The Best DNA Test for Asian Ancestry

Asians have incorporated themselves quite aggressively all around the globe through centuries of emigration. Naturally, this has resulted to a mixture of races, with traces of Asian descent found in almost everyone’s bloodline. So it should come as no surprise if you’ve discovered hints of the Asian race in your ancestral history. But even with the commonality of Asian ethnicity, your desire to explore that unexpected lineage might be a little too strong to ignore.

Check out our guide on the Best DNA test.

Fortunately these days, there’s no need to consult with a professional genealogist to unravel the truths of your ancestry. Lots of tools have been made available to the general public on a quest to discover more about their family’s past, and these include direct-to-consumer DNA tests that you can take at home. Offering to provide you a detailed breakdown of your ancestral history and heritage, these resources have become an indispensable tool for those in search of their life’s origins.

The Teloyears Advanced Ancestry DNA test can be a smart way to learn more about your Asian roots. Their brand offers an extensive resource center that focuses mostly on Asian and Jewish ancestry, tracing back your lineage through both your maternal and paternal lineages. Results are divided into 3 layers of general to specific population groups, allowing a more in-depth understanding of your lineage as it began during the time of early Asian dynasties.

The Teloyears Advanced Ancestry DNA Test – An Overview

TELOYEARS ADVANCED ANCESTRY DNA TEST 
Sample requiredBlood
Types of tests availableAutosomal only
Database sizeNot specified
Family finder featureNone
ReachGeneralized haplogroups
Processing time6-8 weeks
PriceStarts at $89
Best forDiscover detailed Asian ethnicities and regional groups
WebsiteSee it here

A Look Into DNA Testing Kits for Asian Ancestry

There are presently more than 50 DNA testing service providers that offer direct-to-consumer DNA testing kits that can be used at home. And yes – that’s a lot to consider if you’re hoping to find nothing short of the best DNA test for Asian ancestry. While all of these services have some pretty good features to offer, understanding how they differ can make it easier for you to narrow your options and choose a test that will uncover the hidden truths you’re focused on.

1. Teloyears Advanced Ancestry DNA Test

The Teloyears service might not be as popular as the other front-runners in the at-home DNA testing market, but it does set itself apart with its unique concentration on ageing health. The original test offered by Teloyears – and that which they’re best known for – focuses on providing you an idea as to how well you’re ageing based on your genetic profile.

Aside from that, however, Teloyears also offers the Advanced Ancestry DNA test which comes out as the best DNA testing kit for those interested in dissecting their Asian ancestry. The service divides Asian ancestry into 4 main categories, but further subdivides these into more specific population groups. Their East Asian categories are particularly detailed, unavailable through most other DNA testing services.

Although they might not be able to provide a family finder feature, they do make up for it with highly detailed Asian ethnicity charts that can help you discover the possible Asian ancestry in your lineage. So if you were hoping to understand the specific Asian populations that contribute to your genetic make-up, then the Teloyears Advanced Ancestry test can be an intuitive tool.

2. FamilyTreeDNA

The FamilyTreeDNA test is perhaps one of the most popular currently available and offers more actionable results for those engaged in intricate personal genealogical research. Their database is home to an estimated one million registered DNA profiles, giving you a wide genealogical community that you can engage with and reach out to in order to expand your knowledge on your own lineage.

But more than the size of their population, the FamilyTreeDNA service can be a helpful tool for discovering your Asian roots because they’re the only provider that offers not just autosomal tests, but YNDA and mtDNA testing as well. So if you suspect that your Asian roots can be traced through a specific line in your family tree, these two tests can provide more accurate results that can pinpoint precisely where the Asian ancestry lies.

Lastly, the FamilyTreeDNA service encourages individuals of similar ethnic backgrounds to mingle, discuss, and learn from one another through unique groups that exist within the website. These dedicated clans focus specifically on ethnic roots and welcome members who are found with similar ancestral histories through the FamilyTreeDNA testing kits.

3. AncestryDNA

With a whopping 15 million registered DNA profiles, you might say that AncestryDNA is the biggest testing service in terms of population size. Their brand uses their wide collection of profiles to accurately detect the most probably ethnicities of their users by comparing and contrasting new profiles with existing DNA records.

