How to Choose a DNA Test for Diseases
By Dr. Brandon Colby MD, a genetic testing and personalized medicine expert.
This is the last article in Sequencing.com's Education Center - Genetic Testing for Diseases. This section covered what genetic testing is and how it helps prevent diseases by identifying risks. It also contained information on what is a genetic disease, what diseases can be detected through genetic testing, carrier screening (prenatal genetic screening), and genetic testing during pregnancy. In this article, you will learn how to choose the best DNA test for diseases.
Genetic Testing Identifies Risks for Diseases
You're interested in knowing if you're predisposed to any diseases. DNA testing is an effective way to do this, but with so many available online these days, you may be lost in which one you should choose. The good news is that you're on the right path when it comes to choosing a DNA test for diseases because not all of them will give you the results you're expecting.
How to Choose a DNA Test for Diseases
Genetic testing is an effective way to identify gene mutations that could lead to a genetic disease. While family history is a good indicator of risk, it's not as trustworthy as a test of your DNA.
The body is made up of cells and those cells contain DNA. DNA is made up of chemicals:
A, T, C, and G combine to create genes and those genes create DNA strands. They are about six feet long and there are billions of them in the body. A DNA sample is how lab techs extract those DNA strands to have them analyze.
There are a few different types of DNA tests on the market today. There are basic ones that provide just surface information. For instance, 23andMe, MyHeritage, and AncestryDNA only test for ancestry information. They know what data to pull out of DNA to identify ancestry. Along with that data, there's health information that can be seen. Predisposition to some diseases and health concerns may be included. It's not a lot of health information or detail, but many people find it to be interesting.
To put the different types of DNA tests into perspective, consider this:
Sites such as 23andMe and AncestryDNA test less than .01% of the genome. Sequecing.com's basic DNA test - the Ultimate DNA Test - tests 1% of the genome. That gives users 50x more data. This means learning about the risk of 500+ health conditions vs. 5+ with 23andMe and other DNA testing companies.
For the best DNA test for diseases, clinical-grade whole-genome sequencing is available. This DNA test looks at 100% of the human genome and provides test results about the risk of 5,000+ diseases.
How to Know Which DNA Test for Diseases Is Right for You
Choosing a DNA test for diseases depends on how much you want to know. If you want basic genetic information then you can choose a site like FamilyTreeDNA. However, if you want more comprehensive information on disease risk, choose a DNA test that geneticists use - like the clinical-grade whole-genome sequencing one.
Read about our DNA test for diseases. After receiving our DNA testing kit, swab your cheek and send in your DNA sample. We will upload the raw data to our secure and confidential database so you can use it with any of our analysis apps including our Rare Diseases Analysis app to identify genetic risk for over 1200 diseases.
Special Information for Those Trying to Conceive (TTC) or Expectant Parents
Genetic testing for diseases is available for people who are trying to conceive (TTC) or those who are pregnant. Genetic testing is 100% safe and effective. You can learn more about carrier screening or prenatal genetic screening if you're not yet expecting, or read Genetic Testing During Pregnancy if you're pregnant.
About The Author
Dr. Brandon Colby MD is a US physician specializing in the personalized prevention of disease through the use of genomic technologies. He's an expert in genetic testing, genetic analysis, and precision medicine. Dr. Colby is also the Founder of Sequencing.com and the author of Outsmart Your Genes.
Dr. Colby holds an MD from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, an MBA from Stanford University's Graduate School of Business, and a degree in Genetics with Honors from the University of Michigan. He is an Affiliate Specialist of the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics (ACMG), an Associate of the American College of Preventive Medicine (ACPM), and a member of the National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC).
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