With family tree and ancestry companies becoming increasingly popular, DNA testing for medical and family identification has become a mainstream consideration. A variety of companies offer DNA testing services, but do you really know the truth about these services? As with anything new, misconceptions abound when it comes to DNA testing. Here are a few things that you should know if you're considering a test like this.
You Can Take The Test At Home
Most people associate DNA testing with blood tests and needles. With many DNA testing services, you don't have to go to a lab. You can take the test at home using saliva samples instead of blood. The kit usually comes with everything you need, and you just mail the saliva sample back to the testing company and await your results.
Sibling Tests Don't Define Your Results
You might think that, because your sibling took a DNA test, you don't really need to because your results wouldn't be any different. The fact is that your results will be different. Each child inherits half of their DNA from each parent, but the actual DNA you inherit is different from one child to another. The only time DNA results would be the same is in the case of identical twins. Otherwise, it's in your best interest to take a test of your own to see what your own personal DNA looks like and how it compares to your siblings and other family members.
Taking A DNA Test Doesn't Mean Sacrificing Your DNA
Another common issue that many people have with home-based DNA testing is the concern that they may be sacrificing their DNA to some public database when they take these tests. That isn't necessarily the case.
Every company has its own policies about the storage and use of DNA test results. While law enforcement can subpoena DNA testing results in some cases, those cases are typically extreme or special circumstances. In addition, your DNA isn't published publicly for the world to see. You may even have the opportunity to exclude your DNA results from any familial matching services that the company provides.
DNA Testing Can Help You Find Long-Lost Relatives
Many DNA testing services will link you to profiles for others who may have a familial match to your DNA. This can help you to find relatives that you may not have known you had. In the case of adopted children and the like, this is a great way to trace back where you came from and who your biological family is.