6 Beginner Guidelines to DNA Testing

Have you been considering a DNA testing kit? Over the past few decades, DNA analysis has become hugely popular as people learn more about their ancestry and genetic makeup. For many people, looking into family history is a fascinating and highly educational pastime which can result is all sorts of information about where they came from.

1. First things first, what exactly is DNA testing?

DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is in every single cell throughout our bodies and is what distinguishes us as unique individuals. DNA is our own special genetic code and determines everything about us, from our eye color, to certain aspects of our personality, and even health factors. Yet as much as our DNA is what tell us apart from one another, many people forget that about 99.9 percent of DNA in humans is identical.

2. Now you can DIY at home

Scientific advances have now provided the possibility of testing your DNA in the comfort of your own home. The test kit is shipped to you, with instructions on how to complete it. In a place of your choosing, you collect cells, typically, using either a cheek swab or a saliva collection tube, and then send them directly to a lab. Once the sample has been analyzed, the test results are either retuned to you by mail, or posted on a secure website, where you view your information.

3. What sort of information can you expect to receive?

Tests all work differently but most of them break things down into several key categories or population groups. The four main population groups are Indigenous American, European, East Asian and African. It does not identify a person’s race, but instead gives an estimate of genetic heritage. For example, you can discover the specific region of a country that your ancestors came from. This can lead to all sorts of interesting discussions and even help guide future travel plans to learn about where you come from.

The report will also determine what populations you match, which then allows it to suggest possible migratory patterns of your ancestors. One of the most fascinating component of many tests is the personalized map, which will allow you to see your family’s connections to many parts of the world.

4. Returning to your roots

The geographical feature is what interests many people who have tried genetic DNA tests. Most adults grew up listening to stories from their grandparents and other relatives about emigration and family history. Ancestry DNA testing can help you to better understand these stories and provide some context for the journey your family took in order for you to end up where you are today. Or maybe you’re working on a family tree and have hit a wall, or unsure from where to trace something, DNA testing can provide some really helpful indications.

5. Different options

That being said, there are some limitations to the testing and the depth of information it can provide you with. For example, there are multiple types of tests and some can only be used by males, whereas others work for both males and females. Depending on which type you use, you can trace parents’ surnames through history and this can help you find distant relatives through vast online ancestry databases.

6. Accessible and popular

As more and more people have sought out their origins, DNA testing has become easier and more affordable than ever. Even a basic kit can provide you and your family with a wealth of information. If for nothing else than a conversation started, DNA testing is often a great way to bring the family together and discover new things about the past.