Until recently, DNA testing was almost always used by professionals for crime scene investigations and paternity tests. That all changed with the rise of at-home ancestry tests from companies like 23andMe and Ancestry. If you’ve yet to get in on the trend, today’s your chance: a DNA test kit from National Geographic and Helix is on sale for just $45, a steep discount for its normal $100 price tag.
Helix is positioning itself as more of a platform for DNA testing than a self-contained company. At the moment, it has 35 partners that, with your genetic information, can give you DNA-informed insights. For instance, the Mayo Clinic GeneGuide can tell you how your genetics affects your risk for certain diseases. Wine Explorer gives you vino recommendations and Lose It! customizes a diet plan based on your genetic information.
As you might have guessed, given its 130-year history of spreading knowledge about geography, archaeology, and the natural world, the National Geographic Geno 2.0 genetic test is built around giving your insights into your ancestors.
Spit into a tube, mail it off in a prepaid box, and wait four to eight weeks. You’ll receive an email with your results, and that’s when the fun begins.
Your DNA will be analyzed by the Genographic Project, a “global effort to document human ancestry and the migration patterns through history that have left their mark on our genetic code.”
The app gives you a now-standard breakdown of your geographic heritage, but it’s most interesting features go deeper. One shows the migration patterns of your maternal and paternal ancestors along with insights into who they might have encountered. Another shows you how much of your DNA is similar to that of the Neanderthals.
Explainer videos help you understand how the science works (this is still Nat Geo).
You can view all of this information using any browser, but there’s also a Geno 2.0 app for iPhone that lets you share a custom video of your ancestral journey with your friends and (more likely) family.
And if you decide you want to do more with your DNA, access to other Helix tests is cheaper and quicker as they already have your information.