Currently, many people around the world are curious about DNA testing. Chances are, you might be wondering about yourself, your child, or a particular ancestor in your family tree. Regardless of the reason, learning more about your heritage and the place where you come from is captivating.
This very fascination surrounding your origins has resulted in a thriving industry around personal DNA testing. According to the MIT Technology Review, more than 26 million people have taken a genetic ancestry test. With the arrival of more DNA test kit offerings, this number is expected to grow in the next few years. Without the requirement of a doctor’s appointment, DNA test kits work like a puzzle, solving questions about your ethnicity.
However, how much can you find out about your ancestry using a DNA test kit? Will it reveal any information about your health?
What is a DNA Test Kit?
A DNA testing kit usually includes several tests, like an autosomal swab that takes a sample of your cheek cells. Often, you have to spend an additional sum for more test results.
Typically, DNA testing involves sequencing your DNA for genetic markers. Your DNA is present in almost every part of your body and every cell in it. While 99.9 percent of it is identical to others, that 0.1 percent is unique to you.
So, in the DNA test, that small strand of DNA is compared with common genetic markers during the test to see the results that can prove paternity, your genetic history, any potential genetic congenital disabilities and the possibility of illnesses.
How do DNA Test Kits Work?
As stated earlier, DNA can be found in almost all parts and cells of your body. Thus, DNA can also be extracted in multiple forms from all over your body.
Typically, lab techs use your saliva, hair, blood or nails for DNA testing. However, when it comes to at-home DNA test kits, you mostly use a cheek swab or saliva, as collecting DNA from those areas is comparatively more straightforward. The DNA present in them has all the markers required for the testing process.
Your part of the DNA testing process is easy. All you have to do is collect and submit your sample for testing. After submitting the sample, you will have to wait for your results. Usually, with a home DNA testing kit, you will have to wait for several weeks, unlike a few days when your doctor is the one testing your DNA.
You will get notified when your test results are ready and you can access them online by simply logging in to your account. Though sometimes, the companies send you the information via post, it may take longer. So, if you are super curious, it’s better to check the results online.
What Results Can You Expect from a DNA Test Kit?
The results of your DNA tests vary depending on the type of test you take. Usually, the at-home version of the DNA test kit gives results that show your ethnic background and the people in the database who are related to you.
The test results are broken down into separate sections, making them easier for you to understand. The DNA test for ancestry will reveal the main regions that your past ancestors belong to, specifying the areas and percentages. Furthermore, it will also talk more precisely about specific ethnicities and the ethnicity to which your genetic code belongs.
What are the Top DNA Test Kits for African Americans?
Although direct-to-consumer DNA test kits have been in the market since the 2000s, they haven’t been popular until recently. You have to be careful about how you select DNA tests for African American people since some companies might not have enough data genetic information to give accurate results.
Here is a list of the companies that have expanded their pool of genetic information and thus offer the best DNA test kits for African-Americans:
- 23andMe– A large database of genetic information, accurate reports, and in-depth DNA results.
- MyHeritage DNA– Accurate and insightful results for African and African-American populations.
- AncestryDNA– Features one of the largest DNA databases in the world. Easy-to-read and accurate reports with ethnicity estimates.
Learn About Your Heritage
If you are an African-American curious to learn more about your family story, a DNA test kit is a great option. You will get to learn more about your ethnic mix and about what percentage of your DNA comes from which part of the world. You will also get some insights about where your ancestors lived and what made them move around the country.