DNA is truly the building block of life. Examining a person’s DNA can reveal many things about who they are and where they came from, and it is for this reason that DNA tests are becoming so popular. By simply swabbing your cheek and having your DNA analyzed, you can now gain all sorts of insights into your ancestral past and genetic makeup. Nonetheless, it is still a good idea to understand exactly what you’re getting into before signing up and sending off your sample, which is why we’ll now present a few basic facts to help you determine whether this type of DNA testing is worth it for you.
There Is More Than One Type of DNA Test
Although DNA testing can reveal a whole lot about your ancestry, not all tests are the same. In fact, there are three separate types of tests that can be used for this same purpose, but only one of the three is capable of giving you a full overview of your ancestral history.
Both mitochondrial DNA tests and Y-chromosome tests can be used to examine a person’s ancestry. However, each of these tests will only present a partial overview. This is because Y-chromosome tests only track the DNA on your father’s side, and mitochondrial DNA tests only reveal information about the DNA coming from your mother’s side. Therefore, it is important that you make sure the company you choose uses autosomal DNA testing, as this is the only test that examines both your patrilineal and matrilineal lines.
DNA Sequencing Can Tell You Exactly Where You Can From
By far the most common reason that people have their DNA sequenced is to learn about their family history. With a quick swab of your cheek, you can find out your estimated ethnic makeup and discover exactly where in the world all of your ancestors came from. Some testing companies also allow you to use your DNA to complete a family genealogy history, which means you might find out that you’re related to famous historical figures. Discovering more about your family history is something that appeals to most all, which makes an ancestry DNA test an exciting proposition.
DNA Testing Won’t Tell You Everything
Virtually no DNA testing company has the time or resources to actually sequence your entire DNA. After all, the human genome has approximately three billion base pairs and much of the information contained within these base pairs doesn’t reveal all that much about you. Nonetheless, it is still possible to get a quite clear picture of your ancestral past by focusing on specific sections of your DNA that reveal the most. Of course, this still doesn’t mean that you should expect to learn whether or not you’ll get cancer or anything like that.
Privacy Concerns Go Hand in Hand with DNA Testing
Sequencing a person’s DNA reveals a huge amount of information about them, and as such, it is essential to make sure that the company you choose actually keeps your information private. Virtually all companies will pledge to not release your information without your express consent. Nonetheless, some testing companies strip their customers’ personal information from their DNA sequence before compiling DNA information into a database that later may be used for medical research. For this reason, it is essential that you fully read the terms and conditions before signing up for any test.
Not All Genetic Testing Labs Are Equal
It is vital that you do some research before signing up for a DNA test and not only because of the aforementioned privacy concerns. Some labs charge far more than others and not all labs perform as extensive of tests or compare your DNA against as many genetic markers. Therefore, it is a good idea to check out each company you’re considering fully. After all, you don’t want to trust your sensitive genome information to just anyone.
Ancestral DNA tests have exploded in popularity in the last few years. The chance to learn more about who you are and where you came from is something that many people just don’t want to pass up on. In this sense, sequencing your DNA can be both enlightening and a whole lot of fun as long as you take the time to fully understand everything before getting started.
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