Over the past few years, YouTubers, bloggers, and seemingly everyone on the internet has been trying home DNA testing kits. These kits purport to tell you more about where you came from. What percentage of your ancestry is from which region? How does your ethnic understanding of yourself correlate with what is inside your DNA?
There are certainly good reasons to try an ancestry DNA testing kit. You can learn a lot about yourself, especially if your parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents were displaced from their homes and are short of stories of where your family tree started. You can also learn about potential health conditions, as well as find family members you never knew existed.
With so many options on the market, such as Ancestry.com, MyHeritage, and 23andMe, how do you go about choosing the best DNA test for you? Here are some guidelines you can follow.
Just give me a reason
First, you need to decide what your primary reason is for doing an ancestry test. Do you want to know more about where you came from or do you just want to find family members? Are you concerned about health conditions, or are you obsessed with the finer scientific details?
Different testing kits suit different needs. For example, MyHeritage will do an excellent job of telling you where you came from, but Ancestry.com is more likely to find your relatives, with its 7 million strong databases. Living DNA, on the other hand, will give you “twice the amount of detail” that the others will, which will interest those who want to get into the nitty-gritty of the science.
Do you want to find out if you have any Neanderthal genes? 23andMe will test for that, helping you learn what makes you unique.
Money, money, money
Of course, the cost comes into the equation for most of us. While ancestry tests are not expensive, they are a luxury that is difficult to afford if you’re barely making ends meet. Some ancestry tests are more expensive than others, and there’s not really any good reason for it. If you’re not particularly committed to getting extra information only one of the tests will give you, you may as well go for the cheapest. It will tell you plenty about your ancestry, without breaking the bank.
A lot has been said about privacy when it comes to DNA testing kits. You’re sending off a sample of your DNA, and that makes some people uncomfortable. What might nefarious companies do with that information?
The truth is not nearly as frightening as that. If you have committed a major crime, then you probably shouldn’t send off your DNA! That was how the Golden State Killer was found. A relative of his sent in DNA, and they matched it to his. They tracked back through the family to find him.
But hopefully, you’re not guilty of heinous crimes! The reality is that these companies protect your privacy, and cannot use it against you. As long as you’ve got nothing to hide, your DNA will never betray you.