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    How Accurate Are DNA Tests?

    DNA testing kits are everywhere nowadays, but can you trust them to give you reliable results? Many people across the world are ordering at-home DNA testing kits to gain valuable information about their heritage, history, and to connect with family and distant relatives. 

    People of all different backgrounds have found accurate and helpful information after taking a test.

    As a result, many people are experiencing incredible results, like finding their birth parents or long-lost siblings. 

    What Do We Mean By Accuracy?

    So what do we mean by accuracy from a DNA testing kit? Your DNA is indeed yours and yours alone.

    Each person has a unique set, and when you give a saliva sample or a cheek swab, the information about your DNA will be accurate since nobody else can have it but you. 

    The real question is, how accurate are the DNA matches a company provides? Here is how it works: 

    1. You take a DNA test.
    2. The company analyzes your sample.
    3. Using a statistical approach to ancestry, the company then tells you how probable your ancestry is in relation to the information in their database.
    4. Once you receive your results, you will likely see a percentage next to every relationship. That percentage tells you how likely its accuracy is.

    The goal of analyzing DNA is to find similarities when comparing to other samples that help to narrow down your specific personal history. The more people using at-home DNA testing kits, the larger these companies’ databases will grow. That means more samples to compare your DNA with, and therefore more accurate results. 

    Many companies will continue to update your profile as their database grows. That means your results may change by becoming gradually more specific and accurate.

    When researching companies, look for ones with large databases as this will give you the best chance of receiving the most precise results. 

    What You Can And Can't Learn From DNA Testing Kits

    DNA tests are a wonderful resource for people seeking to learn more about their heritage. You may simply be curious, or you may have an urgent goal, like uncovering more information about a genetic illness.

    By testing your DNA, you can gain helpful and usable information. That said, it is not possible to learn absolutely everything about yourself.

    You should not count on DNA tests to learn:

    • Native American ancestry - these require their own set of testing criteria
    • To learn about your ancestry, more than six or seven generations back
    • Answers to what parts of your ancestry came from what parent (unless you specifically test your matrilineal or patrilineal bloodlines)

    You can use DNA tests to learn:

    • Generally about your ancestry, ethnicity, and heritage
    • Trace your family back as far as six generations
    • Connect with matches and discover cousins, siblings, and other family members 
    • Gain insight into how your ancestors moved around the world 
    • Learn important information about the probability of inheriting genetic illnesses
    • Understand the percentages that make up your ethnicity 

    Many people approach DNA testing because they have essential questions about who they are as a person.

    While your DNA results may give you more insight into important questions, you also have some work to do on your part.

    Understanding your identity and what makes you unique is not just based on percentages and test results. Part of that comes from within.

    Do DNA Tests Deliver Inaccurate Results?

    It is possible that when your DNA is tested, the entire genome is not considered.

    Most companies will take the most relevant parts of your DNA to build a story of your ancestry, which means other components are not considered. 

    If you are seeking medical information, you may want to back it up with additional testing.

    While an at-home DNA test can give you insights into genetic predispositions, it can also deliver false positives.

    So, if you learned about a potential medical condition, you should look at it as a place to start investigating and verify with a medical professional.

    You should not base your actions 100% on these test results. Instead, approach the information like the first step in your journey.

    Your DNA is not going to change, but the science surrounding it does. The good news is that it changes for the better by giving more accurate results and a clearer understanding of your heritage.

    Your DNA has an entire history locked into it, and the more a company’s database grows, and the more they can compare your results with the world.

    Bottom Line

    Like many things in life, a DNA test cannot give you 100% certainty.

    However, it does give you a headstart into an entire world of learning about your ethnicity and heritage.

    DNA tests provide us with information based on percentages and matches, and from there, you can start exploring more specific histories and stories. 

    Taking a DNA test is a wonderful and fruitful place to start if you want to learn more about your ancestors and ethnicity.