Tips for Carrying out a Home DNA Test

The demand for DNA tests of all types has soared over the past decade. The latest ones to gain popularity are home DNA tests; these are cheaper and considerably more convenient than those DNA tests offered by private clinics or hospitals. Nowadays, you can easily find the DNA testing services you need online, at your local pharmacy or even via mobile vans which can be found in many USA states. Of course, getting hold of your kit from your local pharmacy or from a mobile van kind of defeats the idea of an “at home” test.

Should I opt for an Online DNA test?

DNA

As stated, you can purchase your test online or from a pharmacy. If you intend buying your test from a pharmacy it is important to note that all you purchase in this case is a sample collection kit. The kit will set you back only around $40 but once you collect the samples using the oral swabs you find inside the kit, you will need to pay the additional fee for laboratory testing. This will set you back something around another $100.

Online DNA testing companies enable you to do everything from the comfort of your own home. You can place your order and receive the kit at your chosen address. Once you collect your samples, you can then just return them for laboratory analysis. Typically, companies operating online offer an all inclusive cost for the postage of the kit, the DNA analysis and the result.

How do I select a paternity testing provider?

The main criteria for selecting a DNA test provider should be laboratory accreditation. The most widely recognized accreditations in the USA are ISO17025 and AABB (American Association of Blood Banks). Any company offers DNA tests and having these accreditations will clearly state so on their website. What these accreditations do is ensure consistently high level of technical competence for genetic testing facilities. ISO 17025 is a globally recognized accreditation whilst AABB is an important accreditation recognized mainly in the USA. Other countries might have their own specific laboratory accreditation bodies.

What are the best samples to use?

DNA testing technology is so advanced nowadays that minute samples of genetic material can be tested. This is why the sample most widely used is a saliva samples collected by rubbing a swab inside the mouth. The term “saliva sample” is widely used although misleading- it is not your saliva which is analyzed but the cheek cells which get attach to the cotton ended part of the swab when it is rubbed inside the mouth.

Other samples can be used but might not offer such a high probability of success of a saliva sample. The success, in terms of extraction of genetic markers, very much depends on how old the sample is and how it has been stored. It is always best to speak to someone before sending in any samples that are not the standard oral swab samples.

It should be affordable

DNA testing does not need to run into hundreds of dollars to be reliable or accurate. You can have your mind at rest that cheap DNA testing can be very accurate. So as long as you have chosen an accredited laboratory you do not need to worry so much about the price. If you do however, come across a complete DNA test for just $50 or so dollars by a company that also claims to have accredited laboratories, you might want to ask them to provide you with a copy of their accreditation certificate.

Results should be accurate

The results of your DNA test should be accurate (although this very much depends on the type of test you do). It is always worth speaking to somebody about your DNA test so that they can explain the type of results you can expect and how accurate these will be.

Choosing the best samples for a DNA test

DNA testing can be carried out with many different samples. Even the smallest traces of genetic material can provide enough DNA to extract a genetic profile of the person to which the sample belonged.

Which sample do I choose?

dna-sample

In the vast majority of cases, the choice of samples you can actually use will be limited to one or perhaps two. Often people think that DNA can be extracted from any source but the truth is that often this is unlikely or if possible, would be far too costly for a normal direct-to-consumer DNA test. Forensic films often show experts successfully extracting DNA from the lip mark of a glass or from a single cigarette end and whilst this is possible, it requires much more thorough and advanced forensic DNA testing laboratory.

So which sample do you chose? If everyone involved in the test is actually aware of the test and willing to be tested the answer is simple: all test participants can collect their own samples of genetic material by using oral swabs. All one needs to do is rub the swab inside the mouth, under the tongue and inner cheek for about ten seconds and then allow it to dry. This sample is ideal because it always offer a high probability of successful DNA extraction.

If collecting samples with orals swabs is not possible you will need to discuss other samples which might be viable for a DNA test; perhaps nail clippings, used Kleenexes or plucked hairs. The probability of successful DNA extraction will vary depending on the type of sample you use. A used Kleenex offers a 95% success rate whilst a cigarette end offers a 65% success rate. Whilst DNA can also be extracted from a licked envelope the chances of a successful extraction of a DNA profile is of only 25% with this sample.

How do I collect and store the sample?

Different samples might require a different method of sample collection and storage. Oral swabs are the easiest because they can just be placed in a paper envelope and sent for testing. The vast majority of DNA samples should be placed in a paper envelope. Nails clippings or hairs are ideally collected with a pair of tweezers. The most problematic sample to collect, store and post is blood. Medical blood draws are a bit of a hassle to collect; postage of such as sample is also problematic- not only does it need to be packaged in such a way that the sample collection tube does not leak or break, but the sample itself will need special labels and an official certificate declaring that it is free of pathogens.

