Home DNA tests have become increasingly popular, providing the ability to collect DNA at the comfort of sitting in your living room. A simple swab of the cheek or the saliva can be used to research ancestry or family origin via DNA testing.
However, there are some key pointers to consider before carrying out the purchase decision.
How it works?
The at-home kits aid in collecting samples which are then sent for DNA testing to a laboratory. Once the samples have been submitted, the turnaround time varies between 24 hours to 8 weeks depending upon the type of test being conducted.
Accuracy and completeness of the results
Ancestry tests are one of the best known tests to be performed using the at-home kit, however, there are other tests that can be performed including tests for food sensitivities, skin-care DNA tests, testing the risk for developing certain medical conditions, etc.
Although considerably accurate, the completeness of the tests is questionable, especially when it comes to testing the risk of developing medical conditions. This is because home-based tests only test for a few specific gene mutations, thereby, limiting the scope for a detailed analysis of the risks surrounding the occurrence of certain medical conditions.
Learn the difference
At-home test results differ greatly from the results provided by a certified genetic counselor, as the later provides a more detailed genetic analysis with a careful assessment of your family history to further investigate mutations that may be linked to a risk of certain inherited diseases.
Furthermore, the terminologies used in the results are better understood by the counselors, hence, reducing the chances of error in analysis.
Validation of results
The at-home test manufacturers recommend the validation of the results by a genetic counselor or physician before using it for taking decisions related to the health of an individual, for fulfilling the accuracy and completeness requirements.
Level of readiness before purchase
Before purchasing an at-home DNA testing kit for personal use or for someone else, it is vital to know the readiness level of the user. This is because DNA testing may reveal some unexpected information that the user may not be prepared for, such as, the user being at risk of a serious disease or an unexpected news related to the user’s family history.
Such information may lead to stress or anxiety, especially if the user is not mentally and emotionally prepared for the results.
Furthermore, the timing of the news matters greatly, and if the time is not right to discover such facts then postponing the purchase decision is a better option. Hence, the readiness level of the user must be considered before actually purchasing the kit.