At-home DNA testing kits are getting so big, over 26 million people have used them already, and that number keeps growing fast. This means that over 26 million people have voluntarily surrendered their personal (and you can’t really get any more personal than DNA) information to independent organizations that aren’t really regulated by anyone. That might not be an issue but it might also be a huge mistake that will come back to bite you. The difference is determined by what exactly happens to that deeply personal information you share, and that completely depends on the DNA testing company. This is why if you want to use this kind of test, you must always start with choosing a testing company that can be trusted.
Why Do People Use Home DNA Testing Kits in the First Place?
Home DNA testing kits are mostly used to discover one’s ancestry and the underlying purpose behind this is having fun building your own family tree. At least, this was how they started, but today genetic testing techniques are growing more advanced so people can learn more information about themselves from these tests.
DNA kits that allow you to learn more about yourself and your health risks are growing more popular today. They can provide some data on predisposition to certain conditions, like heart disease or metabolic disorders.
However, don’t mistake home DNA testing kits for advanced lab work that goes into testing patients for known genetic disorders. Those procedures are carried out by qualified and certified medical professionals in specialized facilities using extremely sensitive equipment worth millions. Home DNA testing, compared to that, is infinitely simpler. Therefore, the accuracy of such tests isn’t very high and you shouldn’t make any health-related decisions based on those results without consulting a doctor first.
How and Why Choose a Reliable DNA Home Testing Company
Before you can get all the fun benefits of using a home DNA testing kit you need to do some research. Your first step is to compare reliable DNA kits. Study independent specialized resources that offer detailed comparisons because they go into an in-depth analysis of the techniques the company uses as well as provide details on how accurate the results provided might be.
However, the quality of the test itself isn’t the only thing to worry over. The rise in popularity of home genetic testing has led people to raise several important questions, such as:
- What exactly are DNA testing companies are doing with the data they get from you? (Malwarebytes Labs)
- Can home DNA tests results be used for surveillance? (Intelligencer)
- Do DNA testing companies work with various law enforcement organizations and share the data with them? (BuzzFeed News)
If you dig deep into those questions, the answers are likely to upset you because yes, your data can be accessed and used by third parties without your knowledge or consent. Although, that’s not exactly right, because they do have your implied consent. You are giving it when you are making an informed choice to take this kind of test.
Only by being thorough in your research can you find a DNA home testing kit provider that you can trust.
Another important factor to consider when choosing a reliable home DNA testing company is the size of its database. These services produce their results based on comparing your genetic data against other results in their database. In essence, the matches they get are the results they deliver to you. Therefore, the more diverse their database is, the more accurate the results they can produce.
That’s why you should always stick with the biggest and oldest names in the industry. Not only do they have the largest databases. Their history also serves as proof that they definitely deliver quality results and don’t betray and sell out their customers.
Home DNA kits can be great fun and health-related information some of them offer, as well as exercise and diet tips, also can be used to boost your wellbeing. As long as you take their results with a pinch of salt and double-check any concerning information with your doctor, you can use those tests after making sure they come from a reliable company.
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