How Dna Ancestry Testing Works – The AncestryDNA test is easy. You order a kit, send in your saliva sample, and voila. A week later you receive an email telling you when your results are ready.
The results reveal your estimated ethnicity, people you may be related to, and new details about your unique family history.
How Dna Ancestry Testing Works
Our science team uses raw DNA data to determine your estimated ethnicity and to identify people you may be related to.
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We ran this comparison 40 times to get the best estimate of the areas you are genetically similar to, based on current research. After we perform a comparison, we give you an ethnic estimate.
What’s interesting is that your ethnic results are unique to you. If you have additional family members tested, their results may look different. For example, your sister may be twice as Irish as you.
This is because we all get 50% of our DNA from each parent. But except in the case of identical twins, they do not give the same 50% to each child.
In addition to ethnic estimates, we compare your DNA to other people in our database. Currently, the database consists of almost 10 million samples.
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Depending on the amount of DNA you share with a particular person in the database, we estimate a possible relationship. Here’s how DNA can help you find cousins you never knew existed.
And as our database grows, we will continue to compare your genetic data with other people who have taken the AncestryDNA test. So you will have constant possibilities to find new connections. Should I give a DNA kit this holiday season? Genetic counselor Kira Dineen talks about what to consider when buying a DNA kit as a gift.
Kira is a certified genetic counselor in private practice in the US. US, specializing in high-risk obstetrics. She also serves as a digital ambassador for the National Association of Genetic Counselors and is the creator/host of the award-winning DNA Today: A Genetics Podcast & Radio Show.
One of the most popular seasonal gifts has been the home DNA kit from companies like Ancestry and 23andMe. DNA kits can be used to find a variety of information, including health and ancestry.
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Sano Genetics does not currently offer ancestry testing, but provides free DNA kits as part of specialized research studies. Sano also allows people who have taken the test to upload their data to participate in pioneering genetic research and gain access to free personalized genetic reports.
How does direct-to-consumer genetic testing work? Let’s back up to examine the genetic basis. Our genome, the entire human genetic code, is 3 billion letters long. The code is written using a genetic alphabet consisting exclusively of As, Ts, Cs and Gs (the chemicals adenine, thymine, cytosine and guanine). Two strangers will have about 1 million single-letter differences in the layout of their genomes (out of a total of 1 billion letters). These genetic variants are known as ‘single nucleotide polymorphisms’ or SNPs, where people have a single letter difference at the same position on their genome (learn more in my previous blog post about the uniqueness of our DNA). For DNA kits, SNPs are used to gather information.
When analyzing an assay, variations in DNA extracted from saliva samples are compared to a reference database (think of this as the ‘master’ database). For example, my ancestry results show me to be 39% Irish, this means that of the analyzed variants, 39% of them are shared with the reference dataset of people of Irish descent.
Currently, Sano Genetics does not offer genetic testing due to the choice to focus on personal health and medical research.
How Does Dna Testing Work
In terms of health, genetic variants can also be analyzed and combined (a concept known as a polygenic risk score) to provide an assessment of characteristics such as weight. For example, your polygenic risk score may indicate that you are more likely to maintain a healthy weight. Certain genetic variants, a spelling difference in a gene, have also been studied to make predictions about health, such as how well you metabolize caffeine and your sleep patterns.
If you are looking for a DNA kit to answer a medical question, it is best to consult with a health care provider trained in genetics, such as a genetic counselor. In the United States, you can go to findageneticcounselor.com. A home DNA test provides selective information. The most important question to ask is, what are the limitations of the test? For example, 23andMe analyzed three specific variants (which significantly increase the risk of breast cancer) in the BRCA gene. Therefore, if someone has a variant that is not one of the high-risk variants, they may be under the false impression that the entire BRCA gene has been examined and no variant has been identified. Anne Greb, head of the medical education team at 23andMe shares her insights with me on this episode of the podcast.
Using companies like 23andMe and Ancestry that allow you to compare your results with your family can reveal unexpected results, such as when someone’s parents are not their biological parents. New siblings can also be found as siblings. For people who are adopted or donor conceived, this creates opportunities to connect with biological family members (fellow genetic counselor Brianne Kirkpatrick explores this with me in this podcast episode). The impact on families can be extreme, from strained relationships to celebrations.
By sharing saliva samples with direct-to-consumer genetic testing companies, you are not only sharing your own DNA, but also the DNA of family members. Remember, we get half of our genetic information from each parent. By adding your DNA to the database, you are also adding the DNA of your family members. The database is used to find family members. An example is how the Golden State Killer was identified through the listing of family members in a database (author Libby Copeland explains in this podcast episode).
Ancestry Vs. 23andme: Which Dna Testing Kit Should You Choose?
The detail we can learn from the genetic side of genetic testing is amazing. However, there are significant differences between people of European descent versus those of non-European descent. People of European descent often have more specific ancestry information down to the county level, for example I know 39% of my Irish ancestry is centered in Cork, Ireland. AncestryDNA tests for over 1,100 regions in the world, 840 of which are in Europe and only 109 regions are in Africa (I asked author Adam Rutherford to break this concept down further in this podcast episode). This gap is not exclusive to direct-to-consumer genetic databases, but all genetic databases.
To make progress in genetics, we need a more complete and diverse database. An interesting aspect of the DNA kit at home is the ability to contribute to this effort. Many companies like 23andMe, AncestryDNA, MyHeritage and Genes for Good offer the ability to download raw genetic data, digital DNA readings and share them with researchers, like Sano Genetics! Raw data is information that has not been analyzed or reviewed by scientists, which means that you should not interpret the results without a healthcare provider.
If you haven’t taken a DNA test at home, Sano Genetics offers free DNA kits to eligible research participants, learn more here.
So remember, think before you spit! Consider the test results before giving a loved one (or yourself) a DNA kit at home for the holidays. Let us know what you think of the at-home DNA kit giveaway by using #SeasonsGreetingFromSano on social media and tagging Sano!
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Artist and patient advocate May Ling shares her advice on managing chronic conditions during the festive season.
Genetic counselor Kira Dineen explains how we can all be unique when we share 99.9% of our DNA. We may earn a commission from the links on this page, but we only recommend products that we give away. Why trust us?
Counted heirlooms, old photographs, journals and stories, which have been passed down from generation to generation, have long formed the backbone of the narrative of a family of ancestors. And in recent years, thanks to incredible advances in genetics and DNA sequencing technology, people around the world can now trace their ancestry through their genomes.
There are now dozens of companies that sell, manufacture and distribute direct-to-consumer DNA testing kits, and there are even DNA testing kits for your dog or cat.
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Some of these kits claim that their results will tell you where your ancestors came from. Some claim to be able to tell you about your health risks, give you nutritional advice, or even examine your personality and behavior.
While many kits promise to provide compelling personal information, the results may not be as accurate as customers assume, experts say. And what these companies plan to do with their customers’ genetic information—and how they plan to keep such personal data safe—isn’t always clear.
Some of the most popular DNA ancestry kits on the market today are those sold by AncestryDNA, a genealogy and genomics company headquartered in Lehigh, Utah, and 23andMe, a biotechnology company headquartered in Sunnyvale, California. Kits from this company and most of their competitors range in price from $100 to $300. Both AncestryDNA and
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