DNA testing helps you to trace your family ancestry or lineage so that you can connect with other people. There are different types of tests that you can choose from such as ancestry, genealogy as well as health-related issues.
Genetic genealogy involves DNA testing with a combination of traditional genealogical and historical records in the DNA test. Documentary evidence helps to establish relationships between individuals. Since 2000, genetic genealogy is available on a commercial basis, and different companies offer paid services in DNA testing.
DNA testing helps you to establish your matrilineal or patrilineal line beyond the oral evidence passed through generations or traditional paper trail. It is may be possible to make inferences about the origins of your ancestors using results from DNA testing. The other aspect is that DNA testing plays a pivotal role in various academic and genealogy projects.
The numbers of people paying for consumer genomics tests around the world are continually increasing. More than five million people around the world have paid for consumer genomics tests. The majority of the participants applied for genealogical tests, and their details are in the databases of the companies that offer DNA testing services.
If you are undertaking a genealogy project, it is significant that you choose the right test. However, there are various factors that you can consider when you select a company to perform your DNA test.
Choosing A DNA Testing Company
There are many points to consider when adopting a DNA testing company which offers direct to consumer kits. If you order a DNA testing kit, the company sends it directly to you for a saliva sample. It is important to note that you can get a free Y-DNA test depending on your last name or some form of sponsorship toward the testing costs.
There are many things that you should consider when you decide to buy a DNA test. Some companies offer a combination of different criteria, and their products are more comprehensive compared to other firms. The following factors can help you choose the right company that can offer appropriate tests that satisfy your goals.
Size Of The Company’s Database
The reliability of the DNA test results usually depends on the size of the company’s database. When you apply for a DNA test, your the company stores your details in its database for future use. Genealogy test results depend on the matches within the company’s database.
Genetic genealogy depends on finding matches with your genes from the details in the database of the company. Therefore, the bigger size of the company’s database is advantageous in that there are high chances of finding matches. It is also easy to look for similarities from a big database. It is essential for you to consider the size of the database to increase the chances of getting more matches.
Identify The Countries Which The Company Can Sell To
When you are living in a different country from the USA, you need to establish if the company markets its products in your state. Currently, Americans constitute the most significant customer base in the sector of genetic genealogy. Most of the big DNA testing companies are in the US.
Other countries have restrictions that can make it a challenge for you to order a DNA testing kit. The other issue you should consider depends on the shipping costs involved in ordering the kit. Apart from these factors, it is possible to order your test kit from different countries across the world.
Consider Company’s Long-Term Sustainability?
Some companies that offer DNA testing have been in business for some time now, and they have a good reputation among their clients. If you want to get reliable results, it may be a good idea for you to create the company’s experience in offering the services. It is also not wrong to choose a new company on the market as long as it provides satisfactory products and services.
The nature of the company’s funding and profitability are also crucial since they determine its long-term sustainability. You also need to know if the company has a long-term strategy in their business. The succession plans of technical and research employees are also necessary since they help to determine continuity in the company’s services.
Other Products You Can Get From The Company
There are different types of DNA tests offered by the companies that specialize in this particular field. Some companies provide a combination of DNA tests while others specialize in one area. For example, some companies offer health services along with ancestry DNA testing.
You must try to establish the actual products the company offers and differentiate them from promises. The other thing which you should check relates to the possibility of the company upgrading in future. It is crucial for the organization to keep pace with the changes taking place in the environments in which they operate.
Apart from tracing your ancestry lineage, DNA testing can also help to solve other health-related issues. Some conditions like different types of cancers are hereditary. Therefore, DNA tests can help the doctors to address the problems that may be hereditary.
Source: Colleen V
Does The Company Offer Customer Support?
When you decide to buy a DNA testing kit, you need to know the nature of people you are dealing with on the support side. The company should have a help desk responsible for addressing all the customer questions. You also need to understand if it is possible to contact the company by telephone or email.
The response time to the customers’ inquiries is also vital since some companies take ages to respond to the clients. It is better to work with an organization that is considerate to the needs of the customers. You should also check if the support team is friendly so that you get quality services.
