Written by Tiffany Chen


In this day and age, the advances in genetic technologies have allowed us to learn more about our genetic history. Companies such as 23andme and Ancestry claim that they have genetic testing services provided to help people to explore their ancestry and the origins of their traits with a simple way for instance taking a saliva sample. Saliva sampling is the most common method to collect DNA samples, as it provides a significantly higher DNA yield than other sample collecting methods (e.g. buccal swabbing). Once the DNA samples are collected, service providers can proceed genetic testing, and provide customers clues to trace the origins of their facial features and ancestry. Nevertheless, review feedbacks always cite both positively and negatively.


Well, negative side first. After spending a fair amount of money on genetic tests, some customers found that they cannot use the results directly for medical purposes, and thus there is no other way to utilize your testing results except being alerted about your health condition. Moreover, in regard to ancestral information, the accuracy of genetic testing analyses that most service providers can offer seem insufficient, especially for Asian genetic tests. Data taken from people of Asian descent are significantly less than those from people of European descent, the specificity of genetic testing results are therefore lower for Asians.


 Nevertheless, the majority of the public still prefer genetic testing for the simple way of sample collecting it adopts. Learning that you are at a lower risk for certain diseases helps to ease anxieties about health issues after all. On the other hand, learning that you are at a higher risk for certain diseases alerts you to pay more attention to your health condition. Thus, issues such as the insufficient accuracy do not actually discourage people from taking genetic tests.


Personally, I would like to know more information about my own DNA. After watching many online videos about genetic tests and descent origin exploring, certainly makes me curious about the genetic heritage of myself. Not only can these tests alert me to my health conditions, but they could also tell me where I am originated from with my DNA and my own physical features. Genetic testing technologies have been improving overtime by accumulating more data and reaching higher standard of specificity. I hope that databases on Asian genetic information will soon reach to the similar level of European genetic databases, so that Asian customers are, too, able to examine and connect to their own genetic heritage.


#Tiffany Chen is currently a senior high school student in Taiwan.






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