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Raw DNA Data Interpretation: Free vs Paid

Written by Michael Principato, BPHE (Bachelor of Physical and Health Education) | Last updated:

This article will discuss how to get free interpretations of raw DNA data, and where it is offered. Furthermore, it will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of choosing a free service versus a paid service.

What is a raw DNA file?

Raw DNA files are generated after a DNA sample is sent to a lab for analysis. This can occur when using any DNA testing platform, such as SelfDecode, which offers convenient at-home testing kits.

When analysis is conducted, a raw DNA data file is generated. The difference is that each platform will analyze slightly or vastly different genetic alterations in our genetic code called SNPs. This is why uploading raw DNA data files to different platforms is beneficial. By uploading a raw DNA data file to different platforms, one can potentially discover even more about their genetic blueprint.

How can I get my raw DNA file?

This will differ slightly from company to company. Some companies such as 23&Me require an email from users to access their raw DNA file. Others such as SelfDecode and Ancestry have a more accessible button embedded in their dashboard on their platform.

Typically, companies will not charge a fee for accessing raw DNA files, but some will.

What you should know before uploading raw DNA files

Before uploading a raw DNA file to any online platform, users should understand exactly how their personal data will be stored, and possibly shared with third parties. For instance, some upload services partner with pharmaceutical companies and share data with them.

Other DNA testing companies and uploading services have a negative history of data breaches or leaks. It is always important to understand the privacy policies and security history of a raw DNA uploading platform before using it.

Where to upload and what to expect

With so many different options, the process of uploading your raw DNA data for free or to a paid service can be confusing. Most options fall into one of two categories: health or ancestry. Luckily, if there is no cost, it is possible to upload to many of these with little downside.

Health

Many uploading services offer health information or even recommendations with a free raw DNA data file upload. Some of these include:

Codegen.eu: A DNA “search engine” service that allows users to upload their raw DNA files for free. Codegen.eu offers users a wide variety of reports and health recommendations. Their reports (seen below) are quite detailed though, and some of the information is easy to get bogged down in.

Raw DNA data interpretation free

Genomapp: Genomapp offers some free reports after uploading raw genetic data to their platform. Their free reports include information about disease risk, traits, and drug responses. See the image below for an example.

Raw DNA data interpretation free

Genomelink: Another company that offers a free DNA upload. They offer a free report, but it only gives basic information about 25 traits. Genomelink only accepts raw DNA files from 23andMe, AncestryDNA, or MyHeritage.

Alternatives

Getting your raw DNA data interpreted for free can be tempting. However, keep in mind that most free services only offer limited health analysis. If you want a more in-depth look at how your genes affect your overall well-being, it might be worth checking out other services such as SelfDecode.

Starting at under $100 annually, this service offers much more than the platforms listed above. Users who have access to their raw DNA data can upload their file to SelfDecode without additional costs, or they can choose to get a DNA kit from SelfDecode for $90. SelfDecode offers research-based health recommendations, wellness reports, and a lab analyzer feature. 

Unlike free raw DNA interpretation services that look at a limited number of genetic variants, SelfDecode uses AI and machine learning to analyze up to 83 million variants related to health and gives personalized diet, lifestyle, and supplement recommendations, all backed by science.

Most impressively, SelfDecode has a team of over 80 highly skilled scientists, MDs, NDs, and software engineers to sift through the scientific research and present you with easy-to-understand, actionable wellness reports.

The amount of detail provided to SelfDecode users is impressive, and the recommendations and information is all backed by scientific research. The reports and informational material have scientific references embedded within them. Some sample reports with embedded scientific references from SelfDecode can be found below.

Ancestry

In addition to health options, there are some ancestry options for free raw DNA data interpretation. Some other companies offer free raw DNA data interpretation for ancestry purposes. For example, MyTrueAncestry offers a free DNA upload and a free basic ancestry report. The basic report (seen below) only scratches the surface of the information offered on the platform.

MyHeritage also offers users a basic family tree visualization along with free raw DNA data file uploading. It is important to note that this company experienced a data breach of over 90 million members that included compromising member’s usernames and passwords.

Comparisons

The following chart includes some of the companies listed above and includes some details about their features.

 

SelfDecode

Codegen.euGenomapp

MyTrueAncestry

Personalized & holistic health recommendations

Yes

NoNo

No

Products

DNA testing and analysis, wellness reports, health recommendations, lab analysis

Traits, wellness reports, health recommendations, user commentsDNA analysis app, health, traits, and drug response reports

DNA analysis, genealogical reports, paid ancient genetic sample comparisons, paid detailed population visualizations

Genes & genetic variants analyzed

Up to 83 million genetic variants

Unclear5,000 genes and 80,000 genetic markers

Analysis depends on subscription level

Raw data access

Yes

NoN/A

N/A

Cost (USD)

$97 – $387

$0Undisclosed, Free DNA upload available

$0 – $596

Summary

There are many places you get a raw DNA data interpretation for free, and receiving insightful analysis can be very interesting or even beneficial to health. That being said, choosing a service that is safe and reliable can be difficult. When it comes to personal genetic data, it is very important to choose the right platform to upload it to. Most free services are limited in what they offer, and don’t analyze all the relevant genetic variants that can affect your overall health.

By choosing a science-backed option such as SelfDecode, members can upload their raw DNA data for no additional cost without worrying about their data being sold or given away to anyone. With a subscription to SelfDecode, you also get access to SelfDecode Labs, a platform that allows you to upload your lab results and get insights based on over 500 lab markers and how to optimize them.

What sets SelfDecode apart from free raw DNA data interpretation services is the amount of data analyzed. By using AI and machine learning, SelfDecode is able to look at up to 83 million genetic variants to give you the most complete results. Plus, unlike other companies, SelfDecode also provides science-based personalized and prioritized diet, lifestyle, and supplement recommendations aimed at improving overall health.

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About the Author

Michael Principato

Michael Principato

BPHE (Bachelor of Physical and Health Education)
Michael received his BPHE from the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies at Queen's University

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