More than that, the AncestryDNA testing kit can be a helpful resource if you’re interested in learning more about the history of specific Asian population. AncestryDNA has some of the most detailed historical records that tell you precisely how, where, and when ancestral populations moved from place to place. Using historical events as a guide, these resources provide you a clear picture of the circumstances that resulted to the migration of ancestral populations and their merging with other clans.

4. MyHeritage

Genealogical research can be confusing especially if you’re just starting out, but MyHeritage DNA makes it easy. Their simplified service serves you a very basic framework of your DNA profile, giving you the information you need in order to begin your journey into more complicated genealogical research tools and resources.

Their ethnicity mapping feature can be a great help for those interested in discovering the percentage of the Asian blood in their lineage. Asian populations are segregated into generalized categories to help you see which specific parts of Asia your ancestors may have come from.

5. 23andMe

The 23andMe Ancestral DNA test is yet another helpful resource for Asian ancestry research. Their database contains some 10 million registered DNA profiles and offers a fairly large community that you can reach out to. Needless to say, the service also connects you with potential DNA matches to help you find relatives within their system.

Presently, the service subdivides Asian regions into Central and South Asian, and East Asian. These are further categorized into smaller reference populations that narrow down the sample groups into countries. Using historical records, they may also be able to provide you with the probably migratory patterns of your ancestors based on world events and known population behaviours.

As the name of the brand suggests, 23andMe takes information from all of your chromosomes, thus expanding the results of their test beyond what the typical autosomal test might be able to provide.

Enriching Your Asian Ancestral Knowledge with a DNA Testing Kit

DNA testing kits can open up a world of knowledge that might have been otherwise hidden from you and perhaps even the rest of your family. Essentially, DNA tests give you two major methods to expand your ancestral knowledge – the first is through the actual test results provided once your sample is analyzed at the provider’s lab.

At-home DNA testing providers vary in terms of the results they send back after your samples are analyzed at their lab. For the most part, you can expect to receive these most basic findings:

  • Ethnic breakdown
  • Ancestral migratory patterns
  • Information about the cultures and history of the ethnic groups you’re found to be a part of
  • Haplogroup tracing
  • Genetic traits and health predispositions

Keep in mind that these may vary from test to test. And the way that these bits of information can help you further explore your Asian ancestry is by providing you with a better understanding of the histories of the populations linked to your bloodline. For instance, if you’re found to have roots in Japan, a report of the migratory patterns of their earlier clans and potential interactions they had with other populations can explain how they mixed with your primary ethnicity.

The second way that you can use a DNA test to discover your ancestry is by way of their genealogical community. These databases typically contain some other millions of registered DNA profiles. By matching your DNA with others in the system, the service gives you access to potential family members whom you can reach out to and connect with on the platform.

This can provide valuable information towards the enrichment of your research because it lets you unlock their family trees and ancestral histories. By linking your own findings with that of other family members who are engaged in their own research, you can shed light on some of the darker areas of your history.

Teloyears offers a detailed resource for Asian ethnicity, breaking down your ethnic makeup into highly specific subpopulations. So for the purpose of discovering your own ethnic background, their test can be especially insightful. On the downside, they don’t offer any access to other individuals in their database. The Teloyears online community remains somewhat hidden, and users on their platform aren’t given the opportunity to communicate with others in their system.

If you were hoping to discover relevant, living Asian relatives in parallel branches of your family tree, then a DNA testing service that provides access to their genealogical community might be better off for your research. Both AncestryDNA and 23andMe have fairly sizable communities, matching you with potential blood relatives and opening up the opportunity for communication with these matches.

What Test is Right for You?

DNA tests are available in three main types, and these varieties consider different specimens to bring you a range of results.

Autosomal DNA Test

The most common is the autosomal DNA test which is what Teloyears offers. This takes information from your 22 chromosomes which are the genetic codes you inherit from your parents, and that they inherit from their parents before them and so forth.

Autosomal tests can be a smart way to get a generalized idea of your ethnicity. These tests accurately reach up to 8 generations back, and they illustrate your ethnic build-up as a whole. Keep in mind however that because these tests consider information from your autosomes which are inherited from both parents, there’s no way to tell whether the Asian ancestry comes from your maternal or paternal lineage.

