There are many interesting things you can do to have some fun with your family. One of them is using home DNA testing kits to learn about your ancestry. You might not know it, but genealogy currently is one of the most popular hobbies. It’s so big that the industry catering to those who want to build their family trees is now valued at $1.6 billion and it keeps growing. Home DNA tests might be the thing that will get you into this hobby. Even if you don’t become passionate about genealogy with their help, it will definitely be fun to spend some family night discussing your ancestry. If nothing else, you can use this info as inspiration for travel plans.
DNA Test Kits: So Easy to Use, Your Kids Can Do It!
One of the best things about home DNA testing kits is that they are extremely easy to use. They are also completely safe. All you need to do is to swab the inside of your cheek and send the sample to the company. The exact instructions may vary for different test manufacturers, but this is the most common type.
Typically, you’ll get results within about eight weeks. The company will either mail them to you or provide an electronic version, or both.
These tests are rather cheap, especially if you only buy the version that determines nothing but your ancestry. The best thing, however, is that taking this kind of test with your family can inspire your children in many ways. They might become interested in studying genealogy or even genetics. They might be inspired to travel the world and learn the history of their ancestors. And above all, seeing how many nationalities are mixed in our bloodlines is a great help when you teach your children to reject hate and to be kind and compassionate to all people.
For some people, the impact of their ancestry DNA tests is life-changing. They rethink their entire identity and sometimes even find extended family with the help of test results.
What Does a Home DNA Testing Kit Tell About You?
The interesting part is what the DNA test results would say. This will depend on the test you take. The information they provide might range from ancestry by nationality to your relationship to the Neanderthals to some health information and genetic risks of disease. Many of the top testing kits will provide all of that information and more.
Bear in mind that direct-to-consumer DNA testing kits differ not only by how much information they offer. They also have very different specializations, so it’s important that you choose the right one for you. Today, there are kits specialized for African ancestry and those that help trace your European roots. These distinctions are essential because the accuracy of results depends on the size of the DNA testing company’s database.
If the majority of the provider’s data is from the people of African descent, you won’t be able to get accurate information about your ancestors if they haul from Eastern Europe. However, if you are unsure of what kind of ancestry test will be best for you, go for the biggest. Top DNA kits providers on the market have the most versatile databases. Therefore, they should be able to provide you with results that will, at least, push you in the right direction.
Also, don’t forget that many DNA testing kits today offer some health and lifestyle advice. However, you definitely should take those results with a large spoon of salt. At the moment, only 23andMe offers a direct-to-consumer DNA testing kit approved by the FDA to test for 10 diseases. And that test is only reliable for those specific health conditions.
Other types of health-advice offered by DNA tests should be verified with your doctor. The only time when you can trust them fully is when the test suggests making healthy lifestyle changes. But you don’t really need a DNA test to start doing it. Leading a healthy lifestyle is the best choice for any family, regardless of any genetic predispositions.
What Are Top DNA Kits on the Market?
The rise in the popularity of home DNA testing kits made the market explode. Therefore, there are dozens of options available to you today. But, as mentioned before, to be reliable this test must be backed by an extensive database. That’s why the best tests come from top providers. In this industry those are:
- African Ancestry (among the best for this specific type of ancestry)
- Family TreeDNA
- National Geographic’s Geno 2.0
- Oxford Ancestors
When choosing a DNA ancestry test to use with your family, research the provider first. If they don’t state explicitly what type of ancestry their tests are focused on, get suspicious. Good specialized tests are proud of their specialization and explain it right away.
Should You Use a Home DNA Kit to Learn Your Ancestry?
You should use a home DNA kit if you want to give your family a fun project. Whether it becomes full-scale genealogy research or just something you do for fun depends on you. The important thing is that this kind of ancestry test is worth a try.
But don’t be hasty to use this kind of testing to make any health-related decisions. The information offered by direct-to-consumer DNA tests is very imprecise and it might even be completely incorrect. Therefore, you should double-check those results with your doctor.
As long as you are responsible and smart about using the information provided by the test, you should be able to enjoy this experience.