Knowing more about yourself is now made easy thanks to science and DNA testing. The advancements that have been done in the field of DNA testing these past few decades have now reached a point wherein people can trace their heritage by submitting a DNA sample and seeing the results online after a couple weeks.

This has indeed made people more curious about their family history. For those who have a lot of questions regarding their ancestry, DNA testing is the answer they have been waiting for. In fact, these days, there have been a lot of ancestry-tracing websites available that use your DNA to trace your heritage. To find the best ones, you can read and find out.

The availability of DNA testing has made a lot of people question how it actually works. And rightly so—after all, DNA testing is a complicated process and they used to be only available to a few people. So, how does DNA testing work?

How DNA Testing Works

DNA or Deoxyribonucleic Acid was first discovered in 1953. It is basically the code that would determine your life. It is found in the cell’s nucleus in the form of a coil we call chromosomes. Their building blocks are nucleotides A, C, T, and G. They are paired as AC and GT.

Although all humans have these nucleotides as their building blocks and are paired as so, the sequence of these pairings are what we call genes, which will determine what people will look like on the outside as well as the bodily functions of the organs on the inside.

In DNA testing, a sample of your DNA is taken via a buccal or cheek swab. Although, a DNA sample can be taken from any part of the body including hair, skin, and bodily fluids like saliva and blood. This DNA sample is then taken to a laboratory where they undergo the necessary procedures.

The procedure starts by breaking down the cell membrane to access the nucleus where the DNA is located. The DNA is isolated and then copied to find the genetic markers. These genetic markers are what the technician looks at and compares with a different set of genetic markers to see if it is a match. There are many uses of DNA testing. Below are some of them:

How DNA Testing Works

Uses of DNA Testing

  • Forensic Testing – This is often used for legal purposes such as identifying the culprit of a crime or eliminating people from the list of suspects. Once police officers find a possible source of DNA from the culprit, they can use this to compare with other suspects and determine which is the culprit with one hundred percent accuracy. Determining paternity is also classified under forensic testing.
  • Newborn Screening – Once a child is born, a blood sample extracted from the baby’s heel is collected and tested to determine whether the baby has any chromosomal disorders. Determining it early is important so that parents can prepare themselves and medical interventions can also be done early in order to help the child live a normal life as much as possible.
  • Diagnostic Testing – These tests are done to determine or eliminate possible chromosomal medical conditions based on the symptoms exhibited by the patients. A doctor can prescribe a diagnostic DNA testing when the symptoms start to show or at any point in the patient’s life, so as to help in making proper and correct decisions on lifestyle choices to manage the diagnosed medical problem.
  • Carrier Testing – Couples with a family medical history that indicates genetic disorder is often prescribed this type of test. It is done to find out if there are genetic mutations found in your DNA that, when found in both you and your partner, can cause a genetic disorder in your future children. Certain groups of people are also predisposed to some specific genetic mutations so they are also often advised to get tested.
  • Prenatal Testing – For couples having a baby whom they fear might have a chromosomal disorder, they can get this type of test to find out if their unborn child has inherited a chromosomal disorder. But unfortunately, this type of test will not determine all types of birth defects and other inherited disorders.
  • Pre-Implantation Testing – This is similar to prenatal testing but applicable to embryos formed in non-traditional reproductive situations like in-vitro fertilizations. The embryos are tested by removing a few cells. Those that have passed and have no chromosomal disorders detected are the only ones implanted into the uterus.
  • Predictive Testing – This test is done to predict whether you might have a certain disease way before signs and symptoms are found. This is helpful for people whose family medical history shows disorders from a genetic mutation. This test can show the possibility of you developing some types of cancer and other disorders.


The advances made since the discovery of DNA has indeed helped us in many ways, and DNA testing is continuously evolving so that it can further help advances in technology, especially in the field of medicine.


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