Rating based on our YSEQ review
7 facts from our YSEQ review
- YSEQ location: Germany
- Services: multiple next-generation sequencing products (Y-chromosome DNA testing, mtDNA and whole-genome sequencing)
- Data download: raw DNA data download available
- Privacy: samples are destroyed and data is deleted upon request
- Cost: ranges from less $100 to over $1500
- Complimentary services: YFull, GEDmatch
- Alternatives: Nebula Genomics ($299 for 30x Whole Genome Sequencing), Veritas Genetics ($599), Sano Genetics (~ $1100), and Dante Labs (starting at $599)
This is a review of YSEQ, a direct-to-consumer genetic testing company that primarily offers Y chromosome sequencing tests and services. It was founded by Thomas and Astrid Krahn. In more recent years, the company has expanded, and now also offers mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and autosomal DNA tests (whole genome sequencing). Based in Germany, YSEQ was established in 2013 by Thomas Krahn and Astrid Krahn, who were former employees of Family Tree DNA.
With YSEQ, users have full power to decide the exact regions of the Y chromosome or mtDNA they want to sequence. True to the company’s tagline, “YSEQ: DNA Origins Project,” most users use this service to better understand their ancestry. While the company offers an impressive range of custom sequencing options, they do not offer reports with DNA interpretation. Most users use third-party services, such as YFull, to interpret their raw data.
How does YSEQ Work?
Review of YSEQ Services: The Basics of SNPs, STRs, and Haplogroups
Single nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs, are differences in DNA sequences at the level of a single nucleotide. For example, when DNA sequences from two individuals differ at a single point, it is called an SNP.
On the other hand, short tandem repeats, or STRs, are a series of repeated DNA sequences that differ between individuals. Identifying the number of repeats at specific areas of the genome can create a “DNA fingerprint”. This genomic fingerprint may be used to determine someone’s genealogy.
Together, SNPs and STRs are markers that can be inherited; a combination of such markers is known as a haplotype. There are different Y-DNA and mt-DNA tests for different haplotypes, which may assign people to a specific “haplogroup”. While Y-DNA tests can tell us more about paternal origins, mtDNA tests tell us about maternal origins.
The services offered by YSEQ are based on testing STRs and SNPs found in the Y chromosome and in mitochondrial DNA. The test can tell people more about their ancestral origins.
You can choose from a large number of fixed Y chromosome haplogroup panels and STR marker panels. There are also custom haplogroup panels and a near-endless number of custom SNPs.
Once users send their DNA to YSEQ, it is stored with the company in case further analyses are required.
Review of YSEQ Y Chromosome Haplogroups
YSEQ recommends that first-time users order the Top Level Orientation Panel, which costs $159 and covers all the haplogroups. In this panel, YSEQ does multiple rounds of testing to determine your exact position in the Y chromosome ancestral tree.
They first determine whether you belong to the M169 or M9 category. Once this information is available, they work down the tree to determine your super-clade. Each super-clade corresponds to different ancestral origins. For example, Haplogroup D-M174 is found in East Asia and the Andaman Islands.
The other 76 defined haplogroup panels are more specific, and cost between $88 and $99. Previous results from other tests can help users understand which specific haplogroup panel they would like to order.
For example, the Q Superclade Panel is for users who have other STR tests that point them in this direction. In this panel, YSEQ will test the users for defining markers, and then work its way down the ancestral tree.
In addition to the 77 defined haplogroup panels, YSEQ also offers 179 custom panels that work similarly to family finders offered by other DNA testing services. These panels are highly specific, and more expensive ($89 – $509). For example, the E1a1-Z31503 Phelps Panel is specifically recommended for the surname origin “Phelps”. Similarly, the E1b-L1019 Goodrich Panel is for people with the surname Goodrich. YSEQ is a good option for genetic genealogists who are interested in such genographic projects.
If you are particularly interested in genographic projects related to the British Isles, you should also check out Living DNA.
Review of YSEQ Y Chromosome STRs, SNPs, and Panels
YSEQ offers 9 combined STR panels ($25-$99), 125 specific STRs ($9.95-$15), and 131,611 SNPs ($1 each) to choose from. If there is an SNP that is not available, users can put in a special request. Since each SNP corresponds to a different haplogroup, users can create their own custom haplogroup panel for testing.
