The Basics of How a DNA Test Works

The Basics of How a DNA Test Works

The incredible wizardry of DNA sequencing allows scientific analysis of a person’s unique genetic code. Millions and millions of those genetic letters are bound to be distinctly different, even between parents and their children or a sibling from another sibling. All the while, this direct comparison of precise sequences reveals real-time results about how closely related two people are to one another.

That said, not every DNA test is equal in scope or scale. As this genetic science and its studies have grown widely popular for legal and personal purposes, more and more services have come about. Ancestry DNA testing providers can supply participants with sensitive health and lifestyle information, match individual DNA patterns to those of other testing participants to share family history, and identify regions of origin. Curious about the sequencing of genetic code and the fundamentals of testing? Here are the basics of how a DNA test works.

The Structure of DNA

DNA is an acronym standing for deoxyribonucleic acid. This scientific chemical name is for a specific molecule found in the nucleus of living cells. The DNA molecule is a carrier of unchangeable characteristic information, containing two strands of genetic instructions that aid an organism in living, functioning, and reproducing.

Essentially, the order and organization of this code represent characteristics obtained from a human’s biological parents—as a genetic fingerprint of each parent that is particular to a child. Siblings born of the same parents will share a fair amount of DNA codes. The genetic fingerprint dilutes as it goes down the family line. Cousins, aunts and uncles, and grandparents match certain DNA sequences to establish a maternal or fraternal lineage, depending on the analysis.

The Process of DNA Testing

The basics of how a DNA test works follow a multistep process. First, sample collection via bodily fluid or hair follicles occurs. The least invasive collection method is saliva through a swab inside the cheek of the mouth. The second is the breakdown of cell membranes through an enzyme solution. After the breakdown, the sorting of the molecule occurs to separate DNA. Then, technicians create copies of the DNA for testing. Testing through an analyzer finds genetic markers that identify relationships between people. Generally, test results report on a definite number of markers to confirm similarity. After these genetic markers are obtained, matching against another DNA sample is possible.

Turn to American Screening for home DNA testing. We carry a selection of medical lab supplies online, including our user-friendly and painless DNA collection kits. Kit features include a 24- to 72-hour turnaround and analysis from an accredited laboratory. Get in touch with us today to check on product availability or to learn more about testing specifications.


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