With the genetic mapping provided by this type of test, it is possible to better understand traits of one’s health, foresee possible diseases of genetic origin, and even find lost relatives. Understand how the test works and what can be identified by performing it.
What is ancestry?
Ancestry is the genetic lineage to which a given individual belongs. For example, if a person has genes common to Europeans and Africans, it is with the genetic mapping provided by the DNA test that it will be possible to discover where his or her ancestors came from.
So, with an ancestry test, it is possible to find out the percentage of each region that makes up a person’s DNA. As an example, the result may indicate that the person presents 52% of genes compatible with a certain European population (Italian, French, Portuguese…), 32% American, and 16% African.
What is DNA?
DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) is the molecule that is inside almost every cell in our body and contains all the genetic information about each of us. Such information defines and regulates how we are and how we function. Everyone gets half of their DNA from their mother and the other half from their father, so across the generations, each of us carries on information about who came before us.
How the Ancestry Test Works
To understand the ancestry dna test, you need to look at the science behind it. The technique used to discover someone’s origins consists of analyzing a saliva sample that has been collected – in it are cells that contain their genetic information. DNA is extracted from this sample through a series of processes – which include exposing it to chemicals and even spinning it at over 10,000 revolutions per minute (RPM).
The DNA is then copied up to a thousand times using a process called PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction), which uses free DNA bases and the enzyme DNA polymerase. In heating and cooling cycles, the DNA double helix molecules are split in two, so that the free bases can bind according to their complementary pairing (adenine to thymine and cytosine to guanine). This results in individual strands of DNA molecules identical to the original.
The laboratory then adds the DNA sample to a chip, which specifically examines the individual’s autosomal DNA – 22 of the 23 pairs of chromosomes (minus those that determine biological sex) – as opposed to the entire strand. Thus it is possible to locate variants in the gene sequence, called single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), which are responsible for characteristics in a given population, such as skin color and hair texture.
Finally, the chip goes through a hybridization process, which links the manufactured DNA to the original DNA – making it possible to identify the inherited SNPs and their location in the genome. The process is approximately 99.9 percent accurate. The laboratory also compares the test participant’s genes with those of other users.
What the ancestry test detects
In addition to a person’s overall ancestry and specific lineage, ancestry testing can map genes and indicate genetic predispositions to diseases such as diabetes, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s; check which medications work best for someone; and even indicate their tolerance to lactose, caffeine, and gluten. The search for relatives that is also possible through the ancestry test, however, is restricted to the database of the laboratory where the analysis is carried out.
If you are interested, check out the genetic tests offered by Ancestrum by clicking here.