YDNA Test

The Y-Chromosome DNA test or simply the YDNA test considers the genetic code contained in your y-chromosome which is present only in males. This is passed strictly from fathers to their sons only, which also means that female testers will not be able to avail of this specific type of test.

The benefit of the YDNA test in discovering your Asian ancestry is that it can help you localize your Asian roots through your patrilineal line. So if you suspect that your father’s male lineage is where the ethnicity lies, the YDNA test can help you confirm it.

mtDNA Test

The mitochondrial or mtDNA test exclusively explores the genetic information contained in your mitochondria. This component of your cells is inherited from your mother, and thus the test works similarly to the YDNA test in that it dissects a single lineage. In this case, that lineage is your mother’s maternal lineage.

If evidence suggests that your mother’s matrilineal line is where your Asian roots come from, then an mtDNA test may be appropriate. Unlike the YDNA test, however, the mtDNA test can be taken by anyone since we all have mitochondria.

Understanding Asian Regions and Populations

Every DNA test provider designates its own regions which it offers its users to give them a more accurate representation of where their ancestors were specifically from. The Teloyears Advanced Ancestry DNA test has four main Asian regions, namely:

  • East Asia – Consisting of China, Hong Kong, Japan, North and South Korea, Taiwan, and Macau, East Asia is one of the earliest civilizations to have existed, having established a thriving farming population early in the 15th century. Presently, East Asia is the largest Asian region, covering a land area of 11.84 million square kilometers.
  • Central Asia – Central Asia is home mostly to former Soviet republics, namely Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan. As the smallest region among its peers, Central Asia was historically coveted during ancient war times because of its strategic location relative to Europe.
  • West Asia – West Asia is located south of Eastern Europe, and overlaps with the Middle East. This region is composed of 24 countries, 20 of which are recognized, and 4 unrecognized. Oil has been a major commodity in the area since ancient times, making the location a coveted land across global superpowers.
  • South Asia – South Asia is composed of the sub-Himalayan SAAC countries, including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives, Sri Lanka, and Afghanistan. They were once invaded by captors from Central Asia which heavily shaped the religious and cultural practices of the region today.

All of these are then further subdivided into smaller regions, some of which are countries in the primary Asian categories on the platform. In total, there are 18 subregions, each of which is then further subcategorized into specific populations which come to a total of 17. This detailed breakdown of Asian ancestry makes it possible for Teloyears to provide their users with a precise estimation of the population that your ancestors might have been a part of.

Managing Your Expectations

Without a doubt, direct-to-consumer DNA testing kits are far more sophisticated these days, with services working to expand their resources and develop new tools to help users with their genealogical research. But even then, it helps to know that these tests are still far from perfect.

At-home DNA testing has its limits. For the most part, whatever results and reports you’re given after DNA analysis should never be treated as fact. What these services provide are baselines, guidelines, and hints that you can use to further your genealogical research. At best, outcomes can be thought of as an ancestral compass, telling you where to look to find your next clue.

Anyone undertaking genealogical research for whatever purpose should know that direct-to-consumer DNA tests are not the end all be all. Using the information they provide and conducting your own in-depth exploration by connecting with relatives and reading about the histories of the ethnic groups in your bloodline can help you paint a clearer picture over time.

Frequently Asked Questions About Asian Ancestry Testing

Why is my Asian ethnicity percentage constantly changing?

One thing you’ll notice when you join any DNA test database is that your Asian ancestry – and any other ethnicity you have for that matter – will change over time. For instance, you might have found that a year ago, you were 5% East Asian, but as you recheck today, that value has shifted to 8%.

This doesn’t mean that there was a change in your genetic code, but that the information and resources available to the website have changed. These services use a variety of data resources to estimate your ethnic makeup – and that includes historical reports, regional categories, and even the profiles of other people on the website.

In the continued effort to give you better, more accurate outcomes, these services will fine-tune their methods to give you a DNA report that more closely matches your actual profile.

How can I use the YDNA test if I’m a woman?

Some people think that the YDNA test is limited because of its restriction to male users, but there are ways that women can obtain the same information through the test. The answer is by asking a brother, father, or an uncle to take the test for you.

