Monday, August 18, 2008

DNA Test Update. Kit sent out 8/15/2008.

I have been slow in getting this DNA testing project going. I have had several major events that have been holding me back from its completion. Between a softball tournament, a funeral, my son's first birthday party, my eighth wedding anniversary and my wife going on a business trip, the last two or three weeks have been busy. Here we go with what I have to date...

To recap, it took less than a week to receive our test kit from Family Tree DNA. That was around the 29th of July. I was supposed to get the test done on August 2nd but my softball tournament ran long and I missed the opportunity. The subject of the test ended up at my house on August 14th, to my complete surprise, so we did the test then and there. My wife videoed one swab of the test but I have yet to get it off her camera. She wants the memory card cleared off so I will try to do it soon.

Flash back to when I opened the kit, I found inside a welcome letter, instruction sheet, a return envelope (without postage), the bill and the test kit itself (not shown in this photo). The bill indicated that payment is due when you send the kit back. They accept check, money order or credit card, all in US funds obviously. They do not provide return postage, you have to put your own on the envelope. They tell you the correct amount in the instructions, I think it was in the $1.25 range. I stuck a bunch of old postcard stamps on mine to get rid of them!

The basic test kit included three vials of preservation solution, three test swabs/sticks, a release form and a zipper bag. The overall concept is pretty simple. You swab the inside of your mouth for about a minute, rubbing your cheeks with the provided swabs. The sticks are somewhat like a Q-Tip but the are a little more rigid and have dull teeth on them, they look somewhat like a little toothbrush.

After taking a swab, you try not to touch it too much and put the collection end of the stick into a vial of the solution. This process is so simple that I screwed it up in the video. All you have to do is press the end of the stick and the head is ejected from the swab. I tried to break it off, which worked, but was quite difficult. I would advise doing it the correct way and just pressing the "eject" button. (It seems to me that the collection method has changed slightly since I did my own test several years ago, but I could be wrong)!

The written instructions advise that you should wait several hours before doing the second and third swabs. I am pretty sure you are not supposed to swab after you eat so this could be difficult. I would perhaps do the first swab after few hours after dinner, the second after awhile and the third when you go to bed. I guess you will just have to give up snacking for one night.

When all of the swabs are taken and sealed in their individual vials, put the vials into the zipper bag and seal them up. Sign the release form to share your results with others if you choose, pay the bill and seal it all up in the return envelope. Apply some postage and send the kit with your mailman the next day. I mailed our test kit on Friday, August 15, 2008 so the clock is ticking. I will let you know when the results arrive (or when I am notified that they have received the kit).

As for the video, I should have it online soon. It is nothing terribly special but it is a little bit funny. Check back soon...

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