DNA Kits Are On Crazy Sale For Prime Day — But What Do They Actually Do?

Cory Stieg

While Amazon Prime Day is an opportunity to stock up on items that you use all of the time, it’s also a good chance to buy some fun discounted products that you wouldn’t necessarily buy during your usual Amazon haul. Such is the case with 23andme, the ultra-popular home genetic test kit, which is a whopping 50% off for Prime Day. Typically, the health, wellness, and ancestry test service costs $199.00, but it’s on sale on Amazon for just $99.99 — and that includes the lab fees.

On Monday, the first day of Prime Day, 23andMe was one of the most-wanted items on Amazon. AncestryDNA, another popular testing company, is also selling discounted genetic ethnicity and "traits" test kits at just $69.00 for Prime Day. These kits are so coveted that other retailers, such as Target and Walmart, have discounted theirs, too. Target is currently selling the 23andMe Personal Ancestry DNA Test Kit (a truncated version that only provides ancestry information) for $49.00, while Walmart included the kits in their Big Save sale yesterday.

It makes total sense why people are drawn to home genetic tests like 23andMe; the kits make it extremely easy to learn more about your genes, including where you come from and whether or not you have a genetic predisposition to specific health conditions. But before you add these kits to your cart, it's important to understand what exactly you can learn about your health from a home genetic kit. In other words, is this test really worth taking just because it's on sale?

One big misconception about home genetic tests is that they're able to diagnose medical conditions — and that's not the case at all. They can't replace a doctor or medical care; they're purely meant to educate consumers about their genomic data. For example, the 23andMe test that's on sale now can tell you whether your DNA contains patterns that are associated with carriers of specific health conditions — but it can't tell you whether you'd actually develop those conditions.

However, if you are concerned about a certain disease that runs in your family, or you're not sure if testing is right for you, the company suggests that you speak to a genetic counselor who can help you contextualize this information. In a best-case scenario, a home genetic test would be one step in the right direction toward getting a diagnosis, Stacey Detweiler, MS, LCGC, medical affairs associate and genetic counselor at 23andMe told Refinery29. But it can't tell you the whole picture about your health.

Keeping all of that in mind, there are still some fun and less-loaded tidbits that you can learn from home genetic tests like 23andMe, including whether you've inherited the traits associated with "cilantro taste aversion" or "a fear of public speaking." Or, if you're ultimately not down to spit in a tube for $99.99, the good news is that there are a bunch of other things you could get on Amazon Prime that might be more worth your time, health, and dollars.

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