Paternity tests and ancestry/genealogical tests are quite different.
Read more about genealogical DNA-tests:
To find out about a child's ancestry you can test the child:
see 23andMe.com and familytreedna.com - Family Finder
Thanks Ann, i am familiar wih the above 2 sites. i had some idea they were different just was not sure on the details and to find out if the courts can interviene for heritage reasons.. wanted to know the difference of the paternal and heritage testing so the next time someone ask me have an answer. i will check the wiki u posted. thx
Sophie, it's difficult to give you an answer to what the courts would do. In the US, family courts have wide discretion. The standard is "best interests of the child", which in this case would have to be balanced against the privacy rights of the father.
I haven't done any research, but I'm not aware of a precedent anywhere that says a father can be compelled to take a DNA test solely for the purpose of establishing his heritage. If there is one, I'd love to read the court's reasoning.
If someone wanted to hire me for a case like this, my advice would be "don't waste your money". Another attorney might see it differently, and might even jump at the chance to try to set a precedent.
From a completely clueless perspective, 23andme seems to have a lot of immediate practical applications; however, familytreedna seems to have a lot of data specific to genealogy.
The tests are not cheap for either service -- I would just prefer to pick the right one! (Or, would it be necessary to do both to get everything one needs?)
Are there other sites that offer more/different services?
The two companies you list are currently the two best ones.
I would recommend FTDNA, as most of the testers at 23andMe are interested in health issues and most ofteh do not want to share any genealogical info - or thery are just not interested in genealogy. (I do know people who prefer them, however.)
To test your Y-DNA and use it to find matches and explore your direct paternal line, you need STR-markers, which is not offered by 23andMe at all.
The 23andMe "Relative Finder"-function and FTDNA's Family Finder are almost the same. (A comparison can be found here, but it needs updating as FTDNa changed its test a while back: http://www.isogg.org/wiki/Family_Finder_versus_Relative_Finder)
There is some basic info and links in this thread: http://www.geni.com/discussions/80820
"Everything one needs" is a difficult question, as it is hard to say what you "need" - but FTDNA has the by far largest selection of tests.
There is a HUGE amount of information on the archive pages for the Rootsweb DNA mailing list. (but not necessarily easy to find what you are after): http://archiver.rootsweb.ancestry.com/th/index/GENEALOGY-DNA/
Also look out for special sales: FTDNA regularly has good sale prices.
I've tested with both. You've chosen to compare the Big Two. There are some others but you won't get as much value for your money, in my opinion.
It depends what you're looking for.
If you're primarily interested in genealogy, the only real choice is Family Tree DNA. You pay separately for yDNA (male line) and mtDNA (female line) tests. You can compare the results to other people who have tested, and get an idea about your very distant ancestry.
If you're primarily interested in health, and a very tiny bit of genealogy might be interesting, you would choose 23andme. The yDNA and mtDNA both come with the package, but all you find is what two groups you belong to. You get an idea about your deep ancestry, but not in a way that you can compare it to someone else usefully. Instead, you get a massive amount of medical information. From personal experience, the information is mostly just interesting, but some of it has unexpectedly come in handy.
Anne Berge is our resident expert. She can tell you more.
One thing I noticed about 23andMe was the ability to 'export' everything to use on other sites. Is this a major bonus? Does FTDNA offer a similar service (or, perhaps all they supply is 'raw data', so to speak.)
I guess I'm wondering about the feasibility of either service with regard to the future. Do you foresee having to take the tests again in the future, or do you think the tests you've done will be all that is necessary until the "full genome" sequencing is affordable?
Anne offered to answer by email (and I may take her up on that offer in the future), but I thought these questions might be interesting to everyone :)
Thanks Anne and Justin for taking the time to answer!!
Yes, a Family Finder test at FTDNA (similar to the 23andMe-test) can also be dowloaded as "raw data" and used at various other sites.
Current test/future test:
Y-DNA: at FTDNA you can start with a small test and upgrade as more option come in the future. This is normally done without sending in more samples.
I keep buying single-SNPs for tests in my family as the new SNPs/mutations are discovered - to be able to tell more about the various haplogroups and subclades. Some tests are also interesting to test up to 111 markers - the most extensive Y-test on the market (except for "Walk through the Y", also at FTDNA - which tries to test as much as possible of the Y-chromosome.
mtDNA: the complete test here is the Full Genome (FGS), which is offered at ca $299 at FTDNA. It tests the complete genome of the mtDNA and no more testing is necessary afte that. If you start with a smaller test you can upgrade to a FGS later. (Note: full genome of the mitochondria, not your chromosome DNA)
The main problem with 23andMe is that you can not do either of these - they only have the "package" test.
Prices at FTDNA: Important to note that all tests involving Y-DNA are cheaper if you order to a project. Search for a project (name, area, i.e. Scotland DNA) and check the pricelist.
If you have more general questions about DNA testing for genealogy, please read and post in this thread: http://www.geni.com/discussions/80820