How Does a Home DNA Test Kit Work?

DNA test kits can reveal a lot about our heritage and ancestry. It is of much value for people who want to find their ancestral history. Without going into the biological details, here is a brief explanation of a home DNA test kit.

There are various types of home DNA test kits. Some of these tests determine the paternity of an individual. It means that they find out whether a man is the father of an individual or not. Other types of home test kits can reveal a person’s genealogy. Some DNA test kits can tell you about an underlying medical condition as well. A DNA test cannot say if you will develop a medical condition in the future accurately but it can tell you whether you are at risk of a disease or not. The reason is that apart from our DNA, environmental factors also dictate the likelihood of disease. Hence, whether you develop an illness or not depends on many factors.

How is the DNA testing done?

Most home-based DNA testing kits can be ordered online. These testing kits require a saliva sample. You have to spit into a tube. The home DNA test kit comes with directions on how to collect the sample. Some may require a cheek swab. 

When the saliva sample reaches the lab, the DNA is collected from the cells in the saliva. The lab then makes several copies of the DNA. The process is called amplification. After this, the DNA is divided and splits into many pieces. Each piece of the DNA represents a gene. 

Computer software is used to determine your genealogy. Various algorithms are in use that determine ancestral history. An algorithm looks at an individual section of a gene and compares it with the genes of the reference population. The reference population refers to the database, which consists of people with known ancestries. Hence, the DNA of an individual is compared with other people.

Many DNA testing companies also provide details regarding genetic health conditions. 

The reason why these kits are popular is that they are easy to use. Over time, these have also become quite affordable. In addition to this, they appeal to people because they reveal something about our history and DNA, which is not apparent to the naked eye. Hence, in some sense, it empowers an individual. It brings them at peace and in touch with their ancestral history.

After getting the results, you can opt to have your DNA results used for research. The company will ask your permission to use it.

Is a home DNA test kit worth it?

Despite the advantages of a DNA test kit, there are a few things that you should keep in mind, especially if you are planning to take one. DNA test kits are not 100% accurate. They can tell us the likelihood of belonging to one region. The likelihood depends on the similarity between a person’s DNA with that of other people in a database. If the database is small, then it may not provide many details regarding your ancestry. Hence, there is a bias. Also, there is a chance of siblings getting different results. 

If you are planning to get a DNA test, you should get one from a reputable company that has been offering testing services for a long time. It is because such DNA testing companies will have a comparatively large database and can provide greater details regarding your ancestry.

home dna test kit


Home DNA testing kits can help you find your ancestry. However, there are some constraints associated with it. As more and more people get their DNA tested, there is a chance of accurate results. But it will take some time.

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