What are home DNA tests, and how do they work?

Last updated: 3 March 2021

DNA testing is no longer an exclusive domain of science fiction, diagnosing diseases or disrcovering parentage and origin. The rapid development in genetics has turned it into a tool to help people live better and healthier.

 

Being able to determine how well you tolerate stress, metabolise caffeine, or even if those daily poached eggs are good for your body, has seemed like something of out sci-fi movies. However, advancements in DNA testing have made finding it out not only possible but also completely safe. Getting your DNA analysed is now as simple as ordering a book online. Only this book will be written exclusively for you!

Although genetic testing can be used for a wide variety of purposes, from cracking old criminal cases to identify parentage, home DNA tests are mostly used to determine your predisposition for lifestyle traits. Those include nutrition, sports performance, skin health, heart health, sleep, stress, and even personal characteristics.

As health-conscious people grow more aware that the ultimate road to living their best life is already laid out in their own genome, learn more about home DNA tests and join them!

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The science behind genetic tests

To give you relevant knowledge, Lifestyle DNA tests analyse your genes to recognise specific changes (genetic variations). A genetic variation affects that gene's capability of producing proteins it codes for.

Scientific studies have linked different variations with different outcomes of traits, such as more or less effective metabolism of a specific nutrient, different response to stress, different susceptibility to obesity, dry skin, etc. Learn more about our DNA and genes here.

Keep reading to discover exactly what happens from the moment you order our Lifestyle DNA test to when you receive your results!

How it works: from sample to results

Let us walk you through the process!

  1. Choose an order

First, you select a Lifestyle DNA test you want and make a purchase on our website. In a few days, you will receive a DNA sample collection kit to your home address.

  1. Saliva-based sampling

Are you worried that DNA testing is painful and harmful? In reality, accessing the information in your DNA is simple, safe, and speedy. You can do it in your living room without any risk, blood, or needles!

Here's how it goes: after purchase, you receive a home sample collection kit. It can be used by anybody and requires no special handling or storage. The detailed instructions guide you through a simple process: you collect saliva into the sampling tube ... and that's it! Then you send it to the laboratory, and your work is done. No risk, no blood, no needles!

Piece of cake, right? The hardest part of the DNA test is actually waiting for your results.

  1. Whole genome sequencing (WGS)

When your sample arrives in our lab, we first isolate your DNA and then analyse it. For that, we employ whole genome sequencing (WGS) using next generation sequencing technology (NGS).

WGS means that we analyse your entire genome and not just selected parts of it (called a targeted approach and used by most home DNA test providers). The targeted approach analyses less than one per cent of the genome, while WGS maps your complete genetic blueprint.

In practice, it means that we can identify and take into account a much higher number of relevant genetic variants, making your recommendations as accurate and as personalised as possible.

As science progresses, it continually uncovers more information about human genetic code. Having the entire genome sequenced enables us to immediately offer you new insights as they emerge – without additional testing. Read about WGS in more detail here.

  1. Results and interpretation

WGS produces vast quantities of raw data, requiring capable algorithms to translate it into valuable information. Analysing your DNA with complex bioinformatics tools can reveal your genetic predispositions for a wide assortment of lifestyle traits.

Along with results and their interpretation, you get personalised recommendations – based on your result – for each analysis. With them, you're all set and ready to begin implementing positive changes, which will guide you to long-term wellbeing!

Your information is completely confidential

We take information security very seriously, handling your data and ensuring privacy with utmost care and dedication. We understand and respect your concerns regarding our use of your personal information. That is why we employ the strictest measures to ensure that your data remains safe.

All analyses are performed according to the highest professional standards, focusing on laboratory and data security standards. We adhere to both national and European legislation regarding the protection of your personal information.

All DNA samples are analysed in either our own laboratory in Ljubljana (Slovenia) or Zagreb (Croatia) or our partner laboratories in Ljubljana, Copenhagen (Denmark), or Hoddesdon (Great Britain). All of them operate under the strictest professional and laboratory standards. GenePlanet is ISO27001 certified, and cooperation with laboratories is managed according to the recommended privacy SOPs.

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Quality first

There are many home DNA tests on the market, but not all are worth their money. You have to be sure that their promises and results are backed with real science, certified methods and labs, and ironclad security. While there is no direct danger to you, choosing an unqualified DNA test provider means throwing your money out the windows and placing your valuable genetic information in wrong hands.

Our tests use custom panels developed by our R&D department, and state-of-the-art testing technology, ensuring high-grade results.

We pay special attention to the appropriate selection of markers. We test only the markers with scientifically proven impact and for which there are enough reliable evidence and quality scientific research.

The interpretation of raw data is performed using GenePlanet's proprietary software and in-house developed algorithms that calculate results from raw data.

GenePlanet's genetic tests are based on peer-reviewed studies published in the top scientific and medical journals, giving our products an indisputable seal of credibility.

Are home DNA tests reliable?

While your genes reveal genetic predispositions, the final outcome is not written in stone. You have to also consider the effects of the environment, including your own lifestyle and daily habits.

For example: while you might have a predisposition for obesity, it doesn't mean you will inevitably get overweight. Following the recommendations in your DNA test report, your doctor's instructions, and, of course, general guidelines for a healthy life, you can keep your weight and all other possible health problems in check. On the other hand, having favourable genetic predispositions for bodyweight does not mean you'll remain fit without any effort. Sedentary life, unhealthy food and stress can overpower any favourable predisposition written in your genes.

Knowledge is power, and knowledge encoded in our DNA gives us control over our lives. By knowing our predispositions for lifestyle traits, we can direct our lifestyle to long-term health and vitality.

 

Family planning Cancer risk Sports and recreation Skin and beauty Heart health Nutrition

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