Over the past six months, I’ve taken some of the most popular consumer DNA tests on the market so that I, as a genetic counselor, can better understand the consumer experience. I took an ancestry test a few months ago and was impressed with the accuracy of my results. But I was most interested in getting the raw data file that comes with the ancestry test, as well as many other popular consumer DNA tests. This data file contains a portion of your genetic data, which can potentially yield insights into medical conditions and risks. By itself, the raw data file is not readable, but you can upload your raw data to several third-party services that may help make sense of these findings.

One Sunday morning in November, I dropped my daughter off at a playdate and headed to a nearby coffee shop to tackle my raw data. Finding my raw data file was not particularly easy to do on this ancestry site, so I googled instructions, downloaded my file, and uploaded it to a third-party interpretation site. This process took about four minutes. Just six minutes later, I had my raw data report.

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