Online DNA testing used to be a luxury option and gift idea for the nerdy. Today, the growing accessibility of tests, prevalence of services and affordability of options means this is no longer true.
Anyone with the money and the desire to learn can contact the appropriate provider for a kit, send off a sample and get their results.
The problem is that these websites and results pages aren’t always able to meet user needs. Some find it hard to understand the data.
Some struggle to locate other users and make use of the results. Others need more detailed information than the site provides. This is where online apps and tools for DNA test can help.
DNA test apps and tool to understand results a little better.
The world of 23andMe and other genetic testing sites can be overwhelming at first for those new to the science. There is so much to take in about the genetic sequence and its implications.
For some users, this confusion gets worse through the navigation of the site or the presentation of data. Some plug-ins and tools work with browsers to bring a little clarity and ease of use.
This site offers an unaffiliated plug-in for Google Chrome that improves the experience of using the 23andMe website. It doesn’t work in Internet Explorer or Firefox, but users here can search for alternative options.
It provides a new toolbar for messages, navigation profile links, and the login page. It also works to improve the relative finder through auto-matching surnames, additional country flags, color coding and age calculation.
This is another option that works with 23andMe, which highlights the popularity of this site over others. There is also compatibility with Family Tree DNA customers, who are sometimes overlooked.
The tool takes the downloaded data and presents it in a new form of a spreadsheet that is much easier to read. It highlights shared segments and other data, added a new perspective on the data.
DNA test apps and tools to help users connect with other people.
Greater access to data and clearer results is a great start, but there are other tools out there. Obtaining these results is just the beginning of a larger for many. This is the case for those that want to know where they came from.
Once users of these testing services get results and learn more about their ancestry, they also want to find relatives. These websites have databases full of people with shared DNA traits and ancestral lines. There are relatives and connections to locate, but it can be tricky to find them. That is where the following apps can help.
529andYou – (http://goo.gl/FQSiwW):
Some online tools make better use of the Relative Finder system in 23andMe, as we saw above. This system is essential for those looking to find new people but can be hard to use for newcomers. This Google Chrome plug-in focuses on these DNA segments to compare generations.
Then there is GEDmatch, which does something similar but works with different sites. This website doesn’t focus on 23andMe’s Relative Finder. It also works independently with data from AncestryDNA, and Family Tree DNA as well. The results provide a new form of user comparison that looks at admixture analyses, DNA phases and more.
DNA test apps and tools to help users learn more about themselves.
One of the main reasons that we turn to DNA testing sites like 23andMe is the range of information on offer. Many want to learn more about certain aspects of their genetics and how those sequences impact upon their lives.
Many will want to know more about the health implications of the results, such as disease risks. There are specialist companies that offer specific testing on fitness, health problems and other indicators. However, there are also some free apps and online tools that can help here too.
Genetic Genie (http://geneticgenie.org/):
The Genetic Genie site takes data from DNA tests and looks specifically as particular health issues.
One of the most interesting tools within site is the detox profile. This option highlights SNPs and Cytochrome P450 detox enzymes.
Here users can better understand their ability to detox from different drugs, hormones, and toxins.
This tool from the University of Albany does something similar but is more focused on detoxification than Genetic Genie. Here they just look at the human N-acetyltransferase-2 (NAT2) enzymatic phenotype from the NAT2 genotype.
Greater understanding of this phenotype within the sequences offers clues on the body’s ability to deal with toxic and other issues. Key considerations here are the impact on detoxification of certain arylamine and hydrazine drugs as well as carcinogens.
Finally, there are all those that take a DNA test with the aim of learning about fitness and well-being. Certain indicators within the genetic sequence offer guidance on metabolism issues and weight gain.
This site takes data from 23andMe and Family Tree DNA to go on to provide personalized help. This means users can receive ideas on training plans and exercises that may help break through barriers.
Further help is available at no extra cost.
The apps chosen on this list are here because of two important factors: they are helpful, and they are free. Cost is a concern with DNA testing.
While testing kits and online services have reduced in price, they are not cheap. Those that have paid out hundreds of dollars for results don’t want to pay on top of that for clearer data. These programs show that there are free options out there for those that need them.
There are drawbacks attached, as these DNA test apps and tools may become obsolete and require regular updates. But, they are a nice add-on for those in need of further assistance.
Those looking for something a little slicker and mobile friendly can pay out for Apple or Android options, but this isn’t a necessity