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DNA testing kits can tell you a great many things—most people use them to discover more about their heritage and their genetic makeup. The test is also very simple to take, and the increase in awareness of DNA testing kits and what they can tell you has led to a huge surge in popularity, with more and more people having them done every day.
So What Can a DNA Testing Kit Tell You?
1. For starters, you probably already know that a DNA testing kit can give you a complete breakdown of your genetic makeup and heritage. This is presumably what has drawn the most interest, as many people are quite curious to learn about their heritage. Good DNA testing kits claim to be able to provide this information with 99.9% accuracy.
2. If there are others in the DNA testing kit database that share similar DNA, the company can match your DNA to theirs and help you discover new relatives all across the world. Information may be limited and some populations in the world may not be as well represented. But as more and more people continue to test their DNA the database continually grows larger. It also relies on DNA from people that gave permission to have their DNA information used publicly, rather than kept private.
3. Some DNA testing kits can also tell you about your health and you possible risks of various ailments. Your DNA could reveal certain variants that are associated with specific diseases, such as breast cancer, diabetes, or Alzheimer’s. The DNA testing kit does not say you will or will not definitely contract a disease or condition, but provides a percentage of risk. Percentages can be lowered by following healthier lifestyles, of course, and some DNA testing kits will provide suggestions for doing so.
How to Choose a DNA Testing Company
You’ve probably heard of the two most popular DNA testing companies: 23andME and Ancestry. But there are others, and you’ll want to research a few before you make a choice.
You should first research the privacy terms—this is especially important if you want to keep your information private.
You’ll also want to learn more about the following:
- The size of the company’s database.
- What type of information the DNA testing kit provides—there are sometimes different levels of information available for purchase.
- What type of customer support is provided?
- What are the scientific credentials of the company?
- DO you need to purchase a subscription to use the company’s other services?
- How is the test shipped to you and shipped back—what are the costs?
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