Exploring the Distinctions: Understanding the Differences Between GEDmatch, 23andMe, and AncestryDNA

Those new to DNA testing may have heard of Gedmatch. Here, we explain exactly why Gedmatch differs from sites such as AncestryDNA and 23andMe.

Gedmatch is an intriguing website offering multiple powerful DNA analysis tools. When I first used it, I couldn’t believe my eyes – such technology at our fingertips!

All those who have undergone DNA tests through AncestryDNA, 23andMe or any of the other major sites have access to Gedmatch’s incredible technology tools, with most features offered for free.

Let’s not get too ahead of ourselves here – let’s learn why Gedmatch differs from other sites for understanding your DNA.

What sets Gedmatch apart from other DNA sites like 23andMe and AncestryDNA is its non-experimental approach: instead of actually testing your DNA on Gedmatch itself, you can upload any previously collected samples from these other platforms into Gedmatch to take advantage of its extensive analysis tools.

By way of analogy, using DNA results from tests conducted with various companies can help you gain more knowledge about yourself, family tree and genetic relatives on Gedmatch. AncestryDNA and 23andMe are among the many DNA testing companies which collect and analyze DNA samples while offering interactive dashboards to help people learn from and explore their DNA results.

By uploading your DNA data to Gedmatch, you gain access to various tools and results not available through other DNA testing sites. On Gedmatch you can:

Use the One-to-Many Comparison Tool to quickly find new DNA matches who weren’t tested at your same company; use the Chromosome Browser to compare your DNA with that of all your matches on this website and view detailed information about size and location on their chromosomes for any shared segments that exist between you both.
Use the Admixture (Heritage) tool to estimate where your ancient ancestors may have lived and discover people that might be related to you on either of your family trees by using the People Who Match Both or One of Two Kits tool.
Discover if your DNA matches ancient samples by exploring the Archaic DNA Matches Tool.

There are other free tools besides those mentioned above, as well as an affordable “Tier 1” subscription of Gedmatch that provides access to more advanced tools such as:

Expanded versions of the One-to-Many Tool allow users to locate thousands of new DNA matches. Phasing of your matches enables you to build new kits containing only DNA that was passed from mother or father and helps in distinguishing paternal from maternal DNA matches on Gedmatch.
Search Matching Segment, which can assist in finding segments shared among groups of matches, may also prove invaluable in this search process.

Tier 1 dashboard features numerous technical tools – too numerous to list here – but one important fact stands out – there is much more that you can learn than what I can outline here.

Why does Gedmatch differ from DNA results found elsewhere?
Gedmatch was founded by Curtis Rogers and John Olsen in 2010 to assist genealogists and those conducting DNA research learn more about their family trees. Even after being acquired by Verogen, a company specializing in forensic science, Gedmatch remains true to its original goal by offering free tools for family tree researchers.

Gedmatch currently boasts more than one million users who have tested their DNA with numerous DNA testing companies and uploaded their test results onto Gedmatch to discover matches who tested with sites other than themselves.

Usually, we can only find DNA matches using companies that conduct DNA testing on us; only certain DNA testing companies allow uploads from other companies.

Gedmatch provides an effective solution by matching individuals who tested with other companies and uploaded their DNA files onto their respective sites.

Are 23andMe or Ancestry more accurate than Gedmatch?
No; Gedmatch does not compare favorably in terms of accuracy to either 23andMe or Ancestry as neither perform DNA tests themselves. It simply differs in that regard.

Gedmatch utilizes data from your DNA test taken with AncestryDNA or 23andMe (or other companies allowing you to download your DNA testing file) so you can compare your DNA with those of other Gedmatch users or take advantage of analysis tools I mentioned at the outset of this article.

Gedmatch Admixture calculators may be less precise in their estimates of recent ancestry research; 23andMe and AncestryDNA have invested significant resources into creating large DNA sample databases used as reference panels that show which regions most closely match your DNA; this has proven accurate.

Conclusion We hope that this post has provided you with enough knowledge about Gedmatch to better comprehend its differences from websites like 23andMe, AncestryDNA and MyHeritage/Family Tree DNA. They really are quite distinct!

If you have any inquiries or experiences to share about Gedmatch that were unobtainable through other DNA testing sites, I welcome them in the comment thread below.

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