Learning to Understand Consumer DNA Kits

a lab technician performing DNA analysis

Just a few years ago, the majority of genetic testing was done through healthcare providers such as physicians, genetic counselors, and specialists Healthcare providers would determine the genetic tests that a person needed and then order them from a lab. These labs would often collect samples on the spot, interpret results, and the results would then be discussed by the healthcare provider with the patient.

However, with the rise of direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing, people can get direct access to genetic information without involving any health insurance companies or healthcare professionals in the process. So, how does this work? Let’s take a look.

How does DTC genetic testing work?

DTC (Direct to Consumer) genetic testing is marketed directly to consumers via the internet, print advertisements, and television. These test kits can be bought by customers without prescriptions in stores and online.

A c consumer sendsthe testing company a sample of DNA usually in the form of spit in a vial or a cheek swab. The DTC genetic testing company then sends the results to the person via their website.

Popular DTC genetic testing companies

The number of DTC genetic testing service providers has grown over the last few years. At the same time, the scope of traits and health conditions covered by these tests has also increased. The four major consumer DNA testing companies and their key selling points are:

a vector image of a DNA sequence and a human body

Validity of DTC genetic testing results

Most popular DTC tests make predictions about ethnicity and health using reference genetic markers. This means that when the company has a larger database, it’s able to provide more accurate DNA information about the person. This is one of the reasons why AncestryDNA continues to be one of the best choices .

Additionally, since every company uses different reference markers, results for the same individual will vary slightly for each company. That’s why people get test results from different companies and even combine results with traditional genealogy services for more comprehensive results.


Use DNA test results to find your biological family with DavisDNA & Family Research.

The best part about these DNA testing services is that you can download information and use it to find matches on other databases with the help of a DNA detective. DavisDNA & Family Research offers genetic genealogy services to help clients find lost family members, build family trees, learn more about their heritage, or join a hereditary society like DAR.

Contact us online or call 727-280-6274 for more information.