How Useful and Accurate is 23 and Me Genetic Testing?

Genetic Testing
Genetic Testing

What if I told you that you originated from Asia, although, you reside in East Africa? Yes, that’s right- it’s possible.

You see, the world is changing rapidly- especially technologically. Oh, you really wish to explore the innermost subset of your existence- your DNA? With genetic testing, it’s possible.

Probably, you’ve heard or read so much about this topic, yet, you remain skeptical about its effectiveness- how important is it? How sure am I that I would receive accurate results? …questions upon questions, challenging its usefulness and accuracy, speed across your mind as the topic is mentioned.

Companies like 23 and Me offer genetic testing services that could be a great benefit to you. Check out how.

A Little Genetics 001…

According to Mendel, genes are the units of inheritance. DNA is an integral part of genes, and they are a much smaller subset of chromosomes.

That said, DNA code for proteins that dictate specific traits ranging from your eye color to your diet and physique. This probably explains its complex nature.

The whole essence of modern genetics is to simplify the complexity of DNA and demystify its whole importance in the hereditary process. Although it has been quite hard, we’ve definitely gone a long way from Mendel Pea’s experiment.

In 2003, we edged closer to achieving this aim when technology capable of interpreting DNA sequence, in its entirety, was developed. With this came an unprecedented speed in understanding an individual’s DNA for frugal costs as well as commercial exploitation.

23 and Me is one, amongst the many companies that explore the DNA of individuals to reveal the hidden script they have inside of them.

How Useful can Genetic Testing be?


Luckily, through genetic testing, you can get to understand where you are from; your ancestry. If you are interested in your family history, you can learn more than what you’ve known through what your relatives told you or historical documentation.

Presently, there are three major ways you can undergo ancestry testing.

Y- chromosome DNA tests are used to understand the paternal line of ancestry of an individual. Because Y-chromosomes are only passed from father to sons and are absent in women, this kind of test is carried out only in males. Women who are interested in the result this test provides are required to recruit a male relative.

Mitochondrial DNA tests are used to understand the maternal line of ancestry of an individual. This is because a mitochondrion is a semi-autonomous organelle that has its own DNA. Since it is transferred down to a child by the mother, it can be carried out in both sexes.

Single nucleotide polymorphism tests evaluate a large section of variants of an individual genome and compare it to others of known ethnicity.

Understand your DNA better

What’s more in it for you? DNA mutation is the basis for a faulty protein formation, whose end result is a sprout of genetic-related diseases. Genetic testing helps you recognize these potential diseases, so you can channel your lifestyle in a path that reduces the chances of exhibiting these diseases.

Is it Accurate?

Here’s where it gets murky. Test providers use different databases to determine the ancestry or ethnicity of individuals. This means that there might be discrepancies when it comes to the determination of your ancestry.

But then, the term ‘accurate’ could be quite subjective. This is what I mean: if you use the term ‘accurate’ to infer that these provide correct results based on their individual databases, then, yeah- they are accurate. On the other hand, comparing two or more genetic testing companies would mean neither of their results is accurate due to different databases.

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