Your biological male relatives on the side of the family that you want to explore will possess the same YDNA that was passed on from generation to generation. So obtaining their consent and administering the test to them can help you explore your male lineage without compromising results.

Are at-home DNA testing kits admissible in court?

No. Direct-to-consumer DNA test is not qualified for use in any legal setting and should not be relied upon as an accurate reflection of your DNA profile. What you can do with an at-home DNA test is to use it as a confirmation of speculation.

For instance, some people who believe they have Native American ancestry start off with an at-home DNA testing kit. If their results return to reflect a significant American Indian ethnicity, then they proceed to an accredited testing facility to undergo the process of tribal enrollment.

DNA testing kits administered at home are never guaranteed to be 100% true and correct, but they are a close estimation of your actual DNA profile. So you may be able to use the reports they generate to determine the next step of your plans, depending on what you’re hoping to achieve through your research.

Why is my European ethnicity heavily detailed, and my Asian ethnicity not?

It all depends on the provider you’ve chosen. During the dawn of at-home DNA tests, Europeans and North Americans were among the early adopters who took the web and tried what these companies had to offer. Today, they still make up the largest percentage of the DNA profiles on these providers’ databases.

Because DNA testing services use the profiles obtained from their patrons to come up with their ethnicity estimates, their regional breakdowns will often reflect the nature of their online population. If you’re seeing a heavily Euro-centric or Caucasian ethnicity with hints of generalized Asian ancestry, then you might have chosen the wrong provider for your purpose.

In general, if you want a detailed Asian ancestral profile, it would help to select a provider with an online population that leans towards the Asian ethnicity. With this information, they should be able to provide a more intricate breakdown of your Asian ancestry.

What is a haplogroup and why is it important for my Asian ancestry research?

In genetics, it’s believed that the human race stemmed from two early, prehistoric ancestors who we call Y-chromosomal Adam and Mitochondrial Eve. As they multiplied, their children explored the globe and started their own settlements in the regions that they found most conducive for their way of life.

These children then had children of their own, which in turn multiplied as well to increase their population. Over time, these groups of people would have complete dominion over their region, with all of them demonstrating very similar genetic codes and characteristics because of the limited pool of candidates for breeding. These are what we call haplogroups.

As the centuries passed, it’s possible that members of these haplogroups broke away, searched for greener pasteurs, and stumbled upon neighbouring haplogroups that they likely interacted and bred with. This is what results to the mixture of races, and this is the reason why your DNA profile likely demonstrates a conglomeration of ethnicities you probably didn’t expect.

Knowing your haplogroup can be vital to your research because it’s the farthest back that you can reach to determine the origins of your family. By going as far as your haplogroup, you can essentially picture out the beginnings of your Asian ancestry as well as the rest of the ethnic groups that might be a part of your lineage.

What’s the best way to determine your haplogroup?

Keep in mind that autosomal tests are best for those who want to find living relatives in parallel branches. Reaching as far as just 8 generations back, autosomal tests give you a generalized idea of your ethnic background, expressed as a combination of your mother’s and father’s lineage. There is no way to determine where a specific ethnic lineage comes from – whether it’s your mother’s or father’s ancestral line.

With that, the best way to learn more about your haplogroups would be through the use of a YDNA or mtDNA test. These tests explore just a single line and trace back centuries because of the nature of the Y-chromosome and the mitochondria. As these components are passed down from parent to offspring, they remain unchaged for generations.

Conclusion

Throughout the centuries, Asians have seen a number of emigration events, including the Chinese Diaspora that saw some hundreds of thousands of Asians fleeing their regions to escape the Vietnam war. These early Asians have since found homes throughout the globe, incorporating themselves into a vast variety of other cultures where their lineage continues to thrive and spread.

If you’ve found some Asian ethnicity in your bloodline, you’re not alone. There are millions of people with unknown Asian roots, and who are now only beginning to discover their heritage. Fortunately, modern-day tools make it possible to explore this rich family history, including the Teloyears Advanced Ancestry Test that focuses on Asian ancestry.

Read more about the test here and find out how it can help you expand your horizons and learn more about Asian ancestry. Discover your roots and find out what makes you with their detailed resources for Asian ethnicities.