DNA home test kits from the likes of Ancestry.com and 23andMe have become increasingly popular in recent years. They are a useful tool for people researching their ancestors. Some also check for health risks. However, while it can be fun to discover you have genes that come from some far-flung location, it’s important to be aware of all the pros and cons of using at-home genealogy test kits. Before you dive in, read on to learn more.
Not All Providers Offer the Same Service
Make sure you know what kit you are buying. Some offer basic ancestry checks whereas others expand the service to include checks for health issues and genetic disease markers. If you don’t want to know your risk factor for certain hereditary diseases, it’s better not to buy a test that offers this. In addition, in at least one popular DNA testing service, women can only trace the maternal line, which means they’ll need to ask a brother or father to take the same test and share results.
Visit Top10 to look for the best DNA testing kit and compare the various options each brand offers. That way you can make a more informed choice before hitting the PAY NOW button.
Advantages of Home Test DNA Kits
Now let’s look at the advantages of using a home test DNA kit.
They are Fun
The main reason why a lot of people do these tests is that they are fun. Discovering you are descended from the Vikings or you have south-east Asian ancestry is interesting. It’s also handy if you are researching your family tree.
Home test DNA kits are very easy to use and painless. There are no invasive testing procedures. All you have to do is use a cheek swab to remove cells. Register your kit and send everything back in the post. That’s it.
Results are Usually Quick
Results typically come back within a few weeks, although sometimes you might get your results within a few days – it depends on how busy the labs are. Results are usually sent via email or in the post; you don’t have to wait for a doctor’s office to interpret the results and then call you.
You Can Trace Distant Relatives
Have you ever wondered if you had distant relatives? Do you sometimes wish you had more exotic origins? DNA genealogy testing kits aim to satisfy all your cravings to learn more about where your ancestors came from. Once you get your results, you can learn where your shiny black hair comes from when the rest of the family are all blonde. More useful, however, is the fact that you can potentially connect with distant relatives who you may not be aware of. Once your DNA is added to the database, if someone else distantly related to you is already on the database, you have an opportunity to be put in touch with them.
Note that your contact information is not shared and you can opt-out of this service.
Learn about Health Risks
Lots of people decide to take a home DNA test kit so they can predict their risk of developing a serious, life-limiting illness such as Parkinson’s or ovarian cancer. If there have been such illnesses in your family, or you are very health-conscious, it’s a sensible path to take.
Disadvantages of Home Test DNA Kits
It is important to be aware of the disadvantages of using home DNA test kits.
No Genetic Counseling is Offered
Finding out you carry a deadly gene like the BRCA1/BRCA2 can be potentially devastating. Unlike genetic testing carried out by a doctor, you won’t have access to counseling if you do a home test. Instead, you’ll receive your results and have to deal with the repercussions alone.
Testing Can Reveal Dark Secrets
Much is made of the value such kits offer to those searching for distant relatives or researching family trees, but what if you find out the man who raised you isn’t your biological father? It may sound unlikely, but there have been numerous stories of people discovering they were the product of an illicit relationship or a sperm donor. Even if you think you know your origins, be prepared to find out all is not as it seems.
Data is more valuable than gold, so it should come as no surprise to learn that privacy is not guaranteed when you submit your genetic data to a testing company. There are strict laws that dictate how medical data can be used, but data can be sold on or released to law enforcement agencies.
Home DNA testing kits are interesting and potentially useful but do think it through before you dive in and order one or buy one as a gift for a family member or friend.