DNA tests are a popular resource for people wanting to understand their ancestry and disease probability. But how accurate are these tests?

SeekerPublished: July 10, 2018Updated: July 11, 2018
Published: July 10, 2018Updated: July 11, 2018

Thanks to the modern miracles that are science and the post office it's possible to get just about anything in the mail now, from uncooked meals to DNA tests to a wig for your dog. And while I could talk about dogs in wigs all day, this episode is actually about those DNA kits. Just how accurate are they, and how much stock should you put in the results?

Private companies have offered these DNA tests for over a decade, but recently they've gone mainstream. We even had an episode where Trace and Amy tried them out. The concept is pretty simple, you just spit in a tube and send it off to a stranger, except this time they actually want your spit.

The company's lab extracts your DNA from the cells in your spit and compares it to DNA in their database. A couple of months later, you get a breakdown of information about your ancestry, how at risk you may be for some disease, and a bunch of other stuff. Such and such percentage from Africa and a high risk for maple syrup urine disease and so on. It sounds cut and dry but there are a ton of asterisks along the way.

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