An introduction to DNA testing and its cost
Humans are a complex species. We do everything that other mammals do such as eat, reproduce and try our best to survive. Thanks to genome mapping and DNA testing, we now know that we share much of our DNA with other mammals and even certain fruits.
You may have heard the common trope that we share 50% of our genetic code with bananas – although the similarities extend only to core cell functions. To anyone with eyes, it’s evident that human behavior is much more complex compared to other biological organisms.
We think, create and share. We build amazing structures and have complex social relationships. All of this is possible due to our DNA.
For those not well versed in science, DNA is what carries our genetics. Our genetics are what makes us who we are – everything from eye color to skin tone.
With DNA tests, we can look deeper to uncover hidden aspects of our biology which isn’t obvious on the surface.
But even as a species, each of us has different DNA from each other.
It’s obvious when you look around and see how diverse we are. We represent every skin tone, height, weight and even personality types.
If you haven’t given it much thought, you should consider the idea of DNA testing for you and your loved ones. DNA tests are accessible to everyone and have many useful purposes.
You may be aware that they are used in parental testing to identify if somebody is the biological parent of a child. It is also used in forensics to help identify victims and suspects in a criminal investigation. The former uses, however, probably aren’t the type of DNA testing that you would be interested in.
You can then address these genetic conditions by removing mutated DNA and introducing normal DNA that doesn’t have adverse effects. For instance, you may be predisposed to Parkinson’s disease, but by having your DNA tested and undergoing gene therapy, you can prevent or reduce the condition.
Alternatively, you may want to undergo DNA testing to find out about your ancestry. These tests will take you back in history and determine where your family came from, including your ethnicity.
Depending on the type of DNA tests you use, you can find out about your lineage from potentially hundreds of years ago.
How much do DNA tests cost in 2016?
If you want your DNA tested, you’re probably asking how much does a DNA test cost. The cost of this service depends on the service provider you use and which type of test you are after.
The prominent DNA testing site 23andMe offers a DNA testing kit for $199, including packaging. The price has gone up as the company has grown as they used to offer the kit for $99.
The service that 23andMe offers is a type of do it yourself DNA testing. You order your testing kit, provide a saliva sample so they can extract your DNA, then send the sample back to 23andMe. From then, you can access your reports about your DNA after the company has assessed it.
Their DNA test is comprehensive and will show you about aspects of your health such as conditions you are predisposed to, but also will inform you about your ancestry.
There are other companies out there that cater to specific demographics or differentiate themselves based on new technology. In general, expect the DNA test cost to range from $199 to $300 from reputable companies.
If you are interested in a paternity test to discover the biological parent of a child, the costs of these tests are lower than the ancestry and genetic tests and can range from $50 to $150.
Besides the potentially huge benefits you can get from getting your DNA tested, it is interesting to know what you are made of and where you came from.
Before you purchase a DNA test, make sure you do your research into the company and be prepared for any surprises in your genetic code.
Remember that even while you may have to pay through the nose to secure the most basic of these tests, it is always worth it in the long run.