A genealogical DNA test looks at a person’s genome at specific locations. Results give information about genealogy or personal ancestry. In general, these tests compare the results of an individual to others from the same lineage or to current and historic ethnic groups. The test results are not meant for medical use, where different types of genetic testing are needed. They do not determine specific genetic diseases or disorders. They are intended only to give genealogical information.
Taking a genealogical DNA test requires the submission of a DNA sample. The most common way to collect a DNA sample, which can be done by either visiting a DNA test clinic or by ordering a home test through an independent DNA test supplier, is by a cheek-scraping (also known as a buccal swab). Other methods include spit-cups, mouthwash, and chewing gum. After collection, the sample is mailed to a testing lab.
Some laboratories, such as the Human Origins Genotyping Laboratory (HOGL) at the University of Arizona, offer to store DNA samples for ease of future testing.