2-3 days of other sibling DNA tests.
See Latest Price

Read My Review


23AndMe.com Health & Ancestry DNA Test Review

Best DNA Test For Uncovering Health Risks

sibling dna test cheap

While you are confirming whether you are siblings or not, why not use your DNA to screen for shared genetic health risks, too?

23andMe provides a comprehensive health and ancestry test that can do both.

As with FTDNA, 23AndMe’s Health and Ancestry DNA Test is not designed solely to be a sibling DNA test. 23andMe will not send you a report telling you whether you are siblings with someone, either.

Rather, it’s up to you to both get tested, then check your list of DNA matches to see if your potential sibling appears or not.

You’ll also have to do a bit more sleuthing (checking cM count, looking up shared matches, chromosome painting, etc.) to determine whether they are full or half siblings.

That means that you both have to take the 23andMe test but separately.

Once both your results are ready in 6 weeks or so, check online to see your matches.

In addition to DNA matches, the 23andMe test also includes a health report that tells you which diseases you are at risk of contracting due to your genetics.

If you and your sibling are worried about a genetic medical condition, this test can help you confirm it.

Pros

  • Great value for money –costs less than sibling DNA tests but you get more information.
  • Includes information on genetic health risks.
  • You can find other unknown family members.
  • You can confirm siblingship with as many people as you want. Just ask each of them to take the test.

Cons

  • Long turnaround time.
See Latest Price

Read My In-Depth Review


AncestryDNA Test Review

Best Sibling DNA Test for Family Researchers

half sibling dna test

If you want to use your DNA sample to do additional genealogical searching later, then the AncestryDNA.com Test is the best choice.

We recommend AncestryDNA for this because they maintain the largest DNA database in the world with over 15 million people in it. That means you are likely to find many more DNA matches than with any of the other tests.

As with 23andMe and FTDNA, you both have to take the AncestryDNA test separately to learn if you are siblings.

If you appear in each other’s list of matches, then you are related. AncestryDNA will provide more details to help you determine whether you are full or half siblings.

The bonus is that your matches may also contain cousins and relatives you never knew you heard.

By studying these matches and looking up other DNA matches you share, you can learn a lot about your family tree and make new connections.

If you want to go further and build out your family tree, then go ahead and pay for an Ancestry.com subscription.  It’s by far the best consumer genealogy research and family tree building platform on the planet.

AncestryDNA will give you access to billions of genealogical records that might help you trace some missing members of the family or make connections between different relatives.

For serious family researchers, AncestryDNA is a goldmine of information.

Pros

  • Has the largest DNA database – better chance of finding more relatives.
  • Extensive genealogical information on Ancestry.com.
  • Great value considering how much information you get.

Cons

  • Longer turnaround time.
See Latest Price

Read My Review


How We Rate Sibling DNA Tests

sibling dna test kit

The following are the factors we consider most important when selecting the best sibling DNA tests.

Accuracy: Number and Position of Genetic Markers Tested

Generally, the higher the number of markers tested, the more accurate the results will be.

Most companies test between 15 and 30 genetic markers. We consider anything below 20 to be too low for reliability.

Testing 20-30 markers or more ensures you don’t get any inconclusive results or false positives/negatives.

Credibility

The credibility of the company itself matters a great deal as well.

We avoid picking tests with numerous complaints from customers regarding reliability and customer service.

Established and well-known tests like 23andMe, Genovate, and AncestryDNA are the best.

Turnaround Time

If you are getting a simple sibling DNA test, you shouldn’t have to wait for weeks to get results. The best tests take at most three business days to send the results.

Note that the turnaround period begins when the lab starts processing your sample. In total, it may take a week or two from when you ordered the test to get your results.

This is because of the extra time it takes for the company to send the sampling kit to you, for you to take a sample and send it back and for the lab to begin processing.

If you order from companies like 23andMe and FTDNA, the turnaround time is much longer; around 6-8 weeks.

But that’s because they test for many more things other than siblingship.

Customer Support

A good company should answer all your questions and help you understand your results.

We rate highly companies that provide excellent customer support through email and phone.

Privacy Policy

This one is super important; don’t neglect it. Read the company’s privacy policy before you order a test.

Your DNA information should remain confidential and secure. If a company says they retain the right to share or sell it with third parties, that’s a red flag.

We pick tests that provide a high level of privacy and confidentiality to customers.

Price

The final major factor we consider when rating different tests is price.

Sibling DNA tests are typically more expensive than paternity tests. Most go for $200-$270. But there are also cheaper ones that cost less than $200.

We don’t automatically give the highest rating to the cheapest test. Rather, we compare price vs. value.

We prefer tests that give you a bigger bang for your buck. For instance, some tests allow you to also test a known shared mother, others provide split shipping, and others are more accurate (they test more markers) without being too expensive.


Types of Sibling DNA Tests

sibling dna test

Most websites will ask you to specify which kind of test you want.

There are two types: full sibling and half-sibling DNA tests.

For any of these two types of tests, you can opt for basic peace of mind test or a more rigorous (and expensive) legal test.

Full Sibling Test

Wondering whether you share both parents with someone? This is the best type of test.

A full sibling test determines if both of you have inherited roughly the same DNA from both your parents.