Postage and storage is not such an issue with other samples – you can in fact test a DNA sample that is several weeks old so as long as it has not been exposed to extreme temperature or chemical solutions that may have altered the DNA.

Get Most Out of Life: Be Decisive!

Undecisive
Photo by knigttingskwerlgurl

Our lives are dominated by strings of events, that revolve all around us, as a consequence of anything we do, be it quiting your job for another, taking your daughter to school or just walking on the street. Every kind of activity or action that we undertake, no matter how small or big, has an effect on us and on the people around us. Every action, has a reaction.This unfortunately brings with it a lot of pressure, for most individuals, when faced with a more or less important decision. Fear of consequences clouds their judgment and they soon begin to become indecisive.

Decisions make you powerful, active, focused, and ready to face your day. Indecision makes you procrastinate, lose initiative, gumption, and get up and go. So, in truth, making a good decision isn’t necessarily conditioned by outside variables, like money, other people or events and so on, but rather by your ability to be decisive.

There’s no real secret to becoming a decisive person, after all it’s just a mindset. So if you put your mind to it and keep telling yourself you know what you want from life, you’ll soon start becoming a more decisive person. However, here’s a few tips and techniques that will help you overpass the hump of uncertainty and make you a true leader of your life.

1. Think fast. When faced with a decision, do it fast. Don’t think too much about what might happen after you undertake the respective action. What’s done is done. Small decisions like choosing what to eat for dinner shouldn’t take more then a minute. If you’re faced with a major decision you shouldn’t take more then 10 minute to make it or 1-2 hours when you have to do some information gathering. The more you do it, the faster you’ll become and the more decisive you’ll grow.

2. Believe. Keep telling and believe in yourself that you’re a decisive individual. Don’t denigrate yourself for being indecisive. As long as you have faith in yourself and in your actions, you’ll be able to do things a lot better, and if you happen to fail, you won’t feel too bad about what happens next, because you already minimized the consequences in your head when you took the decision.

3. Be instinctual. Some decisions, no matter how much you think them over, can’t seem to reach a favorable end. The longer you think about them, the more problems and obstacles you’ll find in your path. This is where you have to turn to your natural instincts, to guide you through. Let your gut speak out.

4. Get out of the box. Forget about your preconceptions and fixed ideas about anything in particular. Clarity is extremely important for taking a good decision, so keeping an open mind is a great way to put things into perspective and in term make the best the decision.

5. Don’t be afraid. Earlier in the article I mentioned that the biggest cause for indecisiveness is fear of the consequences. While having reserves before taking an important decision is very natural you shouldn’t let them overwhelm you. Don’t be afraid to make a decision and learn to embrace failure as much as success.

6. Visualize the outcome. Look at yourself from the outside and picture you as a decisive person. How would I act then? Also when faced with a decision, visualize yourself in the completion process and then in the aftermath. Then start asking yourself, like you’ve already taken the decision and completed the task: was it worth my time? did the benefits outweigh the disadvantages? and so on.

7. Be prepare to screw up. Sometimes life takes us into directions we’d wish we never went. A thought of going back in time and taking the road on the left, always crosses our minds, but what’s done is done and you should keep it that way. Such things in life are inevitable, so the first thing you should do when it happens, is not to feel bad about it. Just look at it as a life experience, as a step up in your progression towards a complete life. There’s no such thing as a good or bad decision.

8. Act. Don’t sit on your butt all day, thinking how to act. Be proactive, take the initiative and act without fear of the outcome. Any decision is better then none at all.

7 Simple Habits To Decluttering Your Life

Clutter
Photo by the other Martin Taylor

Say what u will
Say what u mean
No, you could never offend
Your dirty words come out clean

~Incubus~

Simplicity is something we all strive for in these busy times we live in. However, one of the biggest impediments most of us face, in life, is clutter. Clutter can manifest itself in a myriad of forms, but home clutter is definitely the most devastating for our individual productivity. Trust me, when you’ve got a pile of cloths, left over cereal and after party beer cans keeping you from entering a room you know you’ve got a problem.

Clutter can hold a lot of things back from you. First thing that comes to mind is the psychological factor; you’ll get far less things done, especially if the clutter is at your work desk. Then there’s the organizational factor; it’s really easy to get things lost when you’ve got piles of junk hanging around. Some people even raise the issue of clutter being damaging to our health. And of course let’s not forget the aesthetics factor. Indeed clutter is bad for you, but let’s take a quick look on a few tips and pointers you can apply to help declutter your household and life. c

1. Start a general household cleanse. Get all the members of your family together so that you can work faster and at the same time do a fun activity together. Ok it may not be fun, but at least you’ll be close to each other.

2. Start off small. Once you’ve get everybody together, make sure everybody starts cleaning at the same place, together. This helps keep things fast and organized. By decluttering your household one room at a time, you can not only spare a lot of time and by having all the members of the family in one place, you can all decide which items to keep or throw away from the clutter.

Continue reading

6 Habits To Avoiding And Overcoming Procrastination

Procrastination
Photo by j.lee43

Try to put me in a room
Distraction less
(Everything is everything)
Spare me from worse
In the studio, I would finally burn
(All the time is all you got)
Tempted to work
~Amy Winehouse~

In short procrastination is a habit if you will, a very bad habit, that consists in putting off something for the next day. Procrastination is to blame for most of our productivity problems and yet it seems that very few people actually do something about it. And this doesn’t solely apply to your personal life either, it just as well happens in your career as well, because chances have it you’ll behave the same way at work as well. Missed opportunities, frenzied work hours, stress, overwhelm, resentment, and guilt are just a few consequences.

I’m pretty sure most of you’ve told yourselves at least once in your life I’ll do it tomorrow, I have the time or tomorrow’s another day. Ok, that’s true, but to paraphrase a common proverb, why put put for tomorrow, what you can do today? It’s safe to say that everybody knows that procrastination is hazardous, but what compels people, like you or myself, to do it? There’s a few reasons why people result to postponements like fear of the unknown, fear of change, perfectionism, fear of failure, disorganization and so on, but probably the most common reason is … laziness. That’s right folks laziness can really be a bugger, some go as far as saying it’s a terrible sickness, I personally think it’s all just a psychological issue.

Continue reading

7 Simple Cheerful Activities to Cure The Blues

Feeling Down
Photo by carf

We all have our more sad days, when we’re feeling a bit weary and down. It can be something that got you upset recently, for some it’s a seasonal thing like winter blues or it just can spring out of nowhere. I think everybody can related to at least a few similar moments during their lives, and I’m not talking about depression here either, that’s the ultimate stage in what I call “feeling like crap.” Anyway, when it happens, we all need a lift up and a pat on the back, to help us get back to enjoying life. The following is a set of 7 suggestions you might want to consider when faced with such moments, that will undoubtedly, at least, make you feel better.

  1. Listen to music. This always charges my batteries and gets me going on, no matter on. Personally I like to put a few favorite songs on queue and let them play, while I’m lying in the bed, perfectly calm (although I listen to some pretty hard stuff), trying to feel the music. I’m totally in the zone. It’s a whole Rainman experience, I know, but it does its job; you can try it too if you like, just play any kind of music that makes you feel good. I wouldn’t advise playing any depressing or mellow songs though, as they can end up causing more harm then good.
  2. Party. A party is always a good idea to cure any kind of blues; round up your buds and hit the clubs for some action, dancing is always a good idea, while alcohol is clear not. It will only make you feel crappier. But hey even yet, why not plan your own party? You never need a good reason, other then having a good time, you don’t need to plan it too much either, don’t stress out, just go with the flow; call all your mates, tell them to bring some friends too and you’re on for a great night. Themed parties are the most fun, I’m a nut for luau parties, although I’ve never been at one. Damn it! Continue reading

Napping: good or bad?

Puppies
Photo by Back in the Pack

So Sgt. Pepper took you by surprise
You better see right through that mother’s eyes
Those freaks was right when they said you was dead
The one mistake you made was in your head
Ah, how do you sleep?
Ah, how do you sleep at night?

~John Lennon~

The benefits of napping have been argued for years, by the world’s finest sleep statisticians and researchers, with mixed opinions. Some argue napping is bad for you, as it causes instability to your internal clock and sleep disorders, while other believe naps to be very healthy and quite recommend it. General thought is that for every two hours you are awake you accumulate one hour of “sleep debt”. (16 awake and 8 asleep fits nicely into a 24 hour day, eh what?) If you don’t pay off your debt during your nightly sleep, it carries over until you do get it paid off. Your nap probably serves to push back how early you can fall asleep at night.

Lately a new term has been coined by specialists, called “power napping,” that consists in napping a full hour, during which your energy levels should be at a maximum. So in layman’s terms, grabbing an hour’s sleep during the day may be as beneficial as a whole night in bed, according to scientists. Of course some sleep during the night is needed, don’t think  it’s possible for a man, who hasn’t slept for over 24 hours, to recuperate a night time of sleep in the course of one hour. Even the brains agree, as experts say that a full night’s sleep is still necessary for many vital body functions, even though a short sleep may boost learning and memory.

Continue reading