iGENEA Review 2023

Discovering your history has never been easier, thanks to the excellent online resources available to eager amateur historians.

One of the most popular and fascinating ways to learn more about your family is by doing a DNA test.

There are lots of online companies that offer DNA testing, so which one should you choose? To make your decision easier, we are looking at different DNA testing companies and providing you with the information you need to make the right decision.

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This article will look at iGENEA, the services it provides, and whether taking an iGENEA test will help you discover the information you want to know about your ancestry.

Who Are iGENEA?

iGENEA is based in Switzerland and provides three levels of DNA testing.

iGENEA was started in 2006 by Dipl. Biol. Joelle Apter and is associated with Family Tree DNA, with which they share databases and labs.

Their extensive testing uses state-of-the-art technology to test mtDNA, yDNA, and autosomal DNA. The extensiveness of testing is dependent on the level you choose, with the most expensive 'Expert' testing results dating back around 100,000 years.

How Does the iGENEA Test Work?

The iGENEA test works by the user taking a swab of their mouth and sending this to the lab for testing.

The swab will contain mucous membrane cells, and the DNA is extracted by treating the sample with proteinase K, an enzyme that causes the cells to release their DNA.

Each sample is given a barcode and scanned to ensure there are no mix-ups. Samples are transferred to a plate that has a solution containing tiny magnetic particles. The DNA is given a negative charge by mixing it in the solution, causing it to be attracted to the magnetic particles.

The plate is then set while the solution is carefully removed. The DNA remains on the magnetic particles, and a DNA fixing buffer is added to each.

Heating the block to 65 ºC causes the DNA to loosen from the magnetic particles. They then go into a fixing buffer and are transferred to individual test tubes to be stored.

Test tubes are sealed and barcoded before being stored in a freezer at -20 ºC.

Samples can then be requested for testing, and mixtures containing dye and chemicals are used for DNA analysis. A robot pipetter takes a small portion of DNA solution that has been thawed out and adds it to a PCR mix.

The plate containing the sample is placed in the PCR device, where it is heated and cooled. The replication process takes roughly three hours, and when the PCR is de-activated, the products can be used for sequencing and electrophoresis.

Before electrophoresis, the DNA needs to be purified by a CyBIO robot. It can then be transferred to a sequencer. DNA samples are passed through gel-filled capillaries that it applies a positive electrical charge. The smaller molecules will pass through the gel at a greater speed, allowing the DNA to be sorted and recorded by dye markings and size.

The mtDNA sequence is yielded by the sequence of green, red, black, and blue peaks. yDNA analysis can be analyzed by recording individual peaks.

Specialized computer software is used to analyze data, and scientists verify the accuracy of the work. A group of biotechnologists and biologists are on hand to ensure the process and results are accurate and confer on more complicated or unusual test results.

What Does an iGENEA Testing Kit Include?

DNA Kits will come in robust packaging and contain packaging for sending your test back. Inside you will find instructions, a swab, and a small plastic container that can be sealed with your sample inside.

How to Purchase an iGENEA Testing Kit

Ordering a DNA test from iGENEA is relatively straightforward. If you are interested in ordering a test, follow these simple steps;

Step 1

In the top right corner of the iGENEA website is a red button that says "Order Test." Click on this to start the process.

Step 2

You will be directed to an order page giving you three options. You will be able to choose between a basic, premium, or expert test option. Each test offers different levels of results, with iGENEA Expert offering full cover.

After choosing the level of testing, you would like, click on the green 'Order' button.

Step 3

You will now be able to enter your name, address, and email. There is also a box that allows comments regarding your case if you have any questions or requests. Enter your details, then click the green button in the bottom right that says 'Next.'

Step 4

Step 4 allows you to review your information, check and agree to the site's terms and conditions, and select whether you are ordering as a gift. If you are, you can print out a voucher that can be redeemed.

If you are ready to proceed using PayPal as your payment method, click the green button in the bottom right corner that says 'Pay.'

Step 5

You will then be transferred to the PayPal site to complete your order. After confirming your order through PayPal, you will return to the iGENEA site for confirmation that the order has been placed.

