DNA ancestry tests are all the rage, but are they accurate? And who do they work for? Here’s what you must consider before you send away your DNA.
You’ve heard of people learning about their great-great-great grandfather being famous through a DNA ancestry test.
It makes you want to get one of those tests done yourself!
The question remains, however, as to whether or not it is a good idea. How do you know that it is really the right choice for you?
If you’d like to learn about the top 9 things people should think of before getting a DNA heritage test, keep reading and figure out if a DNA test is what you want.
How Does DNA Testing Work?
Most of us learn about DNA in our science classes at some point, but it still can be a little confusing to understand what it is and what it does.
Also called deoxyribonucleic acid, DNA is a material in all living organisms that self-replicates and is the main constituent of chromosomes. It carries our genetic information.
People get DNA tests for a lot of reasons, so there isn’t one answer to suit everyone.
Some people want to learn more about their ancestry. Others want to find out paternity or maternity of parents. You may just be curious about your future medical health!
The truth is that our DNA is able to tell us a lot about ourselves, so using DNA tests is a great way to learn what we want to know.
1. Know How to Choose the Right Service
There are a lot of services out there that offer DNA testing and information. They are not all equal, however, because they are not all the same!
The right choice will depend on what you are trying to get out of the test itself. If you want to get genetic genealogy information, you don’t want to take a test from a service specializing in forensic testing.
Finding the right service is all about your own research to find the right test. You want to also be sure that it fits into your budget as well because not all services are the same price.
2. Understand the Privacy Implications
When you are offering up samples of your DNA for testing, remember that the companies you send it to will have a copy of that code.
The DNA you offer is essentially yourself. You are made up of DNA, so providing it to a company to test can mean your privacy could be jeopardized.
Anytime you consider testing, you need to be sure that you are aware of how or if the company is going to share your information. If you’re okay with it, that’s fine. If you’re not, you need to be aware of what will happen with your data.
If the testing provider is hacked, this is another issue as well. There are security risks when you work with companies, so providing information as personal as your DNA is something you need to be sure you’re comfortable with doing.
3. Learn How DNA Testing Works
DNA tests look at you to determine how you function as a human and what makes you “you”. It exposes your genetic code to help you get more health or lifestyle information.
A lot of DNA companies, with permission, store the data they get from all of their customers. They can match DNA to other DNA patterns to find shared unique sequences and prove ancestry. This is also how paternity and maternity is found.
The biggest thing that DNA tests are able to do for people is give you all of that information about yourself you never would have gotten otherwise.
4. Know What Limits Exist in Testing
The chromosomes found within our DNA contain the code needed to know our genetic characteristics, but also a genetic fingerprint of parents. This means that even though two siblings may be completely different people, they share a significant amount of DNA based on having the same parents. The chromosomal data will be similar.
Even cousins will share some chromosomal data due to blood relation, but it will be much less. The genetic fingerprint will be less potent than that between siblings.
Moving back even more, less and less of the data will match as you look at grandparents, great grandparents, and so on. This means the data can only tell you so much and some limits do exist.
Once those differences start to become more apparent, it may be harder for tests to find a match. This doesn’t mean they don’t work, but it does mean that you need to be prepared that you may not get as much information as you think.
5. Find Out Which Test Type Works for You
In general, there are three different test types. Those include autosomal, Y-DNA, and mtDNA.
Autosomal are most common and these help to trace lineage in men and women. Y-DNA is only available for men and traces DNA through the patrilineal ancestry. Lastly, mtDNA is only available for women and lets women trace their matrilineal ancestry.
With autosomal tests, you get genetic information as far back as about five generations on both sides of your family. The other two options will let you get information farther back, but again just about the one side of the family.
6. Know If You Want a DNA Ancestry Test
Sometimes people think they want something and then decide it isn’t right for them.
Before you pay money to have a DNA test done, be sure that it is something you actually want to learn about. You want to get the test done if it is really something that matters to you.
After all, they do not come cheap, but can be well worth it when you see the variety of options you have. Here is a helpful linkto show some of the tests that you could be interested in buying.
In some cases, you may find out information about your ancestry that you really would rather not know. Are you comfortable with learning about those types of things that may exist in your family’s past? If so, go for it!
7. Learn About Your Body
One of the great things about the medical side of DNA testing is that you can find out things about yourself that will help you be healthier!
For example, some people may find that they have a genetic lactose and casein intolerance or they may realize they have a genetic disposition to deeper sleep.
With certain types of DNA tests that are done, you can learn about your current medical situation and things to watch out for in the future.
8. Find Out About Your Story
Identity is a big question that many of us face at some point or another. Some of us deal with it for a large part of our lives.
Finding out about your health, your ancestry, and who you are through DNA can help you find out who you are in the real world. It can also help you determine who you want to be.
Although DNA testing is very scientific, the results that you receive may give you more than you bargain for in terms of really finding yourself. Learning about your story and where you come from can give you a new perspective.
9. Connect With Others
One of the things that are often thought of when it comes to DNA testing is that you will find out about ancestors that have done incredible things, but have already passed away.
You can also find out about living relatives you didn’t know you had!
You may connect with a long-lost cousin or find out there was an estranged aunt that you want to get to know better. No matter what the situation is, it is always a good idea to know as much as you can and choose what to do with that information.
Ready to Start Testing?
Whether it is a DNA ancestry test, genetic code test, or something else you are most interested in about DNA testing, it is a great choice to make.
You get to find out about yourself and your family in ways that you probably didn’t even think about!Feel free to check out our post regarding DNA testing by consumers compared to medical or pharmaceutical industries if you’d like to learn more about how it is making an impact