Consumers have flocked to buy DNA kits from popular sites like 23andMe and Ancestry.com. We discuss experts’ take on the differences between genomic research and direct-to-consumer DNA tests in our methodology section, and how their input influenced our company reviews. That being said, your DNA results can provide some surprising info about your genetic predisposition to certain ailments, or ancestry testing can help you find new additions to your family tree. An Ancestry and Traits kit ($99) breaks down your ancestry and gives a report on genetic … For example, AncestryDNA’s main page claims “You could be Irish”; 23&Me promises they’ll help customers “discover what makes you, you;” MyHeritage boasts you can discover “where you really come from.”. Nonetheless, it was an important evaluating factor when comparing different DNA testing companies.Â. Most people start with the 37 marker test. The company examines 28 genetic markers that they have associated with specific skin aging categories, from collagen quality to skin sensitivity. DNA stands for “deoxyribonucleic acid,” the name of a chemical chain that carries the genetic information of our parents and their parents, and so on. AncestryDNA explicitly states that they will not send results through the mail. Screenshot of AfricanAncestry.com's products. Because of the sheer number of tests offered, navigating HomeDNA’s website can be very confusing. It should be noted that some populations have contributed more samples than others. Overall, there’s very little information about what DNA is, how it can be used to determine ancestry connections and history, and how AncestryDNA’s algorithms work. Personal DNA tests are used to help predict genetic risk factors for health complications. Polygenic risk scores are only currently available to customers from European ancestry. Most importantly, 23&Me is open about what kind of information they share with third- parties, specifically aggregate information that has been de-identified. Joel is a writer with a passion for the science of DNA and the power of its manipulation. But there was a lot of UK DNA, like Irish – and I didn’t know that – the Irish, specifically – but there was English, Scottish, and some Western European. Commercial DNA Tests typically offer two types of services: ancestry reports and health analyses. People who are concerned with whether they might be genetically at risk for specific health conditions should speak with their medical practitioner or genetic counselor. Screenshot of HomeDNA.com's results description. The health implications of your genetic makeup are usually based on minute increases in the health risks of developing certain illnesses, such as Alzheimer’s. The exact accuracy of your test results may vary depending on a few potential factors. We took every DNA test so you don't have to. There’s a lot of marketing lingo (“get the most diverse ethnicity breakdown”), vague assurances of the company’s scientific standards (“we use advanced technology”), and occasional mentions of the actual technology used (“microarray-based autosomal DNA testing” and the “the Illumina OmniExpress-24 chip”). Ancestry tests and health risk reports are the two most common services. It is not our intention to suggest that commercial DNA testing companies are being purposefully misleading in their marketing and product information, yet we felt it necessary to point out that there are several areas — from the complexity of the science to privacy concerns, to questions regarding the usage of terms like “ethnicity” or “identity” — whose over-simplification can result in confusion or misunderstanding. There are two main groups of health risk assessment when it comes to genetics: gene-based risk factors and genetic risk estimates. In a 2015 article, Jonathan Kahn, a law professor at Northeastern University who has written extensively on genomics and race, writes “The estimates provided by diverse commercial enterprises [...] are premised on a notion of static populations that have not migrated or mixed over time. It offers to compare customers’ DNA against 11 gene pools tied to the African continent, tracing its origins to as far back as 2,000 years.Â, GPS Origins Asian Edition ($199) - Like the African Edition, this version of HomeDNA seeks to fill a gap in the market for Asian-specific DNA testing. We carefully examined the privacy policies of every company we reviewed to see how much privacy and security consumers have. 23andMe DNA kit review (2021) – is it worth the money? We particularly focused on the costs versus services, whether there were discounts available, and whether additional features incurred further costs (such as through a membership or subscription fee). Most confusingly, they mention the Netscape Navigator — a browser from the 1990s that has not been updated since 2008 — and Internet Explorer — a browser that Microsoft has been in the process of replacing since 2015 — as examples of browser security, and they cite SSL encryptions as proof of their data security measures. Ancestry.com’s Privacy Statement also establishes that customers always “maintain ownership” of their DNA data. Paid subscribers to Ancestry.com can also connect their DNA results to their Family Trees and documented research to get a fuller picture of their family history. The health kit is prohibited in Israel, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and in the states of NY, NJ, and RI. This commitment to ensure that a group that has been historically marginalized has control over their genetic information is noteworthy. Screenshot of 23andme.com's BRCA1/BRCA2 disclaimer. 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