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Are DIY Genetic Testing Kits Safe?

What Are DIY Genetic Testing Kits? Do They Come With Risks? 

With the extended periods of imposed self-isolation we all are going through right now, thanks to the on-going COVID-19 global pandemic and health crisis, many people have found much free time on their hands of which they used to try out things they did not have a chance to before. 

Some reconnected with their old habits, and some decided to try out new things. 

This has led to the popularity of many Internet trends, such as starting one’s own sourdough to make artisan bread to trying out taking care of houseplants. 

However, dubious gimmicks and potentially harmful fads started to gain attention in mainstream media.

Though they may be debatable up to this very moment, it is still in everybody’s best interest to remain vigilant and practice the highest levels of caution to these new emerging trends. 

One of them is the DIY genetic testing kit popularized by social media influencers around the world. 

A Wonderful Piece Of Science Packed In A Tiny Package

DIY or Do-It-Yourself genetic testing kits are kits that come with different components aimed to simulate what a full-blown laboratory is capable of doing. 

These testing kits promise to provide you with an accurate analysis of your genes. Genes are responsible for who you are, and there is even a whole branch of science specializing in genes.

The way you look, the way you talk, the way you eat, and so much more – a person’s genes are responsible for all of that. 

The appeal of being able to know a whole lot more about oneself has made DIY genetic testing kits a very popular time-killing activity.

According to reports, about one out of five Americans have taken a DIY genetic testing kit. 

But how does it work? Companies such as 23andMe and Ancestry provide ready to use genetic testing kits that anyone could easily avail of. Once received, a person is expected to provide a DNA sample.

Usually, some saliva, to send back over to the kit provider. Results will then be sent back after a few weeks. 

Promising to provide an array of details such as a person’s Ancestry and origin, medical dossier, appropriate diet, etc.

Many people have found this new trend fascinating.

However, experts have cautioned that these DIY genetic testing kits come with certain risks that a person should know about before using one. 

Risks To One’s Personal Information To Providing Inaccurate Results

The foremost issue raised by experts is the concern for personal information.

It is worth noting that when a person sends over their used DIY genetic test kits back to their maker, they are essentially handing over valuable information of which they may be totally oblivious of how these companies may handle and use them. 

Letting companies have access to such sensitive biological information would potentially compromise an individual’s overall safety. 

Though many companies have reiterated that they take utmost care of all the data they have gathered, analysts encourage people to remain extra vigilant at all times. 

Unlike the usual personal information customers usually hand over to businesses, such as emails, names, etc., you are handing over data that will make it easy for people to target you by your biological makeup. 

You can change your email to a new one, but you cannot change anything about who you are; thus, practicing the highest levels of precaution is expected. 

Another possible red flag experts have agreed upon is that DIY genetic testing kits do not provide the whole picture when they provide results. 

Promises such as pinpointing one’s country of origin and ethnicity to detailing an individual’s medical trajectory require more data sets and more comprehensive tests in order to come up with fully tailored reports. 

An individual’s Ancestry is mapped into a series of past generations, and a simple test would not be able to properly document it. 

The same goes with claims of medical advice or dietary plans an individual should take. 

Medical professionals stress that a more personal and targeted test would be able to provide far more accurate results compared to mass-produced tests being provided by these genetic testing kit providers. 

At the end of the day, seasoned observers agree that DIY genetic testing kits may be useful in some instances.

Yet, they reiterated that one should never use a test result for medication or to achieve wellness.

It is best to consult your preferred health professional who has the proper authority and experience to help you achieve your health goals. 

Editor’s Note on Are DIY Genetic Testing Kits Safe?

This article is published to inform you of the latest trend of DIY genetic testing kits popular amongst Americans right now. 

What are your thoughts on this piece? Have you had a genetic test before?

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