Genetics is one of the fastest-developing fields of study today and it seems that no week passes within some new discovery of the intricacies of human genes. Of course, home genetic testing kits aren’t as sophisticated as what you can get in an actual lab, but they are fun and helpful in many ways. Considering that their sales exceeded 12 million in 2017 (MIT Technology Review), it becomes obvious that these tests are used by a great number of people. They do this either for fun or to find some answers in regards to their ancestry and health. If you want to try out these kits yourself, you’ll need to choose the right kind to achieve your exact goals.


Home Genetic Tests: What They Are and Why They Are Popular

Home genetic test kits are exactly what their name implies. Those are kits that allow you to perform a simple DNA test at home. The important thing to understand if you want to pick up genetic testing as a hobby is that these kits are extremely diverse. Therefore, you need to decide exactly what kind of information you are interested in.

Some of the things you can learn with the help of home DNA tests include:

  • Ancestry
  • Paternity
  • Heritage
  • Health risks
  • Fitness blueprints (understanding of your metabolism rate)

Unsurprisingly, these tests are extremely popular with a variety of people. They are so much of a phenomenon that the market for genetic health testing has grown to $99 million in 2017 and it’s expected to reach $310 million by 2022 (Kalorama Information Research). This growth is fueled by the rising popularity of at-home genetic testing as a hobby. Uncovering the mysteries of one’s own body and ancestry is definitely more captivating than playing with puzzles or collecting stamps. And as technology develops and home genetic testing kits become more sophisticated, this activity becomes even more interesting.

However, you shouldn’t forget about the limitations of DNA self-test kits.


Ancestry – Yes, Medicine – No: How Home Genetic Tests Work

If you plan to try genetic testing at home, you need to understand that no matter what kind of kit you use, you shouldn’t make any health-related decisions based on its results. It’s true that these kits are rather simple to use and they can provide accurate information on a variety of issues. However, they are not ratified as authentic medical tests.

This means that even if the information they provide is correct, you cannot rely on it only when making decisions that will affect your health. It’s imperative that you double-check with your doctor about any issue you might have uncovered when taking a home DNA test. And bear in mind that these kits aren’t very ‘sensitive’. Therefore, health-related information they provide might be inaccurate.

On the other hand, the ancestry-defining aspect of home genetic test kits is definitely very accurate. Therefore, you can trust those results and use them in your genealogy projects.


Leading Players on the Home Genetic Testing Market

Due to the size of the home genetic testing kits market choosing what’s the best one for you can be extremely difficult. As accuracy and quality matter greatly for these items, you should consider choosing one of the top 3 leading DNA kits. Those are MyHeritage, 23AndMe, and Ancestry.com. Each of them has a huge database and guarantees highly comprehensible results.

MyHeritage is a new player on this market as it launched testing only in 2016. Despite this, today it has one of the biggest databases in the world. The reason for this is not only the quality of the tests. It’s also the low cost, which makes MyHeritage one of the most accessible DNA testing of this caliber.

23AndMe is not cheap but it’s the definitive industry leader. These laboratories are using the most cutting-edge technology and often act as industry pioneers. Therefore, the results you get through 23AndMe tests are as accurate as one can get from a home genetic testing kit.

Ancestry.com is bog, trustworthy, and reasonably priced. This is the kit you should be using if you are interested in finding out ethnicity. Overall, it’s a great service for genealogy enthusiasts because you also get a set of family tree tools as part of the deal.

Today, genealogy is the second most popular hobby in America (TIME). It’s hard to say whether it was the popularization of home genetic testing kits that pushed it so high up or if it was the demand for better tools that prompted the development of these kits. Most likely, both factors are equally important.

It’s even harder to say why exactly genealogy is so popular in the US. Perhaps this is because discovering one’s ancestry and ethnic identity helps them find spiritual connections in the land of their ancestors. Americans have always been proud of their heritage, despite the fact that many family generations might not have visited the faraway country their ancestors came from.

The only thing one can be sure of is that home genetic testing kits help take this hobby to a new level. With these tests, everyone can uncover some exciting details about themselves and often find some emotional benefits from understanding and accepting one’s ancestry.


Home Genetic Testing and Privacy: Things to Consider

One thing you have to consider very carefully before you decide to try out various home DNA testing kits is your privacy. If you are one of the people who are worried about matters like internet surveillance (which is a legitimate concern), you might not feel comfortable uploading your personal DNA information online. There are quite a few stories like this that fuel the paranoia of those who are afraid of their private information being stolen and misused.

However, the truth of the matter is that when dealing with reliable providers, you can be safe. Of course, the information the genetic testing lab will know about you is rather intimate. But objectively, it’s rather harmless to your person as compared to someone stealing your social security number.

To prevent problems regarding privacy, you need to use trusted home genetic testing kits only and find out what exactly the lab will be able to do with your results. It’s true that some labs sell this information. Therefore, pay attention to the fine print and read every page of Terms and Conditions thoroughly.

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