Quality customer service is excellent since it helps you to understand various issue involved in DNA testing. Some people usually lack in-depth knowledge about different types of DNA tests hence the need for dedicated customer support. The customer support members will provide comprehensive DNA details to clients who want to undertake DNA tests.
In any case, the company should consult you should it require using your data for research purposes. Participants will usually get payment for playing a role in research projects. You may want to investigate what will happen to the information in the database should the company close.
When the company wants to use information from its database for research purposes, it should seek consent from the individuals involved. Genealogy projects require data from different people to study various health issues. As such, you should permit the company to use your data for research purposes.
Apart from giving consent for the use of your data, you also get paid from the researchers. All the major DNA testing companies have privacy policies that guide their operations. You should get details about the privacy policies before ordering a DNA test.
Company’s Scientific Credentials
The reliability and validity of the DNA test results usually depend on the quality of scientists the company has. Reputable companies that offer DNA tests employ highly skilled and qualified scientists who oversee the process of product development. The scientists also perform an interpretation of data.
All the samples go to certified laboratories with a good track record in analyzing and interpreting raw data. The other vital thing is to establish if the company has a scientific advisory board. This board helps in providing support for product development and interpretation of data. You should also try to verify if the company has any affiliations with scientific organizations.
The reputation of the company’s laboratories can also go a long way in determining the credibility of the DNA test results. DNA tests involve a lot of elements that should be covered to widen the net for interpretation of results.
What Are The Storage Facilities
It is critical to know if the company offers storage facilities. Whenever a new test is available, you may need to submit a new sample, and this can be bothersome. Learning what the storage facilities or options are is an essential step in your research.
Storage can also be useful for upgrading the tests for other deceased relatives. You must also check if the company allows you to choose a beneficiary for your DNA account. Such a move will help your mind to remain up-to-date in case of new tests. When a new test comes, it becomes easier to use the sample already existing than provide a new one.
Do You Have Access To Your Raw Data?
You may wish to use different third-party tools, but it is essential to have access to your raw data. There are advantages to having access to the raw data since it helps the citizen scientists to explain it. Interpretation of data mainly depends on the type of test hence new tests can differ from the available results.
The citizen scientists can also help use the raw data to verify against the interpretation that is provided by the company. The use of raw data also helps to improve the reliability of the results of the tests since they are real. DNA test involves the examination of various elements hence the actual sample can promote the safety of the results.
What Are The Company’s Project Administration Facilities?
When you want to undertake DNA testing, it is crucial that you have access to other results so that you can make comparisons. However, this is good when you are operating within the confines of the project. You should make sure that the support you get from the company does not violate the rights of the other people.
You should also establish if the company supports project management as well as the facilities it provides for such an undertaking. The success of your project mainly depends on the level of cooperation that exists between you and the employees within the company.
What are the Shipping Costs?
When you buy a DNA test from an overseas company, you should consider the aspect of shipping. The postage adds considerably to the total amount that you will pay for the whole test. Various companies use different courier services, and you must research the type of shipping the organization offers to the customers.
Direct shipping of DNA kits to the clients is not available for some countries, or it is costly. When you find yourself in this situation, you can try to get a friend in the US who can send the kit to you. Alternatively, you can use different package forwarding companies in the US that can deliver products to the rest of the world.
In the US, you can choose the services of any one of the following package forwarder: shipito.com, myus.com, usabox.com bongous.com, and usa2me.com genealogists. The offers for using these services include favorable rates. They use reliable shipping companies like DHL, FedEx as well as Airmail among others.
You should also complete a customs release form since this is the standard requirement in many countries. You can obtain the way from the local post office, and you should label it “genealogy sample.”
It is vital that you know the import restrictions in your particular country when you order a DNA test kit. You should state that the sample inside is non-medical and is specifically for genealogy. The major companies that conduct DNA tests namely DNA Ancestry, 23andMe as well as Family Tree ship to most countries in the world.
Other countries have particular handling issues, and these have a bearing on the total amount you pay for shipping. Other factors like destination also determine the total cost of shipment of the test kit. To return the test tube, you mail it to the company. The shipping costs usually cover the return of the test kit.