Important Things To Know Before Taking A DNA Test
If you are considering taking a DNA test, you are certainly not alone.
Thanks to affordable testing, millions of people worldwide are learning more about their family heritage and ethnicity.
DNA testing can be an incredibly insightful and valuable experience, but there are a few things to keep in mind before jumping in.
Keep reading to learn more about what you should consider before taking a DNA test.
What DNA Testing Involves
DNA testing today is a relatively simple process. You will most likely be able to order your DNA testing kit of choice online and have it delivered right to your door.
Once it arrives, you follow the instructions to either submit a saliva sample or a swab of your cheek. Once you have taken your sample, you simply mail it back to the company.
Before long, you will receive your results in the mail or to your email inbox.
Your results will likely contain valuable information regarding your family heritage, ethnicity, and may even help to match you with living relatives.
If you are building your family tree, you can reach out to relatives to help you fill in missing information or simply to expand your community.
Others approach DNA testing to learn more about what their ethnicity and what their ancestors’ migration patterns looked like.
This can help you to learn more about your family history and even fortify your sense of identity. Whatever the reason, DNA testing can be a fruitful experience.
The Structure Of DNA
If you are willing to spend money on testing your DNA, it is probably a good idea to know what exactly DNA is in the first place.
Think of DNA as a code. Your specific code order and combination give instructions for the creation of organic materials.
Your DNA is capable of some pretty incredible things. For starters, segments of DNA actually convert amino acids into proteins. Proteins play a significant role in the body and are tasked with the creation of new cells.
If you remember back to biology class, you will know that cells create tissues, tissues create organs, and organs help sustain people, animals, trees, and all other living things.
Understanding your specific DNA code can reveal important information into your health, like any predispositions to diseases.
It can also give a glimpse into your past by detailing approximately where your ancestors are from and delivering information about your ethnicity.
The Pitfalls Of DNA Matching
Like many good things, there can be some downsides to having your DNA tested. For many adoptees looking for birth parents, a rejection from immediate biological parents or relatives can be especially hard to bear.
Not all family members that you will be matched with will be emotionally or mentally ready for the news.
So bear that in mind if your main goals are to find and connect with family members.
It is also essential to understand what the DNA testing company does with your information. Most companies maintain an extensive database of DNA samples.
Once new samples are submitted, they are compared with existing samples to help give better results and insights. The larger the database, the more specific information you are likely to have.
That does mean, however, that your most private information is in the hands of someone else.
Some companies allow you to officially ask your record to be destroyed, while others may not offer that option. Carefully read the fine print to understand the policies of the company you choose to work with.
Different DNA Tests
As you begin to research DNA testing kits, you will likely come across several different kinds. Carefully consider your goals and choose a test that is aligned with them.
The different types include:
- Autosomal: The most common type of test, this is a DNA evaluation that looks at both your matrilineal and patrilineal sides
- Y-DNA: This is a test specifically for men to trance their patrilineal ancestry
- mtDNA: An mtDNA test gives insights into the matrilineal line specifically
Make a list of what outcomes you would like to gain from your DNA testing experience. From there, you should be able to sort through the available options to select the right test for your needs.