Finding out your ancestry? Here’s what happens to your DNA sample.

Finding out your ancestry? Here’s what happens to your DNA sample.


Getting an estimate of your ancestry is as
easy as going to the post office. Here’s how it works. You can go online and order a DNA kit (or
use that one you got as a gift). Once it arrives open the box and activate your kit online. Simple instructions on the box will guide
you through collecting your saliva sample. After you’ve completed your sample, you
put the tube back in the box and send it on it’s way. Easy right? But wait, there’s so much more. If you’ve signed up for AncestryDNA, your
kit and your DNA, go on another adventure. Your sample arrives at a secret clearing location and the boxes are scanned and routed to one of the 3 testing labs. At the testing lab, workers take the tubes
out of the boxes, scan their barcodes and check to make sure the tubes are intact. A series of robots take small samples of the saliva, expose it to chemicals and spin it at high speeds to isolate the DNA in the spit. The DNA is then applied to a microchip that reads the 700,000 markers that provide a person’s ethnicity estimate. Ancestry compares the data from your 700,000 markers to a database of ethnic markers drawn from more than 350 global regions. It runs this comparison 40 times to get a
range of estimates from which to draw a person’s final ethnicity estimate. Next, you get an email with the results, including
a breakdown of ethnicity. And a list of close relatives, if you opted
into that option. But what happens with your DNA data? Ancestry keeps records of you DNA results
and the leftover DNA itself. You can request that both are destroyed after
obtaining results. Or opt to allow Ancestry to share “de-identified”
DNA results and DNA with the company’s research partners, now and into the future. Ancestry acknowledges that there is a risk
its security protocols could be breached, or that law enforcement could obtain a customer’s personal and DNA information through a court order.

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