Do you have a knack for remembering names and numbers or are you the type of person who forgets things from one moment to the next? Find out if you have the proverbial memory of an elephant by taking this test.
Read each question carefully and answer as truthfully as possible. After finishing the Memory Test, you will receive a detailed, personalized interpretation of your score that includes diagrams and information on the test topic.
This test is intended for informational and entertainment purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional diagnosis or for the treatment of any health condition. If you would like to seek the advice of a licensed mental health professional you can search Psychology Today's directory here.
American Liver Foundation: “Liver Function Tests.”
KidsHealth: “Blood Test: (Liver) Hepatic Function Panel.”
Mayo Clinic: “Cirrhosis,” “Hepatitis B,” “Liver Function Tests.”
Royal Society of Chemistry: “Enzymes.”
World Health Organization: “What Is Hepatitis?”
Lab Tests Online: “Liver Panel,” “Tips on Blood Testing.”
University of Rochester Medical Center: “D-Dimer.”
American College of Gastroenterology: "ACG Practice Guideline: Evaluation of Abnormal Liver Chemistries."
Cleveland Clinic: “Tests to Diagnose Gallstone Disease.”
Everybody worries or gets the odd case of butterflies in the stomach. But are you missing out on opportunities and happiness because of fears and worries? Is anxiety interfering with your life? While moderate anxiety can be limiting, severe anxiety can be crippling. Anxiety currently afflicts more than 20 million Americans, making it the most common mental illness in the US. Find out if you're too anxious with this anxiety test. It will determine whether you should consider seeking help, and to what degree. For each statement in the questionnaire, please indicate how often you feel that way.
After finishing this test you will receive a FREE snapshot report with a summary evaluation and graph. You will then have the option to purchase the full results for $6.95
This test is intended for informational and entertainment purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional diagnosis or for the treatment of any health condition. If you would like to seek the advice of a licensed mental health professional you can search Psychology Today's directory here.
Campaign to Create Tomorrow
Learn more about The Ottawa Hospital's $500-million fundraising campaign, the largest in our city’s history, which will transform the future of healthcare in Ottawa.
It’s probably not a secret to those doing a lot of focused work in the space, but when it comes to generative AI, it’s quickly becoming apparent that how a user interfaces with generative models and systems is at least as important as the underlying training and inference technology. The latest, and I think best example, comes via OpenAI’s ChatGPT, which launched as a free research preview for anyone to try this week.
In case you haven’t seen the buzz around ChatGPT yet, it’s basically an implementation of their new GPT-3.5 natural language generation technology, but implemented in such a way that you just chat with it in a web browser as if you were slacking with a colleague or interacting with a customer support agent on a website.
OpenAI has already made waves with its DALL-E image generation technology, and its GPT series has drawn attention with each successive release (and occasional existential dread on the part of writers). But the latest chat-style iteration has seemingly broadened its appeal and audience, in some ways moving the conversation from “wow, undergrads are going to use this to submit bad but workable term papers” to “wow, this could actually help me debug code that I intend to put in production.”
Examples so far in the wild seem to show that it’s actually getting much better at the term paper thing, but that it still has work to do when it comes to avoiding a few typical pitfalls for AI chatbots, including presenting misinformation as fact. But obviously its engagement is through the roof, and people seem to be much more impressed with ChatGPT than they were with GPT-3, at least (though that is in part due to the fact that it’s a new release with improved core inference technology as well as a new interaction paradigm).
My own example of why I think this is so powerful is timely, if mundane: I asked ChatGPT to provide me with all the various Pokémon type strengths and weaknesses, and it delivered exactly what I always hope Google will every time I enter a Tera Raid in the new Pokémon Scarlet game and have to try to remember what counters what.
To wit:Notice I wasn’t at all fancy with my query; it’s about as simple as I can get while still being clear about my request. And the result is exactly what I’m looking for — not a list of things that can probably help me find what I’m looking for if I’m willing to put in the time, which is what Google returns:
The potential for something like OpenAI’s ChatGPT to eventually supplant a search engine like Google isn’t a new idea, but this delivery of OpenAI’s underlying technology is the closest approximation yet to how that would actually work in a fully fleshed out system, and it should have Google scared.
ChatGPT is also the best-yet expression of something startups and entrepreneurs looking at the space should already know: The gold rush in generative AI will be driven by developing novel, defensible businesses built around how it shows up, less so than what’s under the hood.
Jim Pauley, President and CEO, National Fire Protection Association.
In the past two and a half years, the resiliency of U.S. businesses has been put to the test. When faced with an earth-shattering global pandemic, many organizations realized they were not as operationally resilient as they had previously thought.
But as businesses across the country were forced to adopt additional measures toward digital transformation, many learned from previous mistakes and shored up their defenses to cultivate long-term organizational resiliency. With the U.S. economy still in a state of flux—between widespread labor shortages, spiking inflation and a potential impending recession—resiliency is more of a buzzword than ever.
This trend works in parallel with the fire and life industry where, in the physical sense, resiliency is a critical foundational pillar of everything we do. The goal is to construct and maintain resilient buildings that are both safe and resistant to fire, electrical and gas emergencies.
Digital tools can help professionals not only establish resilience in the things they create but also in the way they run their organizations. And frankly, in order to stay competitive in an evolving digital work landscape, drive efficiencies and ensure accuracy and safety, organizations need digital tools that will stand the test of time. That means adopting digital tools that preserve generational knowledge, attract and retain younger candidates and encourage professional growth.
With the acceleration of baby boomers retiring, this trend could be especially consequential to the trade industry. The average electrician, for example, is around 42 (though in some states, like Massachusetts, the average age is 55). The average construction worker is 41.
As seasoned industry veterans retire by the masses, it will be critical to ensure their generational wisdom doesn’t leave organizations alongside them. Fortunately, emerging digital tools are becoming instrumental in documenting, retaining and democratizing that expertise for future generations of talent.
With collaborative digital hubs, experienced professionals can create notes, bookmark material and curate collections of those notes and bookmarks to share across teams. This creates a central historical repository of expertise for young or new employees to use when training, onboarding and seeking professional development.
In the age of the Great Retirement, organizations need to appeal to younger demographics if they want to stand the test of time. Millennials and Gen Z, especially, can become easily frustrated by outdated processes, so it is important for you to invest in the proper digital tools that can help streamline communication and collaboration between disparate teams in a hybrid and remote work environment, thus helping retain talent and get projects completed more quickly.
In the building design and construction process, for example, everyone from the architect to the facility manager and the army of contractors can collaborate on one digital platform. This ensures everyone is looped in on the criteria and aligned on the goals and next steps from the outset. And for organizations taking advantage of digital tools to drive these efficiencies, it becomes a competitive edge in talent recruitment, training and retention.
As cliché as the old “teach a man to fish” adage is, it still rings true in our modern society. In order to drive long-term self-reliance and professional growth, organizations need to prioritize the democratization of valuable knowledge, skills and industry expertise