DNA tests provide valuable insight


Illustration by Lillie Busch.

In the last few years, DNA testing has become popular around not only the country, but also the whole world. Ancestry DNA testing is a genealogical DNA test which looks at specific locations of a person’s genome and estimates the ethnic mixture of an individual. It gives you insightful geographic detail about your history and can be done from the comfort of your home.

In addition to providing specific traits a person may carry, Ancestry DNA testing also matches users with potential relatives around the world who have already taken the test.

Junior Spanish licensure major Justin Davis and his wife took the test, and they were surprised with the results.

“I saw the DNA tests come on the market, and I was extremely interested in doing it. I just knew it would be so interesting to find out the countries my ancestors originated from,” Davis said. “I was positive my results were going to be boring, but I actually found out something super exciting.”

Davis’ test results concluded that 5% of his DNA originated from African countries. The results also showed Davis’ third and fourth cousins are African American.

“I even have thought about reaching out to cousins I matched with, but I have a little fear they will think I am weird or something,” Davis said. “Overall, it was definitely worth the time and money for me and for us both as a couple.”

These tests can be expensive, ranging from $99 for a basic kit to $120 for a basic kit with an included trait test. Freshman history major Jacob Lott received the test as a gift due to his interest in learning more about his background.

“I got the results back and it confirmed a lot of what I already knew, but it did bring up some more mysteries,” Lott said. “It matched me up with people that I could potentially be related to, but I didn’t know how they were related, so that is what I am working on now.”

Although many people can study their genealogy without doing DNA testing, others feel testing provides more details on their history.

Senior English and history double major Jonathan Puckett has been researching his genealogy since 2006, and he recently worked his way up to purchasing an Ancestry DNA kit.

“It confirmed a lot of what I already knew of course after years of research, so there were no surprises in my results. However, I would definitely recommend it to other people,” Puckett said. “It solidifies a lot of things because we don’t always have records for everything.”

Results may be a great starting point for more family history research. DNA testing helps individuals who have a difficult time tracking down family records, and the results can often be used to help bridge some of the gaps that may keep people from completing their family tree.

“It was so interesting to find out that I have African American roots, and even though it’s small, without those roots, my existence today wouldn’t be possible,” Davis said.