DNA testing or genetic testing is a way of understanding how a person’s genes shape their life.
Personal genetic testing helps understand your ancestral history, the risk for certain health conditions, and physical and mental traits.
Such tests require you to send home collected DNA samples to the lab for analysis.
A DNA swab test collects DNA samples from the inner cheeks. Your results may only be accurate if the DNA sample is collected and sent correctly.
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What Is The Process of DNA Testing?
There are two basic kinds of DNA tests - home DNA testing and legal DNA testing.
Legal DNA testing is for lawful purposes, and the samples are collected in front of a person in charge.
For home DNA testing, the samples can be collected at home and sent to the lab.
The following steps are a part of the home DNA testing process.
Step 1: Order the test of your choice online from one of the personal genomics companies.
Step 2: The company will send you the DNA collection kit through the mail, and you will also get a prepaid mail package included.
Step 3: The lab will include all details on how to collect the swab with the kit.
Step 4: Follow the instructions and collect the swab. You may be asked to register the kit online before mailing it.
Step 5: Put the collected kit into the prepaid mail package and send it back.
Step 6: It may take 4-8 weeks to receive your reports based on the sample sent.
Step 7: If the sample is insufficient or contaminated in any way, the team will get back to you, and you may have to redo the whole process again.
What To Expect From A DNA Test
A DNA test can help solve legal paternity issues.
In recent times, home genetic DNA tests have become common. These can determine how a person’s DNA affects their health, wellness, and physical traits.
Many people use these tests to find their ancestral history too.
Is There Any Paperwork Involved?
Home DNA tests usually require the individual to sign a consent form that they must mail back to the testing company. These tests cannot be used as proof for legal purposes.
Most paternity DNA tests need to be done in the presence of a person in charge, and these come with detailed paperwork trails. Such test results are acceptable in court proceedings for legal purposes.
How To Prepare For A DNA Swab Test?
Here are ways you can prepare for a DNA swab test.
- Make sure your test kit requires you to take a cheek swab, not other DNA samples.
- Wash your hands and brush your teeth before opening the kit.
- Open the package. The package may have a collection swab, an envelope or tube to collect the sample, and an instruction manual.
- Open the tube and keep it upright. Remove the outer cover of the stick. Make sure you don’t touch the end of the stick.
- Take the stick and rub it on the insides of the cheek 5-6 times.
- Take the swab out and put the stick inside the tube or the envelope. Seal the tube or envelope.
- Now, you can register the kit online, if required, and then mail it back to the service provider.
Tips To Take Note Of
- Start clean. Wash your hands and mouth well before collecting the sample. This can help prevent cross-contamination.
- It would help if you didn’t eat or drink anything for at least 30 minutes before taking the swab. This may increase the risk of a foreign substance getting collected on the swab.
- Use a rolling motion when you collect the DNA sample. Roll the end of the swab up and down the inner cheeks.
- Open the kit and collect the sample right away and secure the tube. Avoid keeping the swab and container open for a longer time. This is also to prevent cross-contamination.
Can You Eat Before Taking A Swab Sample?
While eating does not change the DNA, it may contaminate the sample and make it difficult for the analysts to use it. Hence, you should not eat for at least 30 minutes before taking a swab sample.
You can also brush and rinse the mouth to maintain better sample integrity.
Can You Drink Coffee Before Swab Sample Collection?
While coffee cannot change the DNA, it can mask it and make it difficult to use the same. So it is recommended that you don’t drink coffee for at least 30 minutes before taking a swab sample.
Do You Need To Fast Before Swab Test?
You don’t have to fast before taking a swab test. Not drinking or eating anything 30 minutes before taking the test will be sufficient.
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How Long Is The Swab Sample Valid?
As long as the swab is handled right and stored in the envelopes/tubes, it can be valid for up to six months.
However, it is better to collect the sample and mail it as soon as possible. This will ensure you get results faster too.
When Is Sample Recollection Necessary?
Sample recollection may be necessary in the following cases.
- You collected the wrong sample (saliva instead of cheek swab) and sent it for analysis.
- There was saliva also collected in the cheek swab.
- There was a DNA sample of more than one person collected and sent.
- The DNA sample collected was insufficient.
- The DNA sample was collected but not sent on time.
Summary: How To Prepare For A DNA Swab Test
- Home DNA testing helps understand how a person’s genes may affect their health, wellness, and traits. It also helps trace back ancestral history.
- A DNA swab test collects DNA samples from the inner cheeks and sends them to the lab for further analysis.
- Washing your hands and brushing and rinsing the mouth before collecting samples will help protect the integrity of the sample collected.
- Eating, drinking, or smoking 30 minutes before collecting the sample may contaminate or mask the DNA.
- Each DNA test provider may have different rules about collecting and sending samples. Make sure to read the instructions before swab collection.