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5 things you can discover from a DNA test

Your DNA is amazing. It exists in every single cell in our bodies and determines our genetic code, exactly the thing that makes us the individuals that we are. Within our DNA, we can find out everything from our hair colour and eye colour to certain hereditary diseases that we might encounter at some point in our lives. It can also help you uncover aspects of your past that you weren’t aware of, helping you to map out your family tree or discover a long lost family member you didn’t even know you had…

Your ancestry

A DNA test can help you to discover thousands of relatives so that you can map out your family tree. This is usually done by comparing your DNA results to thousands on record to establish a connection to branches of your family that you were previously unaware of. You can do this for both sides of your family – your mtDNA maps out maternal ancestry and your Y-DNA maps out your paternal ancestry — and this can be done to find distant relatives from anywhere in the world.

A long lost sibling

These days, the cost of DNA testing is a lot less than it used to be and a new science called genetic genealogy has developed. This allows you to establish whether or not there is a biological relationship between individuals. Usually, sibling tests are carried out to determine paternity in situations where the potential father may be deceased or otherwise unable or unwilling to participate in a paternity test. Two people who share both of their biological parents are full siblings and will share half (50%) of their genes. On the other hand, two people who share one biological parent are called half siblings and will share 25% of their genes. The problem with sibling DNA tests is that it is not always possible to obtain a conclusive result because the genetic markers and pattern of inheritance are not the same as it is with parent and child.

Who your birth parents are

Paternity testing is one of the most common types of DNA testing as it is a relatively simple process which proves who your biological father is. More often than not, this type of test is used to solve issues of child support and is generally accepted as proof in court. In cases where an individual does not know who their real birth mother is, a maternity DNA test can be carried out which involves the same process.

Underlying health issues

Advancements in science now allow us to determine whether a fetus has any chromosomal abnormalities which could cause a genetic disorder. This is done by taking a sample of blood from the mother and saliva from the father and is known as prenatal genetic testing. Similarly, DNA can allow scientists to assess a person’s genetic susceptibility so that they can identify the best way to treat or postpone diseases. It can also allow you to find out whether or not you have mutated cells in your body that could be passed down to future generations.

Whether or not you’re guilty of a crime

Through forensics, DNA profiling can identify whether or not an individual is innocent, or guilty, of a crime. This type of DNA testing was first developed in 1984 by Sir Alec Jeffreys and involves a sample being taken via a buccal swab or through blood, saliva or other bodily fluids to create the individual’s DNA profile using a number of different scientific techniques. Even though 99.9% of human DNA sequences are the same, experts can distinguish people via this analysis to provide evidence for law courts who will determine whether or not that individual is guilty of a crime.