Curious about the process of autosomal DNA testing? Here’s a detailed step-by-step guide on everything you need to know about DNA ethnicity testing.
There’s a growing number of us interested in DNA testing all over the world. That said, with so many different DNA tests and companies to choose from, understanding the nitty-gritty details can sometimes be intimidating. While there might be many different factors to consider before choosing your DNA test, let’s dive into the most preferred DNA test - the autosomal DNA test.
Through the autosomal DNA test, all 22 pairs of autosomes will be analysed and can determine your close relatives, your generations of ancestry and even your ethnicity.
Autosomal DNA Testing Process
Step 1: Get a DNA Test Kit
Well, you can’t start testing your DNA without a test kit.
Here are our recommendations on the available DNA test kits in the market:
Step 2: Take your DNA Sample
After you have purchased your DNA test kit, take a look at the given instructions provided in the kit and follow them closely and carefully. (Pro-tip: Remember not to smoke, drink coffee and/or tea before the test!)
There are two main ways to collect your DNA sample:
First, a buccal swab. A buccal swab, also known as a cheek swab, requires you to gently rub your inner cheeks with the swab that comes with the kit. After swabbing your cheek, the DNA sample will be collected on the swab. Be careful not to contaminate the swab after you have done the test, and place it straight into the tube that they provided you. Majority of test kits follow this method of collection.
Second, to spit into a vial. If your test kit requires you to do so, it would be optimal to brush your teeth and give your mouth a good wash before taking your saliva sample. This helps to get rid of all the bacteria and plague that could affect the collected sample. And, it would be nice to not have leftover food collected too! After which, waiting 30 minutes after is preferred before collecting your saliva sample.
Helpful Tip: If you find it hard to produce saliva, try giving your cheeks a little rub against your teeth! It stimulates your salivary glands.
Step 3: Mail the Sample
After collecting your sample, secure it well and send it back to the company for your sample to be analysed. Before mailing it back, remember to check for any forms that you might have to fill. Depending on the company that you have purchased the test kit from and the type of DNA test that you have decided to take, there might be additional information that is required from you before analysing your sample.
Step 4: Testing Begins!
Once your sample is sent to the laboratory facility, the scientists will analyse your autosomal chromosomes and sequence your DNA. To do so, your DNA will be isolated and extracted from the sample that you provided. The analysis will include examining your DNA once it has been decoded, and place it in comparison to other test results in their database to determine your genetic markers. The higher the similarity between these genetic markers, the closer the two DNA providers are. This helps to trace back several generations to determine your close relatives and your ethnicity.
As this is the most complicated and complex step in the entire process, it takes approximately 5 to 6 weeks for the test results to be finalised.
Step 5: Results
After the DNA test results have been fully analysed, the company will usually upload the entire report online onto a secure portal. The extent of the test results depends, again, on the company you purchased the test kit from and the type of DNA test kit that you have taken.
After your results have been uploaded, you are free to make full use of the provided data and information in any way that you wish. The company will provide you with full rights to take that information, since you have already paid for the test.
That being said, doing a DNA test is not something too difficult or intimidating, am I right?
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