However, this level of customizable testing requires a certain amount of prior knowledge and research. Users need to know their specific family history, have prior tests, and know the exact haplogroup they want to further investigate.
Review of YSEQ mtDNA tests
YSEQ offers 4 mtDNA tests. Two of the tests are for the mitochondrial hyper-variable region 1 (HPV1, $25) and region 2 (HPV2, $25). Users can also test their entire mitochondrial DNA ($145), or upgrade from HPV1 or HPV2 to the full mitochondrial DNA ($115).
There are also 30 additional mtDNA custom panels, corresponding to specific regions of the mitochondrial DNA ($15-$60).
Review of YSEQ Full Genome Sequencing
YSEQ offers three levels of full genome sequencing, specifically for genealogy researchers. Once the YSEQ team receives the sample, they measure the DNA concentration and conduct quality control. Once this is done, they send it off for sequencing on a NovaSeq 6000 platform. From the raw DNA FASTQ files, they annotate all Y chromosome SNPs and provide mtDNA haplogroups.
- Whole Genome Sequence 45 GBases: $579, Provides 15x coverage
- Whole Genome Sequence 90 Gbases: $929, Provides 30x coverage
- Whole Genome Sequence 150 Gbases: $1559, Provides 50x coverage
No medical or health analysis of the DNA data is conducted by YSEQ.
Review of YSEQ Results
YSEQ does not do any DNA analysis or interpretation for user samples. Users can see whether they test positive or negative for the reported haplogroups. Users are also given a table where they can see if they are ancestral (negative) or derived (positive) for SNPs.
For full genome sequencing, YSEQ provides users with the list of SNPs found in the data, with their ancestral states.
Users can export their data into third-party websites (such as YFull) if they would like to do further analysis.
Downloading Your YSEQ Data
Full genome sequencing data can be downloaded or can be mailed to the user on a micro SD card. YSEQ does not provide information about downloading the Y chromosome or mtDNA data and does not specify data formats.
Review of YSEQ Privacy
Once users send their DNA to YSEQ, it is stored with the company in case further analyses are required. Users can choose to email the company and have their samples destroyed.
According to the YSEQ privacy statement, they take all responsibility for keeping personal information private. However, they make “enough general information public to allow [them] to build a DNA database library usable for genealogical purposes”.
With user consent, this data can be used for biological research purposes.
YSEQ in the News
As a DNA testing company specializing in ancestral genetics and genealogy, YSEQ has not been particularly featured in the news. Here are a few articles, featured in Italian news websites:
- “Gli abitanti di Sassalbo? Origini dal Mar Caspio”. (“The inhabitants of Sassalbo? Origins from the Caspian Sea”)
- “Dal Medioevo ai giorni nostri: ho ricostruito l’albero genealogico dei Donadoni”. (“From the Middle Ages to the present day: I rebuilt the Donadoni family tree”)
- YSEQ review by cruwys: YSEQ.net – a new company offering a single SNP testing service
- YSEQ review by phylogeographer: Which test will best answer your questions?
YSEQ’s Competitive new WGS Prices
- YSEQ review by learnalittleeveryday: From STRs to SNPs – An update on my yDNA Testing
YSEQ Pros and Cons
|– An incredible number of options for Y chromosome DNA testing, with lots of room for customization. |
– YSEQ makes it easy to narrow down the user’s ancestry, with many different tests to do it.
– Full genome sequencing is available as an option at very high coverage (50x).
– Users can request their own SNPs and STRs.
|– Options are not as extensive for mtDNA or full genome sequencing.|
– Costs can pile up as more follow-up tests are done on the same data.
– Users need to do their own research to interpret the data or pay extra money to third party DNA analysis tools.
– Very expensive full genome sequencing.
– The website is difficult to navigate.
We finish our YSEQ review by comparing it to Nebula Genomics and other DNA testing companies.
Nebula Genomics is different from YSEQ and other genetic testing companies through its focus on providing extensive analysis of data. This data analysis can extend to the entire genome, instead of just one or two regions of a chromosome.
