During the 1940s is that realized that DNA molecules are passed down through the generations of a family and since then we’ve seen several new discoveries, like the one of Watson and Crick in 1953, about our genetical structure.
Nowadays, interest in one’s DNA continues to surge and according to an MIT Technology Review, during 2019 people purchased DNA test more than in all previous years combined. Before we get into the actual benefits of it and brief myheritage vs. ancestry comparison, let’s begin by analysing the basics.
What’s DNA testing?
DNA or genetic testing is usually performed on a sample of blood, hair, skin, or other tissues, that has its main goal of identifying changes in chromosomes, genes, or proteins. The results of the test can confirm or rule out a particular genetic condition, reveal a genetic disorder, or show more information about ethnicity, living relatives, or ancestors’ identity.
More than 26 million people had purchased at-home ancestry tests during 2018, as interest in ancestry and health had been supported by online media and TV marketing. These tests generally analyse saliva, by extracting DNA from the cells. A chip then decodes 600,000 positions where people’s DNA code commonly differs, called nucleotide polymorphisms. The trend is expected to advance in 2019 as a growing number of people want to learn more about their historical background.
DNA testing becoming popular
It’s a fact that DNA testing is currently on an ascending path, mainly due to companies and governments allowing cheap or free opportunities for people. According to the-scientist.com, last year the Estonian government announced it would allocate capital to genotype 100,000 of its citizens. The move is part of a greater plan of integrating genetic testing into the healthcare system, potentially reducing disease risks and promoting healthier lifestyles.
In addition to that, we see a growing number of companies offering DNA testing kits. MyHeritage is one of the biggest online genealogy research outlets, covering 42 geographic regions, promising to provide test results within four to six weeks. AncestryDNA is another company well-priced and feature-rich, offering deep and specific insights. The company managed to build one of the largest and diverse databases, with over 6 million users.
Advantages of DNA testing
Among the advantages of DNA testing, we have to mention a sense of relief from uncertainties related to diseases risks. It can help people make informed medical and lifestyle decisions, while also allowing them the opportunity to find out more about their historical background and ancestors.
Is privacy a concern?
Some of the critics argue that as long as a growing number of people are buying these DNA tests, companies will have access to a big database of information and thus will be able to find more about anyone’s background, even when it comes to people that did not even share their DNA.
However, people volunteer to take DNA tests and in doing so they enable companies to get diverse genetic information about individuals living in a particular country or particular parts of the globe.