The Different Uses Of DNA Tests

With the onset of DNA fingerprinting- which identifies somebody’s unique genetic information- there are various types of uses of DNA tests other than for personal identification. Using a DNA home testing kit, people can now collect their own DNA samples and send them to labs for different uses.

The first and most common use for DNA tests is for determining paternity. Other than just getting to know one’s father, paternity tests have played a huge role in child custody laws and cases. Single mothers are the biggest benefactors of paternity tests, as they are able to legally get child support from fathers that refuse to claim their children. Men also benefit from these tests as they are able to protect themselves from paternity fraud, a situation where they could have been duped into believing that a child is theirs.

Recently, DNA tests have also been used to derive people’s medical history. Since some diseases are usually purely genetic- like Down’s Syndrome and sickle cell anemia, a simple DNA test can be used to determine what type of diseases they could probably get. All one needs to do is is collect a DNA sample using a DNA home testing kit. The cheek swabs are used by medical practitioners to extract the patient’s DNA fingerprint. They then look for the patterns of different genetic diseases in order to know how they work and eventually find a cure for them. Knowing one’s medical history from their genetic information is key in taking up preventive measures. For example, if one’s family has a history of Type 2 Diabetes then a proper diet and regular exercise can help them prevent the disease.

DNA tests have also been used in order to determine appropriate fitness regimens for different individuals. The genes we inherit from our parents are what determine our physical traits and how our bodies work. Our genes apparently dictate how we respond to different foods and exercises. The genetic variations that are tested are those that deal with the body’s sensitivity to carbohydrates, salt, our ability to metabolize alcohol and caffeine and also lactose and gluten tolerance. These variations can also help to discover if your body has a preference for power over endurance sports, or vice versa. Eventually, people can come up with a proper diet plan and workout routine.

Dog owners can also determine their dog’s breed and ancestry using DNA tests. The genetic sequences of your dog are usually matched to specific breeds found on databases and the tests will determine if your dog is a mixed breed, and possibly what breeds he/she could be descended from. However, disease traits cannot yet be determined with the use of these tests and the databases contain limited information that can be relevant to only a couple of dog owners.

Moreover, DNA tests have been used to solve some ancient mysteries. King Richard III of England was discovered buried under a parking lot after the DNA extracted from his remains was compared to that of a direct descendant of his sister.

  • Updated September 9, 2017
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