Want to learn more about DNA testing in Australia? Scroll on to get all the need-to-know info you're after.
The opportunity to learn more about your family's heritage has boomed in popularity recently. However, with more providers popping up and offering different services all the time, choosing the right one for you can be a tricky process.
From Y-chromosome (Y-DNA) and mitochondrial (mtDNA) to autosomal, DNA testing for your dog or cat and beyond, there are plenty to consider. In this guide, we'll compare a bunch of the most popular DNA test kit providers, take a closer look at the different types of DNA testing available and outline the key factors you need to review before you buy.
Scroll on to learn more.
Compare DNA Test Kits
What types of DNA testing are available?
Right now, there are 3 main types of DNA testing available:
- Autosomal. This is the most common type of DNA testing. It takes an in-depth look at specific fragments in your DNA that are determined to be identifiers in pinpointing ethnic ancestry. Autosomal DNA testing uses pairs of chromosomes to help you identify distant relatives, your ethnic composition or medical risks you may be more vulnerable to.
- Y-chromosome or Y-DNA. This DNA testing method specifically traces your paternal ancestry line.
- Mitochondrial or mtDNA. This method traces your maternal ancestry line.
Whether you want to identify potential relatives, understand your ethnicity better or learn about which diseases you may be at risk of inheriting, a DNA test can provide some much-needed insight.
How much does DNA test cost?
The price you'll pay for DNA testing in Australia differs depending on what you want to learn.
For a standard ancestry-based test, you can expect to pay anywhere between $89 and $150. Health and wellbeing DNA tests will cost from $160 up to $200. If you want a combination test that will help you trace your ancestry and highlight any genetic disorders you have potentially inherited, expect to pay from $200 to $260.
How does DNA testing work?
The tests work by analysing the provided DNA sample. Your DNA is extracted from the sample and then broken down into smaller fragments for individual analysis. Each of the fragments are then compared with DNA from reference populations across the globe.
When a close resemblance between your DNA and the DNA from a specific reference population is found, there is a high probability that your DNA has links to that population. And, as the popularity of DNA testing grows, so too will the reference pool for accurate comparison analysis.
Health and wellbeing tests work to identify specific genetic markers. These are markers commonly associated with health-related conditions such as hereditary cancers, degenerative diseases and many others.
Other providers offer a "traits''-based test. These types of tests cross compare your DNA with existing databases looking for strong similarities that indicate food preferences, intolerances and other physical features.
How accurate is DNA testing?
In general, the accuracy of DNA testing depends on the amount of data your chosen provider has accumulated. More data available for comparison means more accurate results.
The biggest providers around right now – including AncestryDNA, Living DNA and MyHeritage – all claim to have an overall accuracy of 99% or above. If you are searching for a provider you can trust, always check out customer reviews and ratings before committing to a purchase. These indicate how satisfied (or unsatisfied as the case may be) others have been with the service received.
How to do a DNA test
Instructions vary from one brand to the next. However, the majority of tests require either a saliva sample or an inner cheek swab.
Follow these steps to complete a saliva collection:
- Start by brushing your teeth. You could use mouthwash instead or as well.
- After this, refrain from eating, drinking, smoking or chewing gum for 30 minutes.
- Next, you need to set your saliva glands to work. To do this, rub your cheeks and press them against your teeth and gums.
- Then, simply spit in the tube provided and follow the manufacturer-issued instructions to finalise preparation of your sample.
Note: There is usually a line of the tube issued that indicates how much saliva is required. If you are unable to produce enough saliva in 1 try, pop your tube in the fridge in an upright position and try again later. Saliva can be refrigerated for a maximum period of a week.
To complete a cheek swab sample, follow the steps below:
- Start by rinsing your mouth with water.
- Next, remove one of the cheek swabs from its packaging and use the swab head to scrape the inside of one of your cheeks. Do this by rotating the swab for 30–60 seconds.
- Open one of the vials and pop the swab inside, swab-end down. Once it touches the bottom of the vial, break the swab against the inside edge of the vial.
- With the second swab, repeat these steps on the inside of your other cheek.
- Make sure that the vial lids are replaced securely.
Note: Precise processes will vary. Always read the manufacturer-issued instructions carefully prior to completing your DNA sample collection.
When was DNA testing invented?
The technique of DNA fingerprinting was initially developed in 1984. Prior to this, DNA analysis was limited to blood testing and serological testing.
Who invented DNA testing?
Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing was invented by Kary Mullis in the United Kingdom.
Alec Jeffreys is the one who made DNA testing available to the public. His initial DNA fingerprinting technique was developed in his laboratory at the University of Leicester, UK.
What about DNA testing for pets?
Knowing the true heritage of your 4-legged friend can help you better understand their needs. With that in mind, DNA testing providers have branched out to help you learn more about your feline or canine companion's breed, health risk factors and general temperament.
Want to learn more about DNA testing for your pet? Check out our guides and follow the links below:
What to think about before investing in a DNA testing kit
DNA testing isn't cheap. So, it pays to do your due diligence in advance.Here are a few things to consider before you dash off to start uncovering the secrets of your family heritage.
- Consider what you want to know. It seems a simple concept, but with different types of DNA testing at your disposal, it's vital to pinpoint which option is right for you. And, this decision should be the first on your list. It will help to weed out any providers that don't offer the services you need.
- Compare pricing. There are plenty of DNA testing providers around and many of them offer similar services. Once you've decided which test to pursue, shop around to secure the best price.
- Compare accuracy. DNA testing providers openly advertise the accuracy of their results online. To get accurate results, compare several tests on their accuracy side by side.
- Read customer reviews. Customer reviews are a great way to get an impression of how others found the experience. Avoid any providers with a slew of negative reviews and embrace those with glowing customer reviews instead.
- Grab a discount code. At Finder, we specialise in tracking down the best deals and discounts. Want to pick up a discounted DNA testing kit? Check out our list of partnering retailers. We also only partner with trusted brands.
- Can you wait for a sale? Typically, the best deals drop during huge sale events such as Black Friday and Boxing Day. If you can hold off buying a DNA test kit until a sale event, you have the potential to save.
Want to save on DNA testing? Check out one of our deals:
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