CRI Genetics Review: Should a Genetic Genealogist Take This Test?
Have you wondered, "Should I consider testing with CRI Genetics?" Consider the following five things before you decide to test with this company.
Two Ancestry Reports from CRI Genetics
CRI Genetics offers a Dual Ancestry report. The first report provides an ethnicity estimate for where your recent ancestors originated. The second report supposedly defines your deep ancestry estimate.
Watch this video.
Are the Dual Ancestry Reports Valuable?
The Recent Ancestry Report bases its findings on the autosomal DNA. It's similar to what you receive from Ancestry, MyHeritage, Living DNA, 23andMe, and Family Tree DNA.
These companies identify different regions of the world that your ancestors were probably from in the last few hundred years.
On the other hand, CRI Genetic's Deep Ancestry Report is based on your DNA and your mitochondrial DNA haplogroups. Only men have y-DNA. Thus they'll receive both haplogroups. Women will just get the mitochondrial DNA.
The problem I have with the Dual Ancestry Reports focuses on they represent two entirely different things. For instance, the recent autosomal-based ancestry report looks at your family tree for only the last three or four hundred years. Then CRI Genetics makes an estimate of where those people were from.
However, the haplogroup-based Deep Ancestry Report looks at only lines- your paternal line and your maternal line. While those two lines may go back tens of thousands of years, you had millions of ancestors. This haplogroup report is not looking at all those millions of ancestors. It's only looking at two of them- a mother and a father. That's it.
The Deep Ancestry tells you about the ethnicity of two lines of all the millions of lines that you have back that far.
From a scientific standpoint, this information is incredibly useful in tracking the migrations of humans across history. It is not helpful on an individual level.
I have shared many videos about ethnicity estimates, so consider watching the ones listed below:
Are CRI Genetics Ethnicity Reports More Accurate Than other DNA Tests?
For full transparency, I have not tested with them. CRI Genetics' ethnicity estimates are no better than the other genetic genealogy tests from what I saw on their website.
Ethnicity estimates are based on reference populations. Size matters when comparing one DNA test to a reference population database. 23andMe and AncestryDNA already have databases with more than 10 million samples. They are comparing these millions of samples to reference population databases with thousands of more people.
Since the CRI Genetics databases are smaller than these two companies, I doubt their ethnicity estimates are more accurate than their competitors.
CRI Genetic Offers Health Reports
Now consider that CRI Genetics provides some health and trait reports. They listed about half a dozen different health and trait reports. They compare your DNA to various genetic research studies. CRI Genetics then identifies SNPs indicative of a specific trait or health conditions. In comparison, 23andMe has provided this information for more than a decade.
Based on what CRI Genetics shows on their website, I think you receive less information than what you receive from 23andMe.
Additionally, there is a website called Promethease, which is owned by MyHeritage. For a nominal fee, you can upload your raw DNA results from any DNA testing company and receive an extensive health and trait report. I'm talking hundreds, if not thousands, of different individual reports on all these various conditions.
CRI Genetics' half a dozen or so health and trait reports are not unique. It is something that 23andMe has been doing for more than 10 years. It's something that my Family Tree DNA, Ancestry DNA, and MyHeritage now offer.
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CRI Genetics Does Not Offer DNA Matching
CRI Genetics does not offer a shared match list. You will not identify other people that share some DNA with you.
DNA matches are the major crux of genetic genealogy. You have to know other people that share DNA with you and then identify how you are related. Which may help in your genealogy research.
With CRI Genetics, there is no way to incorporate your DNA results into genealogical research.
As a genetic genealogist, the lack of DNA matches is why I haven't tested with CRI Genetics in any detail.
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CRI Genetics Pricing Is Not Enticing
A CRI Genetics DNA test costs the same as other genetic genealogy companies. Their base price for a CRI Genetics ancestry kit is $99. The base price for the ancestry plus health kit is $199.
While you might pick up a CRI Genetics DNA testing kit on sale, their value proposition is not equivalent to similarly priced competitors.
You can pick up a test at 23andMe, Ancestry DNA, or MyHeritage and receive DNA matches, health reports, and ethnicity estimates for the same price.
Suppose CRI Genetics offered a $29 test just for the ethnicity results. In that case, I might consider testing with them to compare their reports with their competitors. However, I find ethnicity reports to be the least valuable part of taking a DNA test, so it's unlikely.
CRI Genetics Does Not Allow Raw Data Download
At this time, CRI Genetics does not allow you to download your raw DNA data. This means you can't upload your DNA to a third party like GEDmatch, Borland genetics, or DNA Gedcom. You also can't upload it to MyHeritage or Family Tree DNA to use their tools.
This also means that you can't back up that data by downloading it. If CRI Genetics goes out of business, then your information is lost completely.
By not having that download, you're limited in what you can do with your CRI Genetics results.
Should Genetic Genealogists Take a CRI Genetics Test?
I do not recommend that you take a CRI Genetics DNA test. But let me be clear, it's not because they are a shady company or that they're doing something unethical.
From a genealogy standpoint, CRI Genetics doesn't offer any product that can be used for genetic genealogy. If that changes in the future, then my opinion of them will probably change as well.