Genetic reports are hugely popular right now. People are turning to companies like Ancestry.com to determine their ethnic background, and to see if they have relatives they’ve never met. It’s appealing because it informs your identity, and the process is not complicated or expensive. You can do the test from the comfort of your own home.
So what do you get in a genetic report?
AncestryDNA’s reports will show a breakdown of your ethnicity, according to its list of 26 ethnic regions. Since so many people have migrated over the centuries, your actual ethnic mix can look very different from what you assume it to be (based on links to your closest relatives). For example, let’s say your actual DNA includes Iberian, Western European and Polynesian roots, even though your Mom might be 4th generation Texan and your Dad is from Hawaii. You can get a clearer picture of your true roots that go back generations, so your ethnic mix will likely surprise you.
When you order a testing kit, you’ll receive instructions along with a saliva collection tube and a pre-paid return mailer. You provide a small saliva sample and mail it back, and AncestryDNA will analyze it according to 700,000 genetic markers. (AncestryDNA uses a process called microarray-based autosomal DNA testing.)
You’ll receive results in 6-8 weeks via email.
Over 3 million people have taken the test, giving AncestryDNA the largest database in the industry.
While there is a growing interest in and fascination with genetic reports, privacy remains a big concern among potential customers. Who wants such personal information (like your DNA!) to be kept in a container for anyone to access? AncestryDNA has thought of the complications that arise from this kind of sensitive testing, and provides a lot of options to customers to protect their privacy and address concerns.
The company stores your DNA test results and sample without your name or other identifying personal information, because you own your own DNA data. At any time, you can download this data, or request that the company delete your test results or even your physical DNA saliva sample. Ancestry says it doesn’t share your name or other identifying information with third parties either, except if it’s legally required or you give your consent.
Customers can order a one-time test for $70 that provides a report of your ethnic mix. Or if you’d like a more in-depth analysis, for an additional $20 per year you can see other living relatives in your circle that you might not know about.
To find out more about AncestryDNA you can read our AncestryDNA review.