Our goal is to provide you with the best experience on our website. With full access to genome exploration tools, you can analyze your genetic data any time without fearing hidden fees or costs. Unlike other companies, we use the newest research to update your genetic reports every week. Furthermore, our reports contain much more than just genetic ancestry.
Less Effort For You
Whether it’s ancestry or health, we will do the research for you. You do not need to do any additional research to understand your results. Our intuitive interface allows you to unlock and understand your DNA data with minimal effort.
With Great Data Comes Great Responsibility
At Nebula Genomics, we understand and value your privacy above everything else. Ownership and control over your data are solely in your hands. If you choose to share your data with researchers, you can choose to be compensated.
Your data is stored on secure servers and is always encrypted. You can read more about the importance of DNA privacy.
More than Just Ancestry with Nebula Expand
Already have DNA data from other companies? You can upload your DNA data to receive a Nebula Genomics expanded report. Our reports provide more information than other genetic companies, which use DNA genotyping methods based on microarrays. We are able to fill in the blanks using our advanced statistical models, called imputation.
Instead of having limited and static reports for individual genetic traits, our reports are updated weekly. You have immediate access to hundreds of traits in the Nebula Research Library, without any hidden fees.
Nebula Genomics 30x Whole Genome Sequencing (NEW!)
Our goal has always been to put the power in your hands.
The DNA testing methods used by other companies only provide data from a portion of your genome. This data may often be from just one chromosome.
This means that you may miss out on valuable information. With our new 30x Whole Genome Sequencing service, we read 100% of your DNA. In other words, you review a fuller picture of your DNA. We are able to provide you with 10,000 times more data, which we use to give you an extensive report.
Picking the best place for your DNA test is a very important decision. To make the decision a bit easier, here is a comparison of YSEQ, 23andMe, AncestryDNA, and Nebula Genomics.
|DNA Testing Method||Y-chromosome sequencing, mtDNA sequencing, whole-genome sequencing (15x-50x coverage)||Genotyping||Genotyping||Whole Genome Sequencing (30x coverage)|
|DNA Reports||Not provided||One full report||One full report||An extended report that is updated weekly|
|Y-DNA, mtDNA, and Ancestry Reporting||Yes, but have to purchase mtDNA and Y DNA separately. Users need to do their own research.||Yes||Yes||Deep ancestry reporting with a full Y chromosome and mtDNA sequencing with results from FTDNA|
|Ownership of Data||Unclear whom the data belongs to.||Unclear. The customer can have saliva destroyed.||Unclear. The customer can delete/destroy DNA and data.||Your data permanently belongs to you|
|Focus on Privacy||Yes||No||No||Yes (You can learn more on our website)|
|Security technology used||Unclear||Standard security protocols like SSL.||Standard security protocols like SSL.||Blockchain, privacy-preserving computing|
|Data Upload Options||Yes, with a fee.||No||No||Yes. Imputation enables an expanded report|
|Free updates based on new research||No.||No.||No.||There are weekly updates to the report (learn more)|
|Tools to Explore Data||None.||Limited||Limited||Yes (learn more)|
|Data Access||Data can be downloaded, but the format is unclear.||Yes (23andMe format file).||Yes (AncestryDNA format file).||Yes (FASTQ, BAM, and VCF files).|
|Cost||Varies depending on individual needs. Can be as high as $1559.||$99, $199, or $499.||$99 or $149.||$0 to $299|
Interested in whole genome sequencing? You can check out these other products:
- Color Genomics (low coverage whole genome sequencing available)
- Dante Labs ($599 for 30x whole genome sequencing, most reports are available at an additional cost)
- Full Genomes ($75 to upload data – $2900 for most comprehensive DNA read)
- Sano Genetics (free upload; whole genome sequencing $1200)
- Sequencing.com ($399 for whole genome sequencing)
- Veritas Genetics ($599 for 30x whole genome sequencing – $3599 for advanced diagnostics)
- YSEQ ($929 for 30x whole genome sequencing)
Or would you like to contribute to genomic research but be compensated? Check our our Luna DNA review!
Did you like our YSEQ review? You can read more reviews on our blog, including YFull that offers a similar product, and check out our complete guide to the best DNA test kit and other home tests.