17 million people have done testing so far.DNA test can provide you with some valuable information about your ancestral heritage, biological family, and potential health risks. Genetic testing industry is booming and over
DNA testing kits are also a very popular choice for a Christmas gift. In fact, Amazon revealed that it was among their top-selling items on the Black Friday last year. 2018 is expected to be another record-setting year.
Let’s review main benefits of taking a DNA test, how it works and the top choices available out there.
Benefits You are Getting from a DNA Test
Traditionally, we relied on word of mouth from our parents & grandparents and sometimes on diaries and archives to learn about our family ancestors. However, everything changed with a DNA test as it opened to us a new innovative way and became a valuable tool for finding out so much more about ourselves and our family origins.
Family History Details
Furthermore, a DNA test can help you solve your family mysteries that until recently were unresolved. Some DNA tests have already made fascinating discoveries, linked long-separated siblings and helped people find a parent.
For example, Ancestry tells a story about Becky who found her mom. “Becky was adopted at age 2 and hadn’t thought much about finding her birth parents until she was older and started wondering about her family’s health history.
So, her husband ordered a DNA test from Ancestry. The results came back with a match indicating that Becky had a cousin named Lisa who probably shared a grandparent. It was Lisa who revealed that Becky’s mother was alive and well—and living only hours away in Miami. Becky’s first phone conversation with her mom lasted 4 hours. They met in person on Mother’s Day.”
Health Risks Information
Some DNA tests include health information and can reveal unique traits rooted in your genetic code that may put you at higher risk for certain health conditions. This may help you adjust your lifestyle and try to prevent them.
Also, a DNA test can help you find out what genes you may pass onto your children and help you to make a more informed decision in your family planning.
How Does DNA Testing Work?
Every cell in our bodies including hair and bodily fluids, contains a complete set of our molecule DNA. This genetic code determines our eye color, personalities, ethnicity and many other traits.
Most DNA tests use saliva as a sample. You simply order a kit online and then mail it back with your sample. You will receive an email in a few weeks later notifying you about your results.
The results will reveal your ethnicity evaluation, persons you may be related to, new details about your unique family history, and possibly some health information.
Choices, Choices, Choices
In a last couple years, the market for DNA tests has become very competitive. Not all DNA tests are equal and with so many DNA test kits available on the market, choosing the option that best suits your needs can be hard.
Below are the most popular DNA test options:
23andme is offering its ancestry-only DNA test for $99 and its health-plus-ancestry kit for $199. It is the only one of the top three currently offering health information, which includes your risks of diseases such as celiac, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. It also tells you whether you are a carrier for such conditions as cystic fibrosis and sickle cell anemia.
- Ethnicity results very accurate, even out to several degrees of relationship.
- Adoptees will find useful information on birth families.
- Provides medical information other popular DNA kits do not.
- Heritage and genetic information can be very broad, not specific to user.
- Results take time to receive.
- Does not test for many common disease markers.
AncestryDNA offers its DNA test for a price of $59. This test provides information about your ethnicity and where your family comes from, as well as the chance to connect with potential relatives who have taken the test and whose DNA matches yours.
If you are seeking living relatives, Ancestry has the world’s largest consumer database. However, it does not separately track your paternal and maternal lines, nor can it tell you how your ancestors migrated from Africa.
- More affordable than other DNA kits on the market.
- Living relatives with similar DNA traits can be located or contacted.
- Raw DNA data can be transferred to other sites.
- Results are not as specific as some customers expected.
- Reports of very slow response times.
- No genetic health component.
DNA Fingerprint Plus is a more expensive DNA test than others and currently sells on Amazon for $279, but the results are more detailed and user-specific than usual. No genetic health component, but great for family history lovers.
- Testing process very easy, with fast results.
- One on one consultations possible.
- Identifies numerous ethnic groups.
- Expensive test for what some users consider generic results.
- Generated report is lengthy and scientific, and somewhat difficult to interpret.
Tips on Collecting a Sample for DNA Test
For both DNA ancestry kits that require saliva and those that require cheek swab samples, make sure that you don’t drink, eat, smoke, or chew gum for at least 30 minutes before giving your sample.
For a DNA ancestry test kit that requires a cheek swab, rub the tip of the swab firmly against the inside of your cheek. It shouldn’t hurt, but you want to collect as many cells as possible.
If you have trouble spitting enough saliva to meet the fill line in your collection tube for a DNA saliva sample, try rubbing your cheeks just behind your back teeth to stimulate saliva production.