What you need to know about DNA testing
DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid in full, is the scientific name for the molecules found in almost every cell in the human body that carry genetic information. DNA is hereditary – meaning it’s passed down from your parents – and provides the instructions that inform how your body develops and maintains itself.
As it’s the fundamental part of what makes us, us, DNA can be tested to reveal all sorts of information. This process is called DNA testing, and it has become commercially popular in recent years as a way of getting an insight into ancestral background. However, DNA testing also has much more serious uses.
One of these is to prove beyond any shadow of a doubt a familial relationship – such as that between a parent and child or two siblings. This type of DNA test is commonly used in legal proceedings, including disputes over parenthood of a child, but it’s also available for anyone who wants it for any other purpose.
Another common usage is to identify genetic conditions, which are themselves hereditary and therefore present in DNA molecules. Genetic diseases that can be detected through DNA testing include bipolar disorder, Parkinson’s disease, and even some forms of cancer.
When you go for a DNA test, a sample will be taken from your blood, hair, skin, or other tissue and send off to a laboratory where technicians will analyse it closely. Depending on the purpose of the test, results can take up to a few weeks to be returned, and you’ll sometimes be expected to return to the testing centre for a follow-up consultation.
If you’re looking for a DNA testing service near you, whether it’s for a paternity test, genetic condition screening, or something else entirely, find a service with My Health Assistant.