Genetic testing is a rapidly growing field that is becoming increasingly accessible to the general public. More and more genetic testing providers are entering the market, offering increasingly sophisticated tests that can provide actionable insights into inherited genetic diseases, genetic predispositions towards certain conditions, and even epigenetics – the study of genetic changes that occur as we age.
In this article, we will explore five leading providers of genetic testing and what they offer. We will discuss the specific genetic tests offered, payment options, and other key considerations such as accuracy, privacy policies, and customer service details. With this information in hand, you can make an informed decision about which genetic testing provider best meets your needs.
The Main Contenders
One of the best-known providers of genetic testing is 23andMe. This company offers a wide range of health-related tests for everyone. These tests include carrier status to determine genetic risk for inherited diseases such as cystic fibrosis; health predisposition to identify potential diseases like Type 2 diabetes; wellness traits to uncover helpful lifestyle tips; genetic risks associated with drug responses; ancestral composition to explore your ancestry; Neanderthal ancestry to trace your heritage back to ancient humans; uniparental disomy (UPD) which helps identify parent-of-origin discrepancies, and more.
23andMe charges a single fee per test, which depends on the type of test taken. Payment plans are available through credit cards or PayPal accounts. Privacy policies are provided upfront, so customers know how their data will be used before taking a test. 23andMe results have been found to be highly accurate due to the company’s cutting-edge technologies, such as DNA sequencing chipsets and proprietary algorithms.
Another major provider of genetic testing is MyHeritage DNA. They offer various DNA kits ranging from autosomal kits for ethnicity estimation, family finder, health reports, carrier status, maternal/paternal haplogroup tracing, and much more. Their pricing structure is transparent with no hidden fees.
AncestryDNA is another big player in the genetic testing world, offering DNA kits such as AncestryDNA® Health + Ancestry Kit, Ethnicity Estimate Kit, Maternal Lineage Test Kit, Y Chromosome Test Kit, Mitochondrial Test Kit, Wellbeing Report Kit, Paternal Lineage Test Kit, and others. Their results have been found to be trustworthy due to their collaborative partnerships with universities like Stanford University School of Medicine and Harvard Medical School’s Department of Genetics and Complex Diseases.
Pathway Genomics offers similar services but focuses more heavily on preventative measures rather than predictive ones. With Pathway Genomics’ kit you can get insight into inherited diseases (such as cancer), differences in nutrition and fitness response based on genetics, as well as lifestyle and environmental contributions to better wellness management plans. They rely on CLIA-certified lab partnerships while maintaining HIPAA compliance throughout the process.
Genos is the last genetic-testing company on our list, and it provides two different types of tests: Wellness+ Longevity DNA Test which dives deep into various aspect related to injury prevention and performance optimization, and Wellness+ Longevity Plus Gut microbiome DNA Test, which looks at your gut-bacteria makeup to make personalized dietary recommendations.
Chronomics, a bonus company on our list, does epigenetic testing. Epigenetics are responsible for how our bodies respond to changes in the environment, including diet and lifestyle choices, as well as external influences such as stress or toxins. By unlocking epigenetic information and understanding how epigenetics shape our individual genetic makeup, it’s possible to identify potential risk factors for certain medical conditions and plan a course of action to reduce those risks.
An Exciting New Field
Epigenetic tests measure things like DNA methylation levels in order to analyze the epigenome – the chemical changes that occur over time in response to environmental exposures. This can provide insight into how epigenetics affect gene expression, meaning how genes are expressed, and how those expressions may be linked to disease development or other health issues. This makes epigenetic testing useful for tracking environmental influences like stress or diet over time, providing valuable information about your current health status and your predisposition for developing certain illnesses.
In addition to helping you understand your own genetic makeup better and make informed decisions about lifestyle choices, epigenetic testing can also be used by doctors when diagnosing or treating patients. For conditions such as cancer, epigenetic testing is being used in combination with traditional genetic tests in order to arrive at an accurate diagnosis more quickly and effectively than using either test alone would allow.