With modern technology, we can find out more about our unique genetic code, ancestry and family connections like never before with just a simple cheek swab or saliva sample. Each person's DNA is entirely unique and contains the secrets of the past and ways we can optimise our lifestyle to be the best version of ourselves.
From food intolerance tests to paternity tests, there is so much we can uncover from our genetic code. Here are the best over-the-counter and online DNA tests we can access to discover who we truly are.
Boots DNA testing kits
Boots offers peace of mind over-the-counter DNA testing kits that will determine the biological father of a child. The test is £19.99 plus an additional £99 to send to the laboratory for results. The test checks one man's DNA against a child's to determine if he is their parent and cannot be used for legal purposes.
According to The Guardian, about 50,000 children born each year in the UK are registered without a father on their birth certificate. However, you still cannot receive paternity testing on the NHS.
Boots have offered an accessible DNA paternity test kit that requires the presumed father, mother and child (if over 16 years old) to sign consent forms as well as proof of identification. It has been illegal to take someone's DNA in the UK since 2006, so all parties must consent to the test.
How does the DNA paternity test kit work?
Once all three swabs have been collected and sealed into the specified bags, they are then posted to a laboratory for analysis. The manufacturers say the test is 99.9 per cent accurate for a positive match and 100 per cent accurate for a negative result.
DNA testing kits in Superdrug
Perhaps you are looking for a more generic DNA test kit? In that case, Superdrug claims to have "the world's most accurate" home DNA test, which can report on over 500 genetic categories, such as food sensitivities and intolerances, disease risk, and behavioural traits.
According to Superdrug, unlike other DNA testing kits on the market, CircleDNA is the only retail test kit using sequencing (NGS) technology providing whole-exome sequencing.
The CircleDNA Test is especially useful as it provides services such as health and genetic consultations. When you receive the results, you can talk to a professional who can help you understand what lifestyle change you can implement, especially regarding nutrition, diet and exercise.
How Does a CircleDNA Test Work?
Doing a DNA test is simple; all you have to do is swab your cheek and send the test off in the post, and you will receive the results within 18 days.
The best part is that your CircleDNA results are easy to access through their app. You can browse through your areas of interest, read the subject more in-depth, and learn detailed explanations of how to make changes in your life.
Boots DNA Clinics Paternity DNA Test Kit
This home DNA paternity test is for one mother, one father and one child. The results from the test can only be used for personal information only.
Vital DNA Test
Superdrug offer a range of DNA home test kits so you can optimise your lifestyle. The CircleDNA Vital package is designed for those looking to change and improve their diet, nutrition intake, fitness routines, and overall wellness.
AncestryDNA Test Kit
Uncover your origins and connect to family past and present with this home testing kit. Once you have signed up you will be able to search the global network of AncestryDNA members and identify the people who share your DNA. This service combines DNA science with the world’s biggest online family history database to find out your genetic ethnicity and help you find new family connections from across the globe.
My Heritage DNA test
The home DNA test offers you the service to find out where your ancestry is from and to help you find new relatives you never knew existed through your shared genetic code.
How to do a DNA test:
According to Boots, their DNA test kit can be completed in three simple steps:
1. Complete the enclosed forms
2. Collect your DNA samples using the swabs provided.
3. Mail back your samples and completed documents using the pre-paid envelope supplied.
Step 1: Complete the forms.
Complete the enclosed forms and make sure your writing is clear. Then sign the consent forms and return the forms and payment enclosed.
Step 2: Collect the DNA sample
The DNA will be collected with a swab. There are two mouth swabs for each test participant. To obtain the required DNA samples, start by rubbing the cotton end of the swab inside the left cheek firmly at least 20 times.
Repeat with the second swab on the inside of the left cheek. For more guidance, check out this video:
Air dry both mouth swabs by quickly flicking them through the air for at least 15 seconds. Do not handle the cotton end; this will cause contamination of your DNA samples.
Lastly, seal the swabs into the relevant sample envelope. Ensure that all details are completed on the sample envelope and secure the two samples by closing the flap
Step 3: Send your DNA samples
To send the DNA samples to the lab, place the sample envelopes, completed forms and payment in the return envelope that comes with the kit (no postage fee required). Then seal the return envelope with the security seal provided. Additionally, a local collection service is available with Crystal Health, and you can find one near you by clicking here.
The DNA test results will be sent to you within 3-5 working days from when the laboratory receives the samples.
Frequently asked questions on DNA tests
Can you get a DNA test for free?
The NHS does not offer free DNA testing for paternity or other relationships, so if you come across a free DNA testing service, the company will be acting until false pretences. DNA Clinics will offer the DNA test kit free of charge, with payment for the test expected on the return of your samples.
Is the accuracy the same for home testing vs testing in a clinic?
There is no difference between self-collection home testing or appointment-based testing. The results will both be accurate.
Can the DNA test kit be used for legal purposes?
Unfortunately, self-collections kits are for personal use only. In order to use the test for legal purposes, your GP should collect your DNA samples.