DNA: The Secret of Life book cover
DNA: The Secret of Life by James D. Watson

If you are interested in learning more about DNA, genes and/or genetic testing, there is no shortage of books available to help you. Bookstores have a plethora of books available, ranging from very scientific to almost child-like. Some books offer a personal experience regarding genetic testing, some books explore realms of research like Epigenetics.

No matter what type of interest you have in DNA and genetic testing, the books below should help you on your learning journey. If you’d like to explore a more expansive list that includes novels, check out Goodreads’ list of popular DNA books.

Books about Genetic Testing

Being in the gold age of genealogy, home DNA test kits are all the rage these days. This site details some of the benefits of the major companies doing testing these days. But, you might want to take your research beyond the reviews on this site. As such, the books below dive into different aspects of genetic testing.

Finding Family: My Search for Roots and the Secrets in My DNA

Finding Family book cover

The book Finding Family by Richard Hill is a personal story of how the author figured out the “long-kept secret of his own origins.” The memoir is a rather suspenseful nonfiction book about an adoptee trying to find his biological family despite his sealed birth records. It offers a great first-hand narrative about DNA testing, and can help people relate to the experience of finding out about your family history. Look for the Finding Family book on Amazon.

Guide to DNA Testing: How to Identify Ancestors, Confirm Relationships, and Measure Ethnic Ancestry through DNA Testing

Guide to DNA Testing book cover

The book Guide to DNA Testing started as a website similar to this one. The author, Richard Hill whom also wrote the Finding Family book mentioned above, wrote a guide to DNA testing as he had used the DNA testing sites to help track his long-lost family down. The Guide to DNA Testing book on Amazon provides an “easy-to-understand introduction to the different test types, their strengths and limitations.” As the author has gone through this process, this is a great guide for more in-depth knowledge.

Introducing Epigenetics: A Graphic Guide

Introducing Epigenetics book cover

The book Introducing Epigenetics is a non-fiction comic book that introduces its readers to genetics, cell biology and epigenetics. The book takes a closer look at identical twins to learn more “about the epigenetic effects of our environment and experiences” and why certain genes comes in the on or off position. This book is definitely more in the scientific realm, even if it comes in comic book form. Look for the Introducing Epigenetics book on Amazon.

The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy

As one of the highest rated DNA books on the market, the book Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy offers a complete package of information. This book is the self-described “one-stop resource for genealogy DNA testing.” It was published in 2016, so the content is fairly fresh and up-to-date, and offers a lot of information for all levels of knowledge and interest. Look for the easy to follow Family Tree Guide on Amazon, or check out the amazing reviews on Goodreads.

The Adoptee’s Guide to DNA Testing: How to Use Genetic Genealogy to Discover Your Long-Lost Family

Adoptee's Guide cover

The Adoptee’s Guide to DNA Testing book is a great resource for people who have been adopted in the past and are looking to research their history. The thoroughly-researched guide offers strategies for connecting genealogy and using DNA tests in researching backgrounds. The recently published guide also provides “real-life success stories that put the book’s techniques into practice.” Look for the Adoptee’s Guide on Amazon.

Trace Your Roots with DNA: Using Genetic Tests to Explore Your Family Tree

Trace Your Roots cover

The book Trace Your Roots with DNA was written by two of the country’s top genealogists, Megan Smolenyak and Ann Turner. Published in 2004, this is one of the first books published that attempts to explain how genetic testing works with regard to researching ancestry. It is full of great information and personal stories. Look for the easy to follow Trace Your Roots on Amazon.

Unofficial Ancestry.com Workbook: A How-To Manual for Tracing Your Family Tree on the #1 Genealogy Website

Unofficial Ancestry.com Workbook cover

The book Unofficial Guide to Ancestry.com is an essential tool for learning how to use Ancestry.com. For example, “each section briefly discusses how to search Ancestry.com for a particular type of record (including census records, vital records and historical publications), then shares detailed, illustrated tutorials that put those strategies into practice.” As a result, it is a great resource for helping people understand a specific DNA testing site.


Books about DNA

If your interest in DNA and genetics is more rooted in science and research, then several of the books below will help your cause. As a result, the books listed below also get into the science of genetics and evolution. They also discuss the broader concept of humanity.

A Crack in Creation: Gene Editing and the Unthinkable Power to Control Evolution

The book A Crack In Creation by Jennifer Doudna and Samuel Sternberg, is an autobiography of the discovery of CRISPR. This is a more scientific book that details what ‘clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats’ means with regard to DNA sequences found within certain genomes. You can find the book A Crack in Creation on Amazon, and is highly regarded in the research world.

DNA: The Secret of Life

The book, DNA: The Secret of Life, details the life and research of James D. Watson, one of the greatest geneticists to ever exist. Dr. Watson, “co-authored an academic paper proposing the double helix structure of the DNA molecule.” In this book, he gives a first full account of the genetic revolution he helped spark. According to several reviews, this is an extremely well-written and thought-provoking book. Look for
DNA: The Secret of Life on Amazon.