Curious about your ancestry and genetic makeup? Here are a few genetics testing kits that will shed some light on your DNA.

Consumer genetic testing was wildly popular last year, with the total number of tests administered in 2017 more than doubled in comparison to years past. That number exceeded 12 million as of February 2018.

This rise could be related to the fact that before April 2017, only medical professionals could administer genetic testing for medical purposes exclusively—such as for identifying inherited disorders or traits.

Genetic Testing: At a Glance

What Exactly is Genetic Testing?

These tests became wildly popular as consumers wanted information about their genealogy, but the tests can do much more than that. Currently there are many genetic tests under development, but over 2,000 are already in use and each one serves its own specific purpose. Overall, genetic testing can be used to identify genetic disorders as well as changes in proteins, chromosomes, and genes.

Some of the most basic types of genetic tests are:

Preimplantation Testing

Also referred to as preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), this genetic test is administered prior to the in vitro fertilization process to help identify genetic defects in embryos.

Prenatal Testing

Used before a fetus is born to detect changes or abnormalities in their chromosomes or genes. This test is offered to couples when the fetus has a higher risk of developing a genetic or chromosomal disorder, however it cannot it identify all possible birth defects or disorders.

Newborn Screening

This test is administered one to two days after birth to identify genetic disorders or diseases that can impact their health and development with the purpose of beginning early treatment. It is one of the most used genetic tests in the U.S.

Diagnostic Testing

When a person is ill this genetic test helps identify the cause. By way of this test, patients can more efficiently make the necessary choices for treatment.

Carrier Testing

Used to identify if a patient is a carrier of a disorder or disease to determine the chances of them passing on the gene to their children, putting them at risk of also being a carrier or of developing the disorder or disease.

Predictive and Presymptomatic Testing

This genetic test helps patients identify changes in their genes that increase the chances of developing a disease and also reports on already existing risks.

Research Genetic Testing

This test is not always directly beneficial to the patient but can contribute to the overall good of expanding research and understanding of the human body, how diseases impact our health, and the role genes play in it all.

Forensic Testing

This is one of the most known types of genetic testing as it is used to test DNA to identify an individual for law-related reasons. This type of test is administered on catastrophe victims, to identify crime or suspects, and to establish paternity.

Testing Gets Popular

Genetic testing was more popular in the U.S. than anywhere else, with 1 in 25 American adults now having access to their genetic data, according to Antonio Regalado of MIT Technology Review. The fact that such a high amount of people have taken consumer genetic tests indicates that there is a significant amount of information that is now out there.

“These big resources are a powerful piece of future genetic research. The opportunities are endless,” said Lisa Cannon-Albright, Genetic Epidemiologist at the University of Utah.

If you have not yet taken a commercial genetic test, here is a brief look at some of the most prominent companies that offer the service.

Living DNA

This company guarantees its genetic testing will give you twice as many details as other ancestry tests. Through its test, your DNA is mixed across 80 world regions—21 of which include Britain and Ireland. The company incorporates peer reviewed details of all those regions to help give clients further insight. Additionally, its genetic testing covers three genealogical lines:

  • the family line
  • the motherline
  • the fatherline

Living DNA also maps out how your family line plays spread out and at what point in history these divisions occurred. It also puts your results into context by showing your breakdown today and going as far back as 10 generations.

The way one goes about ordering this genetic test has become standard among genealogy services. You order your kit online and it’s shipped to you directly. After collecting your DNA sample, you mail it back and within 10-12 weeks your results are available to you through its website. Currently, the test costs $99.

Helix

This company offers genetic testing that goes beyond genealogy, in fact its basic DNA test can be paired with any of the following products, which are segmented into six categories:

Ancestry

These products allow you the option to explore what traits you share with your Neanderthal ancestors, what migration paths your ancestors followed, a look at whether your are genetically adapted to be a Hunter or Farmer based on your metabolism and how your ancestors impacted it, and what your ancestral origins are.

Entertainment

This adds fun twist to the standard genetic test. Through these products you can determine what is the best bottle of wine based on your genetic makeup, make a personalized scarf—customized by your DNA, and give you insight into what you may pass on to your children.

Family

Get insight into what your DNA has to offer your family by checking if you’re a carrier of any disease or disorder.

Fitness

Determine what workout is best fit for your needs, optimizing your fitness journey.

Health

Gain a more clear view of where your health stands by taking this test and getting a hereditary condition and wellness screening.

Nutrition

Build your diet around your genetic makeup, your metabolism, and your lifestyle.

Once your DNA results are ready, it unlocks  100 times more data than most at-home DNA tests. Afterward, the results are stored to protect your info and, once it’s shared with you, only the data you approve of is shared. The DNA kit is $80 but the price can lower if you purchase it along with any of the products listed above.

23andMe

This company offers two tests, each of which comes with its own set of reports.

Ancestry Service

This genetic test focuses solely on your genealogy and comes with five reports: ancestry competition, maternal haplogroup, paternal haplogroup, neanderthal ancestry, and your DNA family.

Health + Ancestry Service

This test provides more thorough results as it not only includes the five reports listed above, but also genetic health risk reports, wellness reports, trait reports, and carrier status reports. Cumulatively, this package comes with over 75 reports.

This genetic service is the only one available directly to consumers that comes with FDA approved reports. The process of getting DNA test results back takes about six to eight weeks. The company also posts those results online and ensures that privacy is a priority. Additionally, 23andMe gives clients the option to opt into submitting their genetic data to researchers.

Ancestry

This company is solely focused on the genealogical aspect of genetic testing. For $99 your DNA sample can estimate your origins to over 350 regions across the world—five more regions than other DNA tests. The results include information from potential family who has also taken the DNA test which is incredibly likely considering over 7 million people have taken the AncestryDNA test. Additionally, you get access the company’s website which contains over 20 billion historical records and millions of family trees. The DNA test results also take between six and eight weeks to be returned to the client via the company website. With Ancestry, you are also free to delete your DNA data from the site at any time. The process of getting the test to and from the client as well as the delivery of the results is the same.

MyHeritage

This service, like Ancestry and Living DNA, is focused on the genealogical aspect specifically. The $99 DNA test is focused on identifying your genetic origins while connecting you with relatives. This service boasts 95 million users, has 8.9 historical records for your own personal research, and 2.9 billion of its members have been added to a family tree. It offers the shortest wait time for results with only a three to four week wait, and also ensures that through encryption, your personal information is secured.