How Much Do iGENEA Test Kits Cost?

The cost of your iGENEA test will differ depending on the level of testing you want. The cost and benefits of the different levels of iGENEA testing are as follows;

iGENEA Basic Test

The iGENEA Basic test is the cheapest level of testing offered and costs just $199.

For this, you will receive a result certificate containing your percentage origin and will find a basic level of relatives that are on the extensive database.

iGENEA Premium Test

The iGENEA Premium test is the mid-level testing option and costs $559.

For this price, you will receive the same as the basic package, as well as information regarding your ancient tribe and a more extensive level of relatives.

iGENEA Premium also offers an upgrade option of $10 that allows you to find out if there are any famous people you are related to.

iGENEA Expert Test

The iGENEA Expert test is the full cover option and the most expensive at $1499.

For this price, you will receive everything from the basic and premium packages, you won't have to upgrade to find out about any famous people you are related to, and you will receive all ancient tribe information and all relatives on the database.

How to Use an iGENEA Testing Kit

Taking the iGENEA DNA test is as straightforward as ordering it. iGENEA tests will be sent the same day, and delivery times will differ depending on location and delivery services.

When you receive the DNA test kit, you will be able to use the kit as explained below;


When your test kit arrives, you will receive instructions that are easy to follow. The first step will be swabbing the inside of your cheek with the swab provided.


You will then be able to secure your sample in the protective plastic sample case. This should be sealed shut before posting.


You will be provided with pre-addressed packaging that you will be able to use to send the sample back to iGENEA for laboratory analysis.

The Pros and Cons of an iGENEA Testing Kit

Choosing the right DNA testing service for your needs is essential but can be challenging. To make your decision a little easier, we have compiled a pros and cons list.


  • Three levels of testing offer more choice for customers
  • The tests are straightforward to carry out at home
  • iGENEA provides extensive ancestry testing and a high level of accuracy
  • The reports received by customers are easy to understand


  • Fitness and health testing are not provided
  • Customers are not given access to the raw data from testing
  • There are additional shipping costs for the test and results
  • The pricing is relatively expensive in comparison to competitors

When and How Will I Receive My Results?

You should receive your results within 6 to 10 weeks. You will be provided with detailed online results as well as an official certificate that will be delivered to your home.

After receiving your results, you will have access to an extensive database that allows you to explore potential living relatives and get in contact with them.

Is an iGENEA Test Accurate?

In order to provide accurate results, iGENEA partners up with a list of other companies, including Bild, DieWelt, 24 Heures, LE Temps, SRF, and L'Hebdo.

They have an excellent reputation for providing comprehensive, accurate results.

Will iGENEA Keep My Information Private?

iGENEA has a strong focus on data protection and privacy. Their database is highly protected and secured against hacks. iGENEA does not share information with parties or companies not agreed to by the user.

iGENEA is unique in that it is the only DNA testing company that separates the examination of its samples with personal data processing. This offers customers a greater level of data protection.

How Does iGENEA Compare to the Competition?

There are many excellent DNA test services on the market, and choosing the right one for you can be challenging. Comparing competition can be a great way to find the DNA testing service to suit you.

In order to provide you with the information you need, we will compare the services of iGENeA with one of the most extensive services on the market, Ancestry.

iGENEA vs. Ancestry

Identifying your specific needs will inevitably make choosing a DNA testing company an easier choice. Bothe iGENEA and Ancestry have excellent reputations, so comparing how they perform will benefit the user.

The differences begin immediately in how samples are collected, with iGENEA testing cheek swabs and Ancestry testing saliva. Ancestry uses saliva to check over 700,000 markers, and iGENEA checks 500,000 - 710,000.

It is not known exactly how many geographic regions iGENEA cover, but Ancestry covers 350 worldwide regions.

Both companies provide an ancestral makeup report, maternal and paternal lineage, as well as cousin matching and Jewish DNA coverage.

Neither company provides a neanderthal percentage, and only Ancestry provides Native American coverage.

