How to test DNA from home

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No matter which direction you turn, there seems to be someone discussing the modern technology and popularity of at-home DNA testing. There are numerous companies that have popped up that are eager to take your DNA and continue garnering a huge database of people around the world.

In exchange, you can learn about chronic diseases of which you may be susceptible, take a look at your ancestry, and find distant cousins that have taken the same brand DNA test. You may also be able to learn about the possibility of your athletic performance. This is a huge industry that is making a ton of money at this time. But some people question the integrity of the business model for many of these at-home DNA kits.

DNA tests that are taken at home can actually give you some wildly misleading results. Genetic experts say that sometimes these DNA companies are looking at such a small part of your genetic make-up that they actually have no clue what your odds of developing a certain disease are, or what your athletic ability could be.

This means that while these tests can be fun and exciting, they are not something that geneticists would recommend you use to make crucial decisions about life or your health. In fact, they recommend that you discuss these questions with a doctor and consider more legitimate forms of genetic testing if you remain concerned.

How it Works

In exchange for a pretty hefty sum of money, a DNA company will send you a kit to retrieve your DNA. Usually, these kits involve a cotton swab and a test tube. Most kits cost between $200 and $500, and in the various price ranges, you can get a variety of different types of results. Once you receive your kit, you simply follow the directions and, once it is completed, you mail the completed test kit back to the DNA company.

After a few weeks, you will receive your results, usually in a link that is sent to the email address that you registered your kit with. This link will tell you all of the information promised in the kit that you ordered from the company. For a list of kits on the market, you should visit to find out more information on the most reputable and trustworthy companies that supply such kits for home testing.

The Truth About Genetic Disorders

One of the main issues that doctors have with DNA testing companies is that they claim to be able to pinpoint a person’s genetic likelihood for getting a certain complication later in life. One problem with this claim is that these companies do not even consider the entire DNA strand before they make their prediction.

Another major conflict with this flawed thinking is that there are more than just genetics that should be factored into this equation. There are so many factors outside of genetics that play a major role in whether or not someone will develop a terrible disease. These DNA companies do not have the resources or the time to truly consider each of the relative factors.

Of course, that does not mean that these results are completely invalid. It simply means that these DNA tests cannot be used to make major medical decisions. In fact, if the DNA kit suggests that there is a possibility of these markers, then you should likely take those concerns to your primary physician to have medical genetic testing done.

Some research suggests that at-home DNA tests are likely producing a lot of false positives. These false positives are known by the labs, but they consider them harmless. However, the customer who is concerned about life-threatening disease is probably not considering it a harmless risk factor if we had to guess.

The positive side of all of this is that people tend to pay better attention to their health after they receive their results. This leads many people to seek help from their physician in an effort to resolve the problem. In doing so, they are likely able to get a better handle on the more accurate results through medical testing.


The Validity of DNA Testing

Much like many of the over-the-counter solutions that claim to be miracle workers, the Food and Drug Administration is not actually overseeing all of the DNA tests.

Considering that some of these tests do not claim to provide any medical insight, it is actually not necessary for the FDA to be involved with those specific brands. Brands that only result in ancestry or athletic performance results are not reviewed by the FDA.

Although the FDA is involved with the validity of a test that claims to be able to give medical results, they only test the validity of the claims made by the company in advertisements and on the packaging. This can lead to a variety of misconceptions about the way the DNA test actually works and how the results should be read or handled.

What Should You Do?

There is no problem with getting one of the at-home DNA tests and using the results for getting more information, especially about your ancestry or your athletic ability. However, be responsible when reading the results of your test. If you get concerning results, immediately make an appointment with a physician to clear up any misunderstandings. We have already established that the results of a DNA test taken at home can be misleading sometimes.

Final Thoughts

DNA kits that are taken at home are not inherently bad. On the contrary, there is a lot of fun and good that can come from these kits. However, it should be more widely discussed that the medical implications of these tests are not always entirely trustworthy. After all, life-shattering news that could be delivered in one of these tests should not be taken too seriously. Further, these types of medical situations are likely best handled by the medical professionals that people trust with the rest of their medical concerns. So, while taking a DNA kit at home is fun and can be insightful, it should be done with care.

Last Updated on February 3, 2021.


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