DNA testing has become all the rage recently, and it’s never been easier to check your ancestry and ethnicity, among other things. With the simple process of getting a DNA test kit delivered to you through the mail, reading the set of instructions printed on it, and spitting saliva into a tube, anyone from anywhere can get their DNA tested.
So, if you’ve decided to take a DNA test or are required to do so for whatever reason, here are some essential things you should consider.
Choose a Trusted DNA Testing Service
While browsing through the offerings and features of various DNA testing services, there are some important factors you should look out for to decide if it’s the right DNA testing company for you. This includes how much information they provide about you, how accurate it is, and most crucially, how big its present database is.
For instance, if you’re looking for information surrounding your family members with an ancestry DNA test, a bigger database would be more effective and provide data about relatives you might not have known. It works similarly for health and lifestyle, but instead of family members, it examines matching characteristics, especially genetic markers that can indicate certain diseases and traits in people.
Picking one testing company isn’t necessary. You could send your DNA to however many you want and see how their information compares if you wanted to. You might get different perspectives since most companies do things differently.
Understand the Types of Tests
After you’ve chosen the testing company of your choice, it’s time to pick the type of DNA test you want to be conducted. Each test produces different information. Typically, there are three types:
- Autosomal Tests
Autosomal tests work by tracing a person’s autosomal chromosomes, which are filled with the segments of DNA that the person shares with everyone they’re related to, both maternally and paternally. They can confirm ethnicity percentages and family connections with a high level of accuracy.
- Y-DNA Test
Y-DNA testing can reveal the people from whom a male’s patrilineage descends. Since Y-chromosomes are passed down from father to son, males can trace their patrilineal ancestry with a Y-DNA test. This is also the reason women can’t take this test.
- mtDNA Test
Mitochondrial DNA or mtDNA tests people’s matrilineal ancestry using the mitochondria, which are passed down from mothers to their children. Since everyone has mitochondria, anyone can take this test. It uncovers the ancient group of people from whom their matrilineage descends.
Know What the Results Involve
DNA tests can tell you a lot of information about yourself that you otherwise never would have known. Based on the amount of DNA, you can discover unknown relatives or relationships in your family tree. In many big testing companies, DNA testing can reveal information related to as far back as five to six generations before you.
DNA tests examine your DNA and determine its genetic code. That way, they can also provide information regarding your health and lifestyle. They can also discover current health issues and underlying diseases that might not be apparent.
Watch Out for Your Privacy
With the consent of their users, DNA testing companies store the accumulated data in their database, which they can use to match DNA patterns between other participants. This way, they are able to tell if you contain unique sequences and determine common traits among people living in certain areas.
But this also opens up the discussion of privacy and whether people approve of their DNA code being shared with other companies and law enforcement. If you specifically haven’t taken a DNA test, but a close relative of yours has, they have essentially allowed a large portion of your DNA to be shared.