How To Upload Your DNA to Living DNA (With Pictures)

This article is a walkthrough of how to upload your DNA to Living DNA.

We’ll also take a look at the background of this relatively recent company. And we’ll check how Living DNA treats your privacy and complies with law enforcement. You should be sure you’re comfortable with these aspects before you upload your DNA to any site.

Which DNA Tests Does Living DNA Accept?

Living DNA accepts uploads of raw DNA results from the major consumer DNA testing companies, including

  • Ancestry
  • MyHeritage
  • 23andMe
  • FamilyTreeDNA *

Living DNA only processes autosomal DNA results. All the companies I list above only sell autosomal DNA kits – apart from FamilyTreeDNA.

If you tested with FamilyTreeDNA, be sure you’re using the “Family Finder” DNA results (FamilyTreeDNA also sells Y and mitochondrial kits).

What Do You Get When You Upload Your DNA to Living DNA?

Living DNA is a fairly recent arrival to consumer DNA testing, and it doesn’t have all the features of the more established rivals.

The two main features available for free are: matching with DNA relatives and being able to send them messages.

DNA relatives

Living DNA gives you a list of your DNA relatives in their database. You may recognize some who also transferred from where you originally tested.

However, Living DNA also sells its own DNA kits. The benefit of uploading to the site is that you may get additional DNA matches that aid in your research.

Send messages

Living DNA uses an internal messaging system to let you contact the DNA relatives on your list.

Paid and future features

The free tier provides a basic level of ethnicity reports that are to the level of continent. You need to pay an upgrade fee to unlock the more detailed ethnicity reports.

Other sites have features like family trees and chromosome browser. These are not available within the LivingDNA website yet, although the company says it is working to incorporate them in the future.

Living DNA And Law Enforcement

Some of the companies that accept DNA uploads are more open to cooperation with law enforcement than others. In contrast, some companies set a higher bar to usage for criminal investigations by demanding court orders for access.

Living DNA is in the latter camp of requiring court orders or subpoenas for legal access. So you won’t see a specific opt-in/out clause for law enforcement co-operation, as you get with FamilyTreeDNA or GEDmatch.

Living DNA is based in the United Kingdom, but don’t assume that it’s beyond the reach of other jurisdictions. The company uses test laboratories in the United States as well as the UK.

Some Background On Living DNA

Although Living DNA is fairly recent to consumer DNA testing, the founders have an older track record with providing DNA testing services to legal agencies in the United Kingdom. The company launched its consumer KNA kits in 2016.

Our article on who owns Living DNA covers the company background in considerable detail. That includes some controversy surrounding links with a group involved in esoteric healing.

A Step-By-Step Guide On How To Upload Your DNA to Living DNA

This section has a pictorial guide on uploading your DNA to Living DNA.

For people who prefer video, here is a short video that goes through the upload process.

YouTube player

Step 1: Go to the Living DNA website and choose “Upload DNA”

You need to scroll down through the home page to find the Upload button.

When I ran through the process, the sequence took me through several web pages where I had to click “Upload” again (as opposed to activating a DNA kit).

Step 2: Set up a free account

Eventually, you’ll get to the sequence where you set up a free account on the website.

Step 3: Upload your raw DNA file

You will have downloaded your raw DNA results from the site you tested with. It is likely a zip file, which you will upload as-is i.e. do not extract the contents.

The file upload page gives you a drag-and-drop option to drag your file to the web page. Simply drag the file to the web page. The upload may take a while to complete.

If you having already downloaded your DNA results, here are some tutorials:

Step 4: Opt into Family Matching

If you only want to use the ethnicity reports, then you don’t need to follow this step.

When you complete the upload process, the sequence takes you to the main dashboard within the website. Until your DNA file has been processed, sections like the ethnicity reports (“recent ancestry”) will be grayed out.

You should check that you are opted into Family Matching, which allows you to view and contact your DNA relatives who are also in the Living DNA database.

Click into the “Family Matching” section and you can toggle the option on or off.

Step 5: Wait for the processing to complete

The company says that it will take up to 72 hours for your upload to complete processing. Living DNA will send you an email to confirm that the processing is finished and you can view your DNA relatives.

In my experience, I received the completion email within two days of my upload.

Margaret created a family tree on a genealogy website in 2012. She purchased her first DNA kit in 2017. She created this website to share insights and how-to guides on DNA, genealogy, and family research.

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