How accurate are those home DNA ancestry tests? And are the results private?

There are many types of home DNA ancestry tests now available for purchase.  But how accurate are those tests?

To complete the test, a swab is used to obtain a sample of saliva, then the sample is shipped to the company for testing.  The tests range from $60-$80.

In one study, saliva from a single patient was sent to two different labs.  The labs had conflicting results.  For example, one lab said a patent was 70% British, but the other lab said the patient was only 5% British.

Another study was performed on identical twins.  Their DNA ancestry should be identical, but study results showed that their ancestors came from different countries! This would be genetically impossible.

To date, researchers have found that up to 40% of the testing performed on home DNA ancestry testing is inaccurate.

And what about privacy?  Because the genetic testing companies are not considered “medical providers”,  they do not have to abide by standard privacy policies that must be followed at a doctor’s office or hospital, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).  The genetic testing companies can share genetic and personal information on their website, various products, software, cookies and smartphone apps.  The information is data-mined for third parties such as health insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, advertising companies, and other interested parties.


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