Since you each get 50% from your mother and father, you should share about 50% of your DNA.

By comparing your genetic markers, the test can determine if you are full siblings, half siblings, or completely unrelated.

Half Sibling Test

If you want to confirm that you share at least one parent with someone, this is the best type of test.

By comparing your genetic markers, the lab will check whether you share roughly 25% of your DNA. If you do, that means you are half siblings.

The test can also confirm if there is no relation between the two of you.

Where possible, companies encourage test-takers also to have the known parent tested. This increases the accuracy of the test.

’Peace of Mind’ vs. ‘Legal’ Test

If you are involved in a court case where you need to prove you are siblings with someone, you can’t just get any sibling DNA test. It has to be a court-admissible test.

The science behind a basic test done for peace of mind and a legal test is the same. But with a legal test, there is a specific process that needs to be followed for the results to be admissible in court.

Specifically, the lab has to maintain a chain of custody.

A neutral third party has to confirm the identity of the persons taking the test, make sure the sampling kit and sample have not been tampered with and ensures the testing is done in a certified lab.

That’s why some companies will insist on in-office physical testing for legal tests.

But if you just need to know whether someone is your sibling, a basic at-home test will do.


Tips For Improving Results

sibling dna test

Sibling DNA tests are tricky compared to paternity tests because siblings are more closely related to their parents than they are to each other.

That’s why many sibling DNA tests compare more locations or markers in the DNA to improve testing accuracy.

Whether you are getting a sibling test for peace of mind or a court case, here are a few tips for improving the accuracy and reliability of the results.

  • Test with a company that compares at least 20 genetic markers. Some cheaper tests only look at 16 markers while the best ones can compare as many as 40 markers. Any number above 20 will deliver high-quality results.
  • Have the shared parent take a test as well. Most companies allow you to add the shared parent’s (usually the mother) DNA sample for testing. This dramatically increases the quality of the test.
  • For two male siblings wondering if they share a father, get a Y-DNA test (FTDNA provides one). This test is very accurate since the Y-chromosome barely changes from father to son. If two make siblings have the same Y-chromosome, then they share the same father.
  • For any two siblings, male or female, wondering whether they share a mother, get an mtDNA test (FTDNA provides one). This test compares the mitochondrial DNA passed down from the mother. Like Y-DNA, mtDNA barely changes as it is passed down. So two siblings with the same mtDNA have the same mother.

Frequently Asked Questions About Sibling DNA Tests

how much does a sibling dna test cost

How does a sibling DNA test prove who a sibling is?

By comparing genetic markers between two supposed siblings.

If they share roughly 50% of their DNA, they are full siblings. If they share about 25% of their DNA, they are half-siblings. If they share very little of their DNA, they are not related (or might be cousins).

How accurate is a sibling DNA test?

Paternity tests are generally more accurate because it is much easier to compare a child to their parent.

The accuracy of a sibling DNA test will depend on how many locations the lab compares. The minimum is usually 15 or 16. The ideal range is 20-30.

For extra accuracy, look for a company that tests at least 40 markers.

But no matter how many markers a lab tests, no DNA test is 100% accurate. In fact, your sibling DNA result will be a probability.

In most cases, a high probability is almost a guarantee that they are your sibling. But there is always a small chance that they might not.

Can full siblings have different DNA?

Yes, it’s possible.

While each sibling gets roughly 50% of their DNA from each parent, the share from each parent is not exactly the same.

The parents themselves have a mixture of different genes passed down from earlier generations.

Because of a process called gene recombination (a shuffling of genes during fertilization of the egg), your mother can pass on different genes to you from those she passes on to your sibling.

The same with the father, resulting in slightly different DNA in siblings.

In fact, full siblings share only about 50% of their DNA because of the recombination process.

The more multi-racial your parents are, the more the genes get mixed up.

If you take an ancestry test from 23andMe, FTDNA or AncestryDNA, you might find that your ethnicity make up is also different from that of your sibling.

Even identical siblings, who theoretically share 100% of their DNA, have different DNA because of changes in how their individual genes express themselves.

That’s the complexity of DNA.

Can a sibling DNA test be wrong?

Yes, that’s always a possibility though it is rare.

It can happen if the lab tested too few markers and got a false positive/negative or the sample was not good enough.

If you have doubts about your results, test with another lab.

Can a DNA test ‘prove’ half-siblings?

Yes, it can. The lab will check both your genetic markers to see if you share roughly 25% of your DNA.

If you do, then you are likely half-siblings. If it’s more, around 50%, you are full siblings.

What percentage of DNA do half-siblings share?

Around 25%.

What percentage of DNA do full siblings share?

Around 50%.

Identical siblings share roughly 100% of DNA.

Do you inherit more DNA from mother or father?

You inherit roughly the same amount of DNA from each parent. But it’s not always a clean 50/50 split.

Sometimes you can have slightly more DNA from one parent than the other.

Do brothers and sisters have the same blood type?

Not necessarily. It will depend on the alleles inherited from the parents.

Only in a few cases is it a guarantee that both siblings will have the same blood type. E.g., When both parents have an O blood type.

But in many cases, blood type is by chance. It depends on which allele you get from each parent.

You can happen to have the same blood type as your sibling, or it can be different.