DNA testing is tricky work, and yet there are so many online companies available today for us to select our test kits from. This makes one wonder which DNA testing companies can be trusted and which ones are likely to be a sham? Fortunately, there are quite a few ways to tell which of these businesses are authentic and which ones are best left avoided.
Reputation and Reviews
It is not easy to be a fake and survive on the internet for too long these days, because sooner or later, the disgruntled customers and their honest reviews will surface. Learn from other people’s mistakes and avoid DNA testing businesses that have a bad reputation in general. You will also do well to steer clear of companies that do not have any significant reputation behind them either. A few random 5-star reviews on suspicious websites do not mean much.
Rely on Expert Opinions and Real User Experiences
For those of us who are not that well acquainted with the DNA testing industry, this can prove to be a lot of work, to say the least! Most people who order a DNA testing kit for the first time are not that familiar with the popular and infamous names in this particular sector.
Look for a site that compares the best DNA testing kits from the most authentic companies in the business. Letting experts rank each test kit’s performance in respect to different ethnicities can be a big time and money saver. For example, click here for a review of Vitagene, so you know what you’re getting before you buy.
Understand and Establish the Possibilities and Goals of Your DNA Test First
There are a few key questions which the user should have clear answers to, in order to manage expectations and choose the right DNA testing company. The questions would be:
- What do you wish to find from the DNA test?
- What kind of results can each of the options deliver?
- Will your chosen DNA testing business be able to deliver the kind of results that you are looking for?
- Are you expecting results from the DNA test that are unrealistic?
General Capabilities of DNA Testing Kits at a Glance
Keeping the last question in mind, we need to first be aware of what a DNA test can or cannot reveal about us so that we do not end up developing unrealistic expectations.
DNA or deoxyribonucleic acid is identified in the scientific community as biological codes, and when a specific bunch of them come together to form a strand, it’s known as a chromosome. Since DNA is the code that instructs and constructs everything physical about our being, getting access to that code can help genealogical researchers reveal the following facts about us:
- Biological parents: Confirmation and/or identification
- Specific testing can show if the two people are related somehow or not
- Possibilities of developing inherited or ethnically prone diseases (sickle cell disease, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Tay-Sachs disease, etc.)
- A complete breakdown of various ethnical traces found in the individual’s genetic structure
- Information regarding ancestry that can go back by as far as 10-15 generations in some cases
- Information about your dog’s breed
The results will differ in their level of accuracy, and there may even be a few additional results not covered here. It all depends on multiple factors such as your ethnicity, the documented history available about your ancestors and the DNA testing company used for getting the results, which is why we have also prepared a small introductory list of the best DNA testing companies next.
23 and Me
The 23 and Me Ancestry and Traits DNA testing kit is ideal for those looking to track down their origin, heritage, and distant relatives. The ancestral timeline provided in the results can help us trace our ancestral history through five whole centuries. 23 and Me takes data from more than 1,500 areas into account, so the chances of finding extensive results with their DNA test are quite high.
Additionally, there will also be more information about your genetic traits which may include:
- Natural hair color
- Facial structure, jawline, size of the nose, etc.
- Food and smells that are the most likely to appeal to you
One of the most popular DNA testing kits available today comes from Ancestry DNA. However, unlike 23 and Me, which covers over 1,500 areas, Ancestry DNA only covers 500 of them.
Where Ancestry DNA shines is its ability to explain how their findings were achieved, as well as the reasons why they came to the conclusions reported. They also have two very useful features known as:
- ThruLines: Helps in finding distant relatives and explains every ancestral or present bloodline connections
- Genetic Communities: The customer’s genetic data is used to trace their genetic matches (lost or distant relatives) across 100s of locations around the world
One of the most affordable and yet surprisingly reliable DNA testing kits comes from MyHeritage. They cover over forty ethnic groups with their ever-expanding database, which is the largest in this industry.
Moreover, the results go into detail regarding your ancestry to determine how many ethnicities you are sharing your genetic makeup with and in what percentage. Additional highlights of the MyHeritage genealogy results include:
- Auto Clustering: Automatically and accurately identifies matching genetic groups with that of the customer
- Theory of Family Relativity tool explains the connections made by the Auto Cluster feature
- All DNA tests are analyzed at US labs only, and the results are delivered in 5 weeks’ time or less
For those with trypanophobia, rest assured that no needles are involved while using a DNA test kit. A cheek swab is more than enough for hacking into your genetic code. Given how easy it is to get the results these days, all you need to do is make sure that you choose the right company, and that’s pretty much all there is to revealing ancestral history and parental origins.
The best DNA testing companies are often quite accurate, but the very nature of their basic tests keep them from being 100% correct all the time. If the DNA kit test reveals something about you that can be deemed as a reason for concern, it is best to get a physician’s opinion before jumping to conclusions.