'It made me question my ancestry': does DNA home testing really understand race?
DNA testing companies often have very few samples from Africa. Some companies are trying to rectify this and have launched a program to encourage researchers to study remote populations and submit their data.
However, questions have been raised about the ethics of European and American scientists collecting genetic information from Africans for economic gain.
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In genetic ancestry testing, even identical twins who have virtually the same DNA may or may not get the same results.
Different DNA companies can show different results, in the case of twins...
Consumer genetic testing is expanding as more than 26 million people have taken this kind of test, according to the MIT Technology Review.
DNA tests are still considered estimates, due to imperfect data.
When a person wanting to give the test provides the DNA sample through the saliva, the company checks for variance in the saliva, as 99.9 percent of the DNA is the same in humans.
The term “race” is widely used but isn't scientifically valid. Race is a social construct. For many, it is a desire for identity and belonging.
The core of many racist stereotypes is that race is a biological classification.
We're all different. If we are all on the same weight-loss diet, there will be various outcomes. Some people will lose a lot, some will lose a little, and a few will even gain weight.
Scientists are continually finding links between genetics and nutrition. Many of us have a gene called FTO that makes us more likely to be overweight. You can get a genetic test to tell which variant of the FTO gene you happen to have.
However, scientists who study the genetics of nutrition think it’s premature to base nutritional advice on your DNA. That FTO gene, for example, has only been shown to make a few pounds’ difference in body weight.
The coded messages of your DNA are billions of letters (nucleotides) long. Personalized nutrition companies only care about a few of your DNA letters and can tell you which "variant" you have at each of those locations (known as SNPs) along your DNA strands.
Genetic testing companies can learn what SNP variants you have by supplying them with a vial of spit.