DNA testing is used for a number of reasons and a variety of purposes. Paternity DNA testing is used to determine whether or not someone is a child’s father. DNA testing is used to look for genes related to specific illnesses or diseases and genetic testing is used to determine a person’s heritage or ancestry. Depending on the type of testing you are looking for, here are a few things that DNA testing can and cannot tell you:
1. Genetic ailments.
DNA testing can give an indication if you are at risk of getting a certain disease, or if your kids are at risk of developing a disease. Generally, a gene mutation or marker within your DNA provides information that medical experts can use to determine if you are pre-disposed to certain health issues so you can address them accordingly.
2. Ethnicity or origin.
DNA testing can provide clues about your ethnic background. The results provide an ancestral estimate based on data at a continental level but can also identify groups with smaller, genetically isolated backgrounds such as Native Americans. It can sometimes connect you to relatives you didn’t know were out there.
3. Relationship connections.
DNA testing can tell if two people are related or if people are descended from the same ancestor by providing probabilities of certain relationships. It can determine if a specific male is the father of a child or at what level two people are related, such as cousins.
While health DNA tests can give an indication of whether or not you carry a certain gene, or are pre-disposed to an illness or disease, it cannot tell if you will actually develop the specific disease. If your test indicates an area of concern, it should be followed up with the appropriate medical professionals for confirmation and further testing.
It cannot tell you how long you will live since this is impacted by a number of factors outside of your genetic makeup. Your lifestyle choices, overall health and fitness and the activities you take part in all impact your lifespan and have the capacity to affect the length of your life.
6. Exact geographical information.
DNA testing cannot tell you exactly where your ancestors lived or what race they identified with. It, instead, uses the data obtained from your DNA to determine which global regions your ancestors may have lived.
7. What your abilities are.
DNA tests can’t measure intelligence or success. It won’t tell you if your child will be a star athlete or academic genius and it can’t tell you what your abilities are.
Depending on what type of DNA testing you undergo, the information can vary significantly. In any case, if your DNA test identifies any potential medical or health related concerns, it’s always best to speak with your doctor to determine if, or what, follow up may be required.