CRI Genetics | DNA Test Reviews

Diahan Southard

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In this CRI Genetics review, we measure their DNA test against the two things a consumer DNA test for family history should provide: ethnicity reports and DNA matches. This is how CRI Genetics stacks up.

We here at Your DNA Guide help thousands of people around the world learn more about their heritage via DNA testing. People ask us sometimes about CRI Genetics, which offers biogeographical ancestry reports based on autosomal DNA testing.

First, what you should understand is that if you are interested in learning more about your roots using DNA, there are TWO important types of information you should expect to receive with your test results:

  1. ethnicity or biogeographical results AND
  2. a list of your genetic relatives who have also tested with that company, and your genetic relationship to them

Before you read more about CRI Genetics, you should know that in November 2023, CRI Genetics was fined $700,000 by the Federal Trade Commission and California Attorney General for using deceptive marketing tactics and mispresenting the accuracy of their reports. Some of these practices included posting fake reviews about their tests and claiming their ancestry reports were more accurate than other major DNA testing companies.

CRI Genetics: Ethnicity Reports

CRI Genetics administers an autosomal DNA test. According to its website, the company provides “dual ancestry reports (Recent Ancestry reflects the most recent 5-7 generations, while Ancient Ancestry reaches as far back as 1,000 years), and an Ancestry Timeline that reveals up to 50 generations back.”

In general, to generate ancestral ethnicity reports, companies compare a customer’s DNA sample to that of their own reference populations (people with documented roots in a region whose DNA shows a specific, shared signature).

When testing for an ethnicity estimate, it is to the client’s distinct advantage to use a company that has a deeply developed reference panel. As far as we can tell, CRI Genetics’ website doesn’t publish white papers detailing their methods (like the size and source of their reference population, or the algorithms they use to make ethnicity predictions). The only specific thing CRI offers is that part of their reference populations come from the 1,000 Genomes collection (now held by IGSR), a scientific repository of geographically diverse samples that researchers can order and use. User beware: this amounts to only about 5,000 samples to represent the genetic diversity of the entire world, less than 1/10th of the number of samples in AncestryDNA’s reference populations (56,580 samples), and about 1/3rd the number 23andMe uses (14,437 samples).

Furthermore, some other DNA testing companies now provide much more detailed resolution of your biogeographical origins, such as with MyHeritage’s Genetic Communities and AncestryDNA’s Genetic Groups, respectively. These tie your DNA to very specific groups of people, such as “Black Sea Germans in Ukraine (Odessa),” within the past few hundred years.

Here’s a summary table of what we’re saying. We think the numbers speak for themselves. (Keep reading to learn about the significance of that last column.)

*current as of June 2021

CRI Genetics: DNA Matching

The other part of autosomal DNA testing for understanding your roots is a DNA match list, or a list of those in the company’s database who share a significant genetic similarity to you. Exploring and analyzing your DNA match list can help you connect with long-lost relatives, swap stories and photos, and even identify previously-unknown ancestors.

CRI Genetics does not come with a DNA match list. Period. You can’t connect with genetic relatives. While some people may not be ready or interested in connecting with relatives now, many people at least want to use the family trees attached to their DNA matches to help them extend their own family tree. And they may find themselves wanting to connect with relatives in the future–but there’s no option to do that with CRI Genetics. (If you really don’t want relatives to see you and you don’t want to see them, you can turn off your matching experience at several other testing companies, but later opt-in.)

Along with DNA match lists, some companies also provide excellent tools to help you compare your family tree with that of your matches and sort your matches into different branches of your family. Two of them also provide access (with a subscription) to enormous collections of historical records that can help you make connections between yourself and your DNA matches–and build out your family tree even further. CRI Genetics offers none of this, because there is no match list.

DNA Test Review: CRI Genetics

Compared to other DNA tests for family history, this one offers HALF of what the others do: ethnicity but no DNA match list. And the company is less than transparent about its reference populations and methods for generating ethnicity reports, so it’s difficult to know if their methods are on par with our other companies. And given the recent news of CRI Genetics being fined for deceptive business practices, we do not recommend testing at CRI Genetics.

Without offering a comparison of CRI Genetics’ health reports, (our interest in DNA testing is primarily for family history), we will say that if you’re interested in both health reports and family history, 23andMe offers health reports, has a DNA match list, and offers a genetic family tree tool to help people visualize possible relationships to matches.

What IS the best DNA testing company for family history?

We’re glad you asked. We DO have great reviews and comparisons of the “Big 5” DNA testing companies for family history: 23andMe, AncestryDNA, MyHeritage, Family Tree DNA and Living DNA.

Read about best DNA tests for family history

If you’re just getting started on your genetic genealogy journey, then check out our best tips on getting started with DNA testing!

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<a href="" target="_self">Diahan Southard</a>

Diahan Southard

As founder and CEO of Your DNA Guide, Diahan Southard has been teaching people how to find family history answers in their DNA for several years, and she's been in the genetic genealogy field since its infancy. Diahan teaches internationally, writes for popular magazines, consults with leading testing companies, is author of Your DNA Guide–The Book, and producer of Your DNA Guide–the Academy, an online learning experience.



    Hello could you please help me out my login will not recognize my e-mail as my user name

    • Diahan Southard

      If you are wanting to login to CRI genetics you will need to contact their customer service. We are a completely different company offering advice and next steps on DNA testing and family history.

    • Charlene

      How much does your testing kit cost and where can I order one?

      • Diahan Southard

        Hi! You’ll want to reach out to CRI Genetics directly with any account related issues. You can reach them here.

  2. Judi Vincent

    Don’t and I will say again DON’T waste your money on CRI genetics!! I googled best dna companies and CRI came on top. Now find out that this was not a true survey!! But an advertisement. My and my husband’s results were so wrong. Please choose another company if you want your true DNA results done.

  3. Nancy

    I don’t know if CRI Genetics is a scam or not. but you really do not get much for your money.
    My advice is don’t buy this one. Go with the reviews you find on this website.

    • Diahan Southard

      Thanks for sharing your personal experience, Nancy!

    • Diahan Southard

      Hi, we don’t provide DNA kits or test results, we are an education company to teach about what to do once you already have DNA test results. You’ll want to reach out to your testing company directly to get your order status.

    • Your DNA Guide

      Hi Hailey – Have you taken a DNA test yet? That is where you should start. We recommend testing with Ancestry because they have the biggest database.

  4. Elizabeth

    Can you recommend a dna test that will tell me health, genetic ancestors, and their locations? I want the most comprehensive one I can get.

    • Your DNA Guide

      Hi Elizabeth – 23andme offers a Health + Ancestry kit for $229.


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