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Genetic (DNA) testing may involve the sequencing of human DNA in order to discover genetic differences, anomalies, or mutations that may prove pathological.

It is the analysis of chromosomes (DNA), proteins, and certain metabolites in order to detect heritable disease-related genotypes, mutations, phenotypes, or karyotypes for clinical purposes. It also provides information about an individual's genes and chromosomes throughout life.

DNA testing is also used to identify an individual for legal purposes. For these purposes, it is not used to detect gene mutations associated with disease but to identify crime or catastrophe victims, implicate or rule out a crime suspect, or establish biological relationships between people. For example, paternity testing uses special DNA markers to identify the same or similar inheritance patterns between related individuals. Based on the likelihood that we will inherit half of our DNA from the father and half from the mother, DNA scientists test individuals to determine a match of DNA sequences at some highly differential markers to draw the conclusion of relatedness.

Another popular use of DNA testing is to determine ancestry or ethnic heritage for the purpose of genetic genealogy, and that is the main purpose for its inclusion in this portion of our web guide.

Private genetic testing is administered by several companies, including 23andMe, 23mofang, 24 Genetics, AncestryDNA, Centrillion Biosciences, CRI Genetics, Dante Labs, DNA Worldwide, Family Tree DNA, Full Genomes Corporation, Genebase, Gene by Gene, Genera, Genos Research, GenoTek, IGENEA, Living DNA, MeuDNA, National Geographic Geno, Nebula Genomics, Sano Genetics, Sorenson Genomics, Veritas Genetics, Veritas Intercontinental, YSEQ, Yoogene, and probably some others, with 23andMe, AncestryDNA, and CRI Genetics being the most popular in the United States.

These companies do not all provide the same type of test results, but a few things that can usually be determined include family history, ancestry, personal identity, health information, and geographical community.

Direct-to-consumer DNA tests have varying levels of evidence supporting their claims. Some companies can offer much scientific and clinical data to support their information, while others lack. Not all direct-to-consumer genetic testing companies test for the same set of variants.

DNA testing will not replace the genetic ancestry research steps, but it can be a useful starting point.

However, it can be useful in helping to learn more about one's ancestry, to prove that one's family tree reflects one's actual ancestry, to prove or disprove the relationship between two people on a family tree, to prove or disprove a theory of the parts of the world that one's ancestors came from, to find relatives for individuals on the family tree who may have been adopted, or to learn from which ancestors certain genetic traits are likely to have been inherited from. Genetic testing can serve as a tool for answering the above questions.

Depending on the direct-to-consumer DNA testing company, three basic types of collection kits are used. One of them involves spitting into a tube, another is done by swabbing the inside of the cheek with a small brush and depositing that into a tube, while another involves swabbing the inside of the cheek, then drying and sending in the swab. These are not the same tests used by law enforcement for crime identification purposes.

DNA is an acronym for deoxyribonucleic acid. DNA is a molecule that encodes the genetic instructions for building and operating all living things. Human beings are 99.9% genetically identical. All of the differences in how people look and the diseases they may be prone to stem from the 0.1% difference. However, there are about three billion base pairs where those differences may be expressed.

Your DNA is in nearly all of your cells. The DNA replicated in your body's cells is essentially your personal building and operating instructions given to you by your parents. Moreover, it contains the story of where you came from geographically.

This information doesn't replace other forms of research, but it can be invaluable in helping you to fill in the branches of your family tree.



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