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Steps To Downloading Your Raw DNA Files
Updated on September 13, 2023
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Steps To Downloading Your Raw DNA Files
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When you take a DNA test, you won’t just get reports about your ancestry, health, and other genetic traits. The company may also provide you with a copy of your raw DNA.

Your raw data file contains all the genetic variants found in your genes. The best DNA tests will let you download it.

Downloading your DNA file is usually a quick process. But the steps are slightly different for every provider. Below are guides on how to download DNA data from six companies:

  • Ancestry
  • 23andMe
  • LivingDNA
  • MyHeritage
  • Family Tree DNA
  • GPS Origins
Steps To Downloading Your Raw DNA Files 2

How To Download Your DNA Data From DNA Companies

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Why Download Your Raw DNA Data?

One of the reasons why people download their data is privacy. If you’re not that concerned with your privacy, another good reason to download your data is you can upload it to other DNA services.

1. Protect Your Privacy

After downloading your data, you can secure it by storing it in a device that you own and deleting the raw DNA data from a testing company’s database.

If the company’s terms of service don’t specifically prohibit it, they can use your genetic data for research, sell it, or share it with third parties as long as it's on their database.

There is a chance your information could be used in ways that are harmful to you. For example, insurance companies or employers might use your DNA test results against you.

Even if you're protected by the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), it can still happen.

Unless you opt for the most private DNA testing companies, law enforcement can use your genetic information against you or someone you care about as well.

There have been cases of police officers and criminal prosecutors using DNA data to locate suspects or their relatives.

Once your data has been used for scientific research or shared with third parties, you won't be able to track down who has accessed it, let alone delete it.

This is why it’s so important to download and delete your data as soon as possible. If you wait, companies might have already sold or shared your information.

2. Upload Raw DNA Data

There are several things you can do with your raw genetic data once you have downloaded it. One of your options is to upload your DNA file to genetic companies.

Uploading your data to DNA sites will allow you to gain more insights into your genetic profile. For example, they can use your raw data to:

  • Check for variants that were not previously identified by your genetic test
  • Find DNA matches (potential relatives) and expand your family tree

Is It Legal To Download Your Genetic Data?

Yes! Taking a DNA test does not transfer “ownership” of your DNA to a testing company.

While you give them consent to perform DNA analysis on your submitted DNA samples, your genetic information remains your own. This means you can download your data and use it in any way you like.

What Happens After I Download My DNA?

Most DNA companies will keep your DNA file stored in their database unless you delete it or request to have it deleted.

They will likely continue to use your information to help other members trace their ancestral origins or find potential relatives.

Some genetic services might share your information with third parties without your consent. But a company that values your privacy will require your permission.

Read the DNA company’s privacy policies to know how they will use and store your data. Only sign the consent form if you’re comfortable with the way they handle it.

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Updated on September 13, 2023
Ada Sandoval
Ada Sandoval
Content Contributor
Ada Sandoval is a B.S. in Nursing graduate and a registered nurse with a heart for abandoned animals. She works as a content writer who specializes in medical-related articles and pet health.
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