Tapping into the information contained within one’s DNA is a fascinating prospect to many individuals. DNA tests play a pivotal role in many different areas of expertise, ranging from legal to medical, and even consumer information in the case of ancestry tests. In recent years, DNA has become much better understood, and professionals can target specific genetic information through different tests better than ever before.
In the past, DNA tests could often be complex in nature. Technology, understanding, and databases have all improved, however, and participating in a DNA test of any kind is typically a very easy process now, with the DNA gathering process often taking mere seconds to complete.
As DNA testing grows in popularity in both professional fields and consumer fields, many interesting questions have popped up. Although testing has become quite simple, DNA itself is still very complex and difficult to explain to someone without a professional background related to it. Many questions revolve around how DNA is handled and stored, what sort of tests are available, and how tests can ascertain the desired information.
Below we’ll highlight a few key DNA facts that may help clear the air about various aspects associated with DNA testing, and perhaps ease the minds of those on the edge of considering having their own DNA tested.
1. DNA Privacy Is Taken Very Seriously
One of the first questions that come to mind for security-conscious consumers, and rightly so, is how privacy is handled with regards to DNA. DNA tests can reveal information consumers may prefer to keep to themselves, and the idea of a DNA test coming back to haunt them in the future is often stuck in the back of their minds.
Upon completing a DNA test, and more specifically, a consumer-oriented ancestry test, the DNA contained in the completed test is still essentially owned by the consumer. Ancestry test organizations may log specific genetic characteristics into a database, but no identifying or personal information is ever stored in reputable organizations databases. Genetic characteristics which can help identify future customers genetic ancestry, and contribute to a more complete picture of how ancestry can be tracked with DNA as a whole, are the only ones which are stored in ancestry DNA databases.
2. There Are Different Tests Available
Different tests provide different information when completed, and ancestry tests are no different. Among the various DNA tests available to ancestry tracing organizations, there are 3 which are used more than most. Y-DNA tests, which track paternal ancestry, and are exclusive to males. DNA tests, which track your maternal ancestry, are available to both males and females and are known to be incredibly accurate for ascertaining maternal ancestry.
The last of the 3 is the Autosomal DNA test. Autosomal DNA tests aren’t limited to either men or women and have the ability to trace both paternal and maternal history. Autosomal tests on their own don’t necessarily reach as far back with unerring accuracy as a Y-DNA test may, but when paired with vast DNA databases, they become an extremely accurate way to achieve a complex understanding of an individual’s entire genetic ancestry.
3. Your DNA Is Compared Against Other Strands In DNA Databanks
One key aspect of DNA testing is the comparison process. Simply looking at one individual’s DNA on its own doesn’t always provide a full picture of their ancestry. In order to ensure accuracy, tested DNA is compared against millions of other previously tested samples, and genetic history can be better understood and confirmed as DNA matches are found among compared samples.
Comparing DNA is essential because not all DNA is passed down through a family line, and even among direct siblings, different parts of ancestry DNA may be passed down to different siblings.
4. Ancestry Testing Is Inexpensive
Thanks to the complex underlying nature of DNA, many who are interested in discovering their genetic ancestry often stop themselves before they even begin the process, simply because they assume the costs associated with DNA testing must be substantial. The truth is, DNA testing is actually quite affordable. Depending on the desired tests, many organizations provide packages at around $100, sometimes even less, for a complete DNA test with detailed results.
If you’re looking to better understand your genetic ancestry, DNA testing can provide the answers you need in a way that no other avenue can hope to compare to.