Ancestry has a much larger database size of 7,000,000 compared to iGENEA's 500,000. Both companies offer a similar test result timescale of between 6 to 8 weeks, but only Ancestry can provide family tree integration.

Both companies offer strict protection of your data, but Ancestry provides the user with more control and options over who can access the data.

While iGENEA offers an excellent service, Ancestry really excels and offers better value for money on a number of fronts. The overall experience of Ancestry is typically greater than that of iGENEA, but it is worth noting that iGENEA is still one of the premium DNA testing sites available.

iGENEA: Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Will I Be Entitled to Access the Genealogical DNA Database?

The great thing about ordering a DNA test with iGENEA is you will have lifelong access to the database. Every time new tests are carried out that are linked to your genetic profile, the list of "genetic cousins" grows.

It is possible to instruct iGENEA to cancel your online access, but it will not be terminated otherwise.

Future descendants will also be able to benefit from your access should they attempt to create a family tree.

Is it Possible to Order iGENEA DNA Testing as a Gift?

If you are ordering for someone else, you can enter the information in the comments box during the order process.

Alternatively, you can order as normal and select whether you want to receive a voucher rather than the DNA test kit. Instead of the voucher being delivered, you will be sent a link so you can forward it or print it yourself.

The recipient will then be able to redeem the voucher at their own convenience and enjoy the benefits of DNA testing to explore their ancestry.

Is it Easy to Find Relatives with an iGENEA Test?

During the iGENEA testing process, your genetic profile is compared with other people that have taken the test. Matches are then investigated to see how closely the two samples are related.

Genetic relatives are listed, and you will be able to explore this further in your online results. You will also be able to contact relatives via your online results if you are interested in meeting up.

This can be an excellent way of not only meeting relatives but also collaborating on family trees and discovering more about your ancestry.

Can DNA Testing Offer Anything to Genealogists?

If you are a genealogist or have had one work on your ancestry carried out by one, DNA testing can still provide crucial information necessary for providing an accurate and more complete family tree.

Due to missing or destroyed documents, there can often be gaps in family trees. Mistakes can also be made, and DNA genealogy is a helpful resource that can provide accurate and legitimate proof of relationships.

What is the Difference between mtDNA and yDNA?

mtDNA (Mitochondrial DNA) is the genetic material passed from a mother to their child. The Y chromosome passes from a father to a son.

Studying mtDNA and Y chromosomes help to differentiate where and when groups migrated around the world.

Females looking to explore the pure male line would need a sample from an uncle, cousin, brother, or father.

The Bottom Line

While our comparison showed an excellent alternative in Ancestry.com, iGENEA is a perfect example of how a DNA testing company can provide valuable information about your ancestry.

Having a choice between the basic, premium, and expert tests will help people decide the level of coverage they need and is also suitable for people looking for a test that suits their budget.

While it is true that there is no direct link to a family tree, the information you gather from their tests can be extremely beneficial if you are creating a family tree on another site. The ability to discover and even contact living relatives opens up even more doors of opportunity.

By taking a simple mucus sample, you will be able to find out about thousands of years of family history. The unlimited customer service makes it easy to use resources like the family finder, where it is possible to discover, contact, meet, and collaborate with living relatives.

While iGENEA is not the cheapest option on the market, the data security and privacy, accuracy of testing, and quality of service make this an excellent choice.

Neil Edwards

Neil Edwards

Genealogist and family-tree research specialist

Neil was born in Shropshire, England surrounded by centuries of living history. His interest in the past has been a lifelong passion leading to undergraduate degrees in both Economic History & Geography and History & Politics.

This interest in history quickly translated to family history when he moved to the U.S. in 2010. It was here that he began working on his own family tree as well as that of his American wife. That research allowed him to gain a wealth of experience working with both U.S. and European genealogical documents and studying their best uses in researching family history.

Following 9 years of honing his genealogical research skills, Neil was proud to have earned a certificate in Genealogical Research from Boston University in late 2019. Neil also took part in the research process for a Duke University study into the families of 19th Century UK Members of Parliament.

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