DNA testing or protein testing refers to the process of collecting, studying and analyzing an individual’s DNA or genome structure. DNA or Deoxy-Ribonucleic acid is essentially a self-replication molecule in the human body and makes it unique. DNA-based data can be obtained from the individual’s skin, nails, blood, saliva, or hair samples. Some of the commonly known uses of DNA testing are parental history, ancestral history, and criminal investigations. In addition to that, DNA testing is also used extensively by palaeontologists, archaeologists and historians in creating a series of genetic progressions in their studies, respectively.
While DNA testing may seem like a pretty mysterious and advanced piece of scientific technology, it is actually straightforward and basic in its application. DNA testing merely involves collecting an individual’s sample DNA by using either a small brush or a cotton swab to collect the sample. This is followed by the sample being sent to a laboratory in which lab technicians look for changes or patterns in chromosomes and the individual’s proteins. Once this process is completed, the lab technician generates a report in response to the submitted query.
Listed below are some of the uses of DNA testing in our daily lives:
1. DNA testing is used for paternity testing
The commonly known use of DNA testing is paternity testing, which is essentially how individuals can confirm their parents. This confirmation may either be done for legal cases or, out of curiosity, a parent or a child may experience. DNA testing is the most strong and definitive way of confirming whether two people are related or not.
2. DNA testing is used in criminal investigations
DNA testing is extensively used in criminal investigations to investigate crime scenes and cross-check any piece of DNA that may serve as evidence. Police officers have also been known to reopen previously unsolved cases as DNA testing got more advanced in recent years. Again, this is another popularly known use of DNA testing, and rightly so, it may be the most common use of science and technology.
3. DNA testing is used in archaeology
Archaeologists use DNA testing to make notes about the general progression of life throughout the ages. DNA testing helps archaeologists understand the relationships between different species and subspecies and helps them maintain a record of genetic history, ancient civilization, ancient groups and extinct species. It also helps archaeologists understand how civilizations have moved through the ages.
4. DNA testing is used for ancestry testing
An ancestry DNA test from a company like CRI Genetics essentially uses an individual’s DNA to generate a detailed and comprehensive report about their ancestry and family history. This includes data about their biogeographical ancestry which refers to which parts of the world their ancestors belong to, their ancestry origin, trait features about themselves, health and wellness reports, etc.
5. DNA testing is used for prenatal testing
Doctors may use DNA testing for prenatal genetic testing to assess an unborn fetus for any health issues. Doctors can also assess the probability of the unborn fetus being at risk for genetic diseases. This is crucial for the unborn fetus’ health so that doctors and parents can prepare accordingly and plan for the child’s health at a later stage of their life. In addition to prenatal testing, DNA testing is also used for other medical reasons, such as detecting cancer in its early stages. It has proven very useful in terms of the detection and successful prevention of such diseases.