Gene Heritage Review: A Simple Insight Into Your Genetics

Written by Jeffrey | Last updated:


  1. Products: Family genetic analysis.
  2. Cost: $12.
  3. Reports: Individual, Parent-child, & Grandchild reports.
  4. Raw data access: Gene Heritage does not offer DNA testing and requires customers to have access to a preexisting raw genetic file.
  5. Privacy: Gene Heritage claims they will never sell your information or use it for commercial purposes.
  6. Alternatives: SelfDecode – The best option for health-focused DNA analysis with personalized reports, symptom analysis, and health recommendations.


  • An affordable DNA analysis report for your existing raw DNA file
  • Supports file types from several major DNA services


  • Does not report on traits of clinical importance
  • The company does not give any health recommendations
  • Does not offer a DNA test

About Gene Heritage

Gene Heritage is an online service based in New York, USA, that allows people to upload their raw genetic data to provide a family genetic analysis.

The company’s Technical Director, E. Castedo Ellerman, previously developed the open-source software Genomology. Gene Heritage uses that same analysis software, presenting it in a way that is both understandable and visually attractive.

Their Creative Director, Joseph Silver, has been a designer for television networks and advertising agencies since 1994 and leads the design direction of Gene Heritage’s reports.

Review of Gene Heritage Products & Features

The Gene Heritage website is simple and straightforward. They offer three products: an Individual Report, a Parent-Child Report, and a Grandchild Report.

You have the option of uploading the raw DNA file of a parent or child in addition to your individual DNA file. Doing so will show you how genes have been passed down from a parent to a child and which family members have the same allele pairs.

Similarly, the Grandchild Report reveals which genes had been passed on from each grandparent. Note that this is not a paternity or maternity test.

The raw DNA files from the following companies are compatible with Gene Heritage:

  • AncestryDNA
  • 23andMe
  • MyHeritage
  • FamilyTreeDNA
  • Living DNA
  • Genes for Good

If you’ve had your DNA tested by a provider not listed on their website, you may be able to upload your raw DNA file. You may try uploading the file directly or contact Gene Heritage’s customer support team.

Review of Gene Heritage Reports

We will detail the Individual Report in this review. The other two reports are similar, except that they display the origin of alleles from either a parent or grandparent.

Individual Report – The Results

In the “Your Reports” section of the site, you will be able to view or download your report. Your genetic data and report may be deleted within a week, so you should download a copy as a backup before viewing it online.

Results Section: Eye Color

The first result shown is for eye color. In the example below, the gene observed is OCA2, of which one “Light” allele and one “Dark” allele was inherited. This allele pair determines which version of the gene is present.

Gene Heritage report

Eye color alleles

Optionally, you may upload genetic information from one or both of your parents. You would then learn which parent gave you which allele.

There is expanded information about the ancestral origins of each allele, and about the OCA2 gene. The OCA2 gene produces melanin, a pigment affecting eye color. People with more melanin have darker eyes, whereas people with less melanin have lighter eyes.

The OCA2 gene is not the only gene involved with determining eye color, but it is the most influential and can also affect skin and hair color.

The report includes a reference page for this gene and the other genes analyzed. The reference pages included links to scientific articles about each gene and information about the alleles involved in determining traits.

Results Section: Armpit Odor and Earwax

The next result covers armpit odor and earwax type, which are each determined by the same gene. One copy of the “dry” allele and one copy of the dominant “wet” allele appears in the example below, which indicates wet earwax.

Gene Heritage results

Sample earwax and odor types

Earwax type and armpit odor are both produced by specialized skin glands, and the ABCC11 gene is responsible for encoding a protein involved in apocrine secretion in those glands, which is why the same gene influences both traits.

Results Section: Taste Sensitivity

The TAS2R38 gene and the TAS2R31 gene affect sensitivity to bitter tastes. The TAS2R38 gene affects taste sensitivity to PTC and PROP (two bitter-tasting chemicals) and similar bitter chemicals in vegetables.

The example report below shows two copies of the “Sensitive” allele, which indicates that this individual is more likely to perceive PTC, PROP, and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, and cabbage as bitter.

A variation of the TAS2R38 gene, affecting bitter tastes

The TAS2R38 gene encodes instructions for building one of the types of bitterness taste receptors in the tongue’s taste buds.

The TAS2R31 gene affects bitterness sensitivity to saccharin, an artificial sweetener used in drinks, sweets, and medicines. The example above shows one copy of the “Sensitive” allele, and one of the “Insensitive” allele.

This gene also influences sensitivity to caffeine and quinine, which is found in tonic water, and a chemical found in artichokes.

Results Section: Smell Sensitivity

The first of the genes covering smell sensitivity is OR5A1, which affects sensitivity to β-ionone, an organic compound found in violets and rose oil. The example below shows both copies of the “Insensitive” allele, meaning that this individual is less sensitive to β-ionone, and therefore to floral fragrances.

A variation of the OR5A1 gene, affecting sensitivity to floral scents

Another gene related to smell perception is OR2J3, which affects sensitivity to leaf alcohol, a grassy-scented plant substance. One copy of the “Sensitive” allele and one copy of the “Insensitive” allele indicates less sensitivity to grassy smells than some.

The third gene related to smell sensitivity is OR2M7, which influences sensitivity to the pungent odorants in “asparagusic acid waste”, i.e. the pungent smell in urine after eating asparagus.

Results Section: Alcohol and Lactose Tolerance

The ALDH2 gene affects how the body processes alcohol, and whether a person gets a flush response from consuming alcohol. An individual with both copies of the “Off” allele does not experience facial flush from alcohol.

Alcohol flush is a result of how the “On” allele interferes with the body’s ability to break down acetaldehyde, a toxic by-product of alcohol. This causes blood vessels to dilate and the skin to turn red.

Lactose tolerance is affected by the LCT gene region, including both the LCT gene that encodes lactase (the enzyme that helps to digest lactose, a sugar occurring in milk and dairy products) and the MCM6 gene, which regulates the production of lactase.

Gene Heritage lactose intolerance report

LCT Gene Region

This sample version of the LCT gene has one “Off” and one “On” allele, meaning that this individual digests lactose better than people with both copies of the “Off” allele.

Results Section: Sprinting Performance

The last gene included in the report is the ACTN3 gene, which has a minor influence on sprinting performance. In the example below, this individual has one copy of the “On” allele and one of the “Off” allele, which indicates some predisposition to faster sprinting ability.

A variation of the ACTN3 gene

Although Olympic sprinters tend to have both copies of the “On” allele, there are many other factors that influence sprint ability, including environmental, diet and training factors, and other genes.

The ACTN3 gene is responsible for encoding the Alpha-actinin protein, which affects the composition of skeletal muscle, and so influences sprint ability.

Cost of Gene Heritage

You may upload a compatible raw DNA genome file for $12 per family member. This will provide access to your reports for a one-week period.

Health Recommendations from Gene Heritage

Gene Heritage’s analysis does not report on traits of clinical importance, and they do not offer health recommendations. Customers are encouraged to consult with their healthcare provider for any health recommendations based on the information from these gene reports.

Review of Gene Heritage Privacy & Data Security

Raw DNA files are deleted from the Gene Heritage servers within a month if no purchase is made, or after a year of account inactivity. You can delete your DNA data at any time.

Your reports may be deleted from the server after a one-week period. Gene Heritage recommends that customers download their reports as a backup before viewing them online.

Gene Heritage does not sell personal DNA data nor personally identifiable information to third parties. Raw DNA files uploaded to the site cannot be downloaded by customers, as a security measure.

SelfDecode vs Gene Heritage

  1. SelfDecode delivers natural supplement, diet, and lifestyle suggestions based on your genes that you can implement right away. Gene Heritage does not offer these suggestions.
  2. SelfDecode tells you why they make each recommendation so that you can understand the science behind the suggestion. Gene Heritage only gives you information about traits and their parental origins.
  3. SelfDecode prioritizes recommendations based on their analysis of all the relevant genes instead of one gene at a time (through reports). Gene Heritage does not report on traits of clinical importance.
  4. SelfDecode takes a holistic approach to give recommendations that are best for your genes AND the health topic. Gene Heritage does not give recommendations to optimize your health.
  5. SelfDecode has the world’s first and only personalized genetics blog that allows you to get new gene-based recommendations daily. Gene Heritage does not offer a personalized blog.
  6. SelfDecode is the most comprehensive and looks at more genes & SNPs (over 83 million) to deliver the best analysis of genetic risks. Gene Heritage analyzes your whole DNA file but only reports on a selection of genes and the traits they influence.
  7. SelfDecode supports everything with peer-reviewed scientific studies in their research and checks for contradicting information. Gene Heritage references scientific articles written about certain genes and the alleles involved in determining traits.
  8. SelfDecode never sells your data or gives it away. Gene Heritage also promises they will never sell your information or use it for commercial purposes.




Gene Heritage 23andMe Ancestry
Personalized & holistic health recommendations Yes No No


One-click regimen builder

Yes No No No
Products DNA testing, wellness reports, research-based personalized blog posts, health recommendations DNA analysis, Individual, Parent-Child, and Grandchild trait reports DNA testing, traits, wellness reports, more accurate ancestry

DNA testing, health and ancestry reporting

Raw data access

Yes N/A Yes Yes
Cost (USD) $97 – $389 $12 per family member $99 – $499


Gene Heritage Reviews

4 customers on DNAtestingchoice.com rated Gene Heritage with 4 out of 5 stars.

Most users found the information about their genes surprising. For example, one customer is a Caucasian person who found out they have a genetic mutation that originated in Africa. Other users found it fascinating how traits were passed down from parent to child.

Gene Heritage has also been featured in articles by Family Tree Magazine, Identity Strategist, DNA Weekly, and Family Locket. These articles highlight Gene Heritage’s ease of use, low cost, and their explanation of how the genes you inherit and pass down can affect traits.

Alternatives to Gene Heritage

SelfDecode: The best option for health-focused DNA analysis with personalized reports and recommendations to improve your quality of life. 

Gene Heritage Review Summary

Gene Heritage’s reports will give you insights about where your traits come from (if you opt for the Parent-Child or Grandchild analysis) and some information about the genes that influence them.

However, it will not tell you much else. While it is an affordable service on its own, if you wish to receive any actionable recommendations about your lifestyle, diet, or overall health you would need to look elsewhere.

An alternative such as SelfDecode provides you a more affordable option with science-backed and comprehensive holistic health reports in addition to completely personalized diet, supplement, and lifestyle recommendations to help you take control of your health.

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