reasons for a dna test

Top Reasons to Get a DNA Test

On the fence about getting an ancestry or health DNA test? Here are five reasons to go for it.

1. It Will Tell You Plenty About your Ancestry and Ethnicity

How much do you know about your ancestors beyond the family stories you’ve heard and the family pictures you’ve seen?

The chances are that your knowledge goes only 2-3 generations back. Beyond that, it’s either a black hole or fuzzy details you can’t make head or tail of.

An ancestry DNA test can go further back, tracing your maternal or paternal lineage hundreds of years into the past.

An ancestry test is also great for finding out more about your ethnicity.

It breaks down your ancestry into different ethnicities, helping you track down your origins. If you’d love to know whether you have any Scottish, African or Native American roots, a DNA test is excellent.

It won’t provide all the answers, but it’s a start.

2. It Can Help You Find Unknown Family Members

reasons for DNA tests

Wondering if you have a second or third cousin you don’t know about or maybe even a half sibling?

A DNA test is excellent for finding unknown family members. I recommend going with the primary services like AncestryDNA, Family Tree DNA and 23andMe because they have the largest databases.

An extensive database increases your chances of finding more family members.

For people who are purposely looking for a family member such as a parent or a child, DNA testing is one of the most powerful tools.

Note: If you are not intentionally looking for a close family member, be prepared for surprises anyway. Some discoveries can seriously affect your family. 

3. You May Be Predisposed to a Particular Disease

Here I’m talking about a health DNA test such as the 23andMe offers.

The test looks at your DNA to find mutations known to increase the risk of certain diseases like breast cancer and celiac disease.

However, be careful when getting a health DNA test.

If it’s positive for a particular disease, do not pain and do not act on the report. Go to your doctor or a genetic counselor for the best advice.

In most cases, you’ll be advised to take a comprehensive genetic screening to confirm the results.

In addition to telling you whether you are at risk of a health condition, a health DNA test can also tell you whether you are a carrier for certain diseases.

This is important for parents planning to have children.

4. It Explains Some Of Your Traits

Ancestry DNA test

Ever wondered why you are a redhead or why you are immune to coffee-caused insomnia? Looking for an explanation for your late night tendencies?

A health DNA test can help.

23andMe currently offers more than 25 trait reports including bitter taste, cheek dimples, eye color, hair texture and thickness, motion sickness, and wake-up time.

Ancestry DNA also recently introduced trait reports with explanations for finger length, aversion to cilantro, cleft chin, and other personal traits.

If you test with Ancestry DNA, you can compare your traits to those of family members you’ve matched with on the platform. You can see which traits run in the family.

5. It’s Fun

Being able to get a DNA test for just $100 is impressive in itself. A decade ago, DNA tests cost thousands of dollars.

One reason to get a DNA test is just that you can. It’s an opportunity of a lifetime to learn more about your roots, your family, and yourself.

It’s also a lot of fun. In fact, most people get DNA tests out of pure curiosity.

They want to see if they have any unknown cousins or if they have any French roots.

The traits feature is also lots of fun. It doesn’t exactly tell you anything life-changing, but it’s nice to finally know why you are an early bird or why you can’t stand the smell of cilantro.

DNA is a complex thing that even scientists don’t quite fully understand. A few years ago, it was something only researchers dealt with even though it is extremely personal to everyone.

The rise of affordable consumer DNA has given everyone the chance to embark on a personal journey full of discoveries, plenty of insights, and some fun surprises.

About the Author Charles McKnight

I'm just another amateur genealogist investigating my American-Scots-Irish lineage. I built after buying all of the leading DNA tests to discover everything I could about my family history. Hopefully, this site will save you time and demystify the emerging science of DNA-based genealogy, for your family project.

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