Direct-to-consumer genetic testing is all the rage these days and many a millennial gathering seems to include a discussion on test results.
Entering the mainstream last year, the DIY DNA industry is projected to grow rapidly with industry estimates suggesting that 1 in 25 adult Americans now have access to their genetic data.
Our own appetite to extract once little-known information from our DNA about our ancestry and health has become big business.
As the genetic testing market is projected to surpass $22 billion within the next six years, shops and businesses are hoping to cash in on their popularity over the holiday season promoting the best DNA testing kits as the ideal Christmas present.
We’ve all seen the ads: ancestry tests that can link you to long-lost relatives and, with just a small saliva sample, help map your roots.
So, it’s likely this Christmas more and more people than ever before will swab some cheek cells, spit into a tube and send the result off for DNA analytics.
The search for our identity is a unifying human experience and more than 12 million people to date have had their DNA tested by popular companies such as 23andMe, My Heritage and AncestryDNA.
Personal DNA testing is very simple, it only takes a collection of saliva or a swab from the inside of your cheek.
This sample should be then sealed in a container and mailed to the lab in a pre-addressed envelope; you’ll find your results online within six weeks.
The DNA testing companies search your DNA for certain genetic variants, the information yielded is known as your genome.
Most personal DNA kits are extremely affordable with kits from industry leaders Family Tree DNA, 23andMe, My Heritage DNA and Living DNA ranging from $69 to $199. In certain cases, the price is determined by the genetic report a customer opts to receive.
The kits come with a 99.9% accuracy and companies use various methods to determine ancestry. Tests compare the customer’s DNA to reference DNA which represents populations from geographical locations.
Given we tend to come from a mixed heritage, ancestry is often represented in percentages for example 50 percent American, 10 percent Italian and 40 percent Polish and so on.
These test kits allow you learn about your personal history and who your ascendants are and where they came from.
This provides you with richer connections to people, places and possibilities allowing us to understand how genetic makeups change and what portions your DNA has.
From this we can visualize our ancestors’ journey all the way to the present. One of the most common theories for those with long family history in America is a belief we may have some Native American ancestry. Today there are several companies on the market offering the best DNA testing kits to determine Native American ancestry. These DNA test kits can tell you with high confidence where your ancestors hailed from.
For genealogical purposes, another main use of DNA testing is to find relatives and to determine how closely related you are to someone else. This is extremely helpful if you have limited knowledge about your parents or grandparents and are having difficulties locating living family relatives.
DNA testing has also traveled much farther than just revealing what part of the world an ancestor comes from.
A small sample can now tell you not only about your current state of health, but also to conditions you may be predisposed to.
A swab test can determine the chances we have of developing cancer or diabetes and which vitamin deficiencies we are lacking while helping to put in place a personalised diet and training.
Having such data knowledge gives us the power to do something about it, making us responsible for conscious decisions about our health enabling us to optimise both body and mind.
Today, multiple at-home DNA testing kits can help you find long-lost relatives, estimate your ethnic ancestry from thousands of years ago and determine your current state of health.
So, whether it’s the best DNA kit for health or ancestry, with its popularity and reasonable price all in all it’s time to discover the secrets stored in your genes.