DNA testing is an exciting and viable option, and people everywhere are taking note. In fact, forward-thinkers are already using this innovation to fill global needs and maximize the benefits of having your DNA sequenced in a jiffy. Here are 7 trends that are cropping up from DNA testing research and results.
1. Retelling History
Historians, archaeologists, anthropologists, and paleontologists have always relied on the remains of our ancient ancestors to piece together a rough estimate of what life, society, and humans were like way back when. From fossils to sarcophagi and ancient relics, these scientists painstakingly recreate life from thousands of years ago, but today there’s another option.
With DNA sequencing developing at a rapid pace, scientists are able to tell us volumes more about ancient humans than ever before. One example came from the discovery of a skeleton in Greenland that contained a lock of hair dating back 4,000 years! With this bit of hair and the DNA technology of today, scientists were able to create the first full genomic sequence of a human being from 4,000 years ago. Aside from being totally awesome on a scientific level, these advancements allow us to learn much about our ancestors including migration patterns, language development, technology breakthroughs, and a significantly clearer picture of how people lived back then.
2. Heritage Travel
Another trend we’ve seen cropping up since the widespread use of DNA testing started is heritage travel. Heritage travel, aka DNA tourism, is a fast-developing industry that caters to the curious at heart and the wanderlust in us all. Most people enjoy traveling to distant countries, touring foreign cities, and seeing unfamiliar sights. But that travel tour becomes a whole lot more meaningful when it’s tied to your heritage.
Ancestry.com saw a need rising with the home DNA testing kit explosion. Once people learned about their roots, ancestral homelands, and long-lost cousins (no matter how far removed), it wasn't enough to just own the information. They wanted to experience it firsthand. They wanted to take a walk down the streets of their forefathers, roam the hills of their progenitors, and meet the family they never knew they had.
The solution? Guided tours based on your genetic testing results! If you find you’re a quarter Irish, an eighth Polish, and a third Slovakian, tourism services will charter a tour for you and your family to visit these places, tour the countryside, and even arrange a translator, so you can speak to new branches of your family tree.
3. Advancing Health & Fitness
Health and fitness have to be some of the biggest motivators for DNA testing across the globe. With these new sequencing abilities, doctors are able to tell you invaluable, transformative, and even life-saving details about your body, your genes, and your medical disposition. What’s more, researchers are pouring millions of dollars into DNA studies to help advance medical treatments and prevention.
You can discover everything from your likelihood to contract certain genetic diseases to what type of diet you should be following for optimal weight loss and health maintenance. Here are a few real-life health and fitness practical applications that are trending now and will continue in the coming years:
- Testing the health and “age” of your blood to see how resilient you are and how you can alter your lifestyle for better aging and longer life expectancy.
- Diet plans like Nutrisystem and Vitagen have started implementing DNA test results into their programs. You’ll get a tailored diet consisting of which foods to avoid, exactly how your unique metabolism works with foods, and which exercises will promote the best healthy lifestyle for your body type.
- Orig3n has a Child Development DNA kit that actually breaks down a child’s DNA sequence to analyze important areas of development including behavior, nutrition, enlightenment, and sleep. The results can help parents guide their children toward areas where they show the most aptitude, plan the optimal diet plan for their nutritional needs, and tailor home life to fit their dispositions.
- Early detection and prevention for certain genetic diseases and dispositions.
With DNA testing, our length and quality of life may never be the same.
4. Early Cancer Detection
As mentioned, DNA testing is being used to tell you all sorts of things about your body and your genetic dispositions. One of the main fields of research right now is in early cancer detection. Because of the way cancer cells mutate and multiply, scientists are beginning to see a pattern of how and when these cells develop. If they are able to recreate these results, doctors may be able to detect the early onset of tumorous cells, allowing patients the ability to get treatment in early stages of cancer before the disease becomes debilitating and life-threatening. As cancer is the 2nd leading cause of death globally, this is a major breakthrough in medicine.
5. Fueling the Future
We’re all worried about the environment, which is why scientists are working tirelessly to find an alternative energy solution to petroleum usage. And now with DNA testing at the helm, a discovery may be fast in the making. Not to get too technical with this explanation, but scientists need to get safer organisms to build energy molecules. This has proven a tricky process in the past, but with evolving DNA sequencing technology, scientists are finally learning how to sequence the DNA of many different organisms. It is hoped that this research will bring forth a biofuel that is both better for the environment and an economically feasible option to replace oil.
6. Fighting Crime (Without the Cape)
This might be the coolest trend in DNA testing yet. Since we've all got a unique strand of DNA pulsing through our veins, you can identify anyone with just a single drop of their blood or a strand of their hair. Law enforcement agencies are using DNA data to solve crimes at unprecedented speeds.
An encouraging example of this technology hard at work landed in the headlines last year when police used DNA evidence coupled with family tree data to find the Golden State Killer, a serial rapist who raped and murdered more than 12 people throughout California in the 70’s and 80’s. Since then, dozens of other murderers and rapists have been convicted thanks to this kind of DNA evidence.
7. Testing Embryos
Want a doctor in the family? Or maybe you’d prefer to see your little one grow into the next Michelangelo. Well, with the development of DNA testing technologies, parents may soon be able to pick out exactly which traits they want their offspring to have. Through a study called Genomic Prediction, clinics are starting to test embryos to see what type of educational values they hold in the future.
There are also genetic IQ tests that will tell you how intelligent your child will be years down the road. These and the above application beg the question of ethical medical behavior and whether or not we’d really want to live in a society of hand-picked Barbie and Ken doll humans, anyway…
DNA Testing Trends of the Future
The study of DNA has always been an interesting field, but with the technological advances of today, it’s becoming downright fascinating. What does the future hold for our world, our societies, our children, and our minds? With DNA testing on the rise, one can only imagine the possibilities.