Seven years ago, if you had told me that I would ever author an article by this title, I would have laughed. I was not a fan of direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing and was an unapologetic critic. But it’s hard to ignore how the world of genetics has changed in the past seven years: the field has exploded, more than 15 million customers have ordered DTC testing, and it is estimated that 100 million will spit and send by 2021. Cold cases have been solved, and our genetic privacy has been compromised due to our genetic data being shared in public databases. Love it or hate it, DTC testing is here to stay.

A few weeks ago, I realized that it’s time for me to join the masses and experience the process firsthand, so I ordered my first kit. I chose to order a kit in the medical-grade space (versus lifestyle/entertainment) from a company that sequences your DNA and then allows you to purchase apps that will read just parts of your genetic code. I find this process ingenious because you can read small, selected parts of your DNA for small-ish amounts of money. However, if you want many sections of your DNA read, the combined cost of all these apps may actually be more than the cost of having your DNA sequenced through a traditional company. Interesting.

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