DNA Tests at Home

Onelia Greatty
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Doing DNA tests online is a possibility nowadays with a few simple steps. Through technological advances, DNA tests have become accessible and have significantly reduced costs, some very general and others quite specialized at a relatively reasonable price.

Many of these tests can be purchased in packages containing a bottle or vessel for cellular material, such as saliva, which is prepared for preservation. It will usually be enough to place some saliva in a jar, shake it for a few seconds and it is ready to be sent to the processing site. There, according to the characteristics of the kit purchased, different tests will be carried out and their results as a report prepared on our genetic markers will soon be available online, by email or in an App.

Steps to perform the over-the-counter genetic test in home kits

1.      The test is chosen according to their characteristics for our purposes (seen in general in the previous section).

2.      A kit is purchased online. It should be noted that everyone is responsible for what they buy and certain tests such as paternity tests are subject to the laws of their country, to the rights of each person and to personal ethics.

3.      The responsible company will send us a small kit by mail.

4.     We will receive a small box that will contain the system to collect the sample of the subject or subjects to be analyzed, either a stick to collect some material from the mouth or a small container to place saliva. Other less frequent means of collecting genetic material will depend on the type of test, but these are the most frequent.

5.      We put in material in its container and follow the instructions on how to prepare and package it again, it is usually very simple.

6.      We now send the container back with our genetic material to the indicated processing site. Usually this shipment is already paid with the initial purchase, however, in some countries it may not be so, we recommend making sure.

7.     We wait for the days it takes for the material collected to arrive at its processing site plus the days indicated on the product when it was purchased.

8.      At the end of the process described above we can receive an email with the results, or access to a website where we can review them, or we can do so through an App to see in detail all the results obtained and, as appropriate, also some advice (examples thereof) of personalized or intelligent diets based on our genomics, personalized plans for certain sports activities, among others), it is not uncommon for some paid subscription plans to be offered to continue with certain benefits offered.

General uses given to over-the-counter Online DNA tests:

1.      Paternity tests

Its validity will be linked to who and where the test is taken and the legislation that exists on this type of test in your country or region. Although its results can be quite accurate, it does not mean that in this area this test may have legal value.

2.      DNA tests to detect the genetic predisposition to some diseases

For example tests on the hereditary predisposition to develop breast cancer, colon cancer, lactose intolerance, macular degeneration, among others. There is ample potential for these tests to discover hidden diseases or risks in our DNA.

3.      DNA test to know our genealogy

They are genetic tests to know where our ancestors come from, they are collated against a huge database of people from different ethnic backgrounds and they will tell you which regions their origins are associated with.

4.      Genetic tests to optimize diets (nutrigenetic tests) and sports performance:

Elements such as the ability to recover after exercise or the propensity to develop more or less muscle mass can be expressed in our DNA.

5.     Other uses that arise.

Some situations linked to genetics kits

The fiction stories we used to hear about the collection of biological material for DNA testing without our authorization seem to be approaching the world of the possible. It is good to be warned about this since these genetic tests sometimes represent certain worries. It is expected that they lack legal force when they are done without consent and without supervision, however, they are not free of consequences since it is possible that those who perform them under a non-consensual modality may be penalized depending on current legislation.

The ethical factors linked to these analysis will undoubtedly give material for several books, but the fact is that they exist and would be in your mailbox very soon after buying them. The window to the future that they open to us could show both beneficial and exclusive scenarios; Reliefs or anxieties.

Now when you discard a cigarette butt or chewing gum in a public place, keep in mind that leaving it there according to your legislation may mean that a sample of you is public, it was abandoned in its own way in a public domain, be careful with that.

Can DNA tests in household kits be carried out in all countries?

There are countries like Spain where the legislation roughly states that genetic tests must be subject to prescription and medical advice, which invites them to perform them in the safety of a clinical environment.

How do companies manage our genetic information?

It should be noted that the companies that sell these kits guarantee the confidentiality of this data, check the accompanying manual and make sure of this. The fact a company sells a kit does not guarantee they will be the ones processing the samples.

These products grow every day and there are very conscious companies offering tests on the analysis of DNA and its implications, others more concerned with selling without as many strings attached. Consumers have to be informed, know how to choose, interpret and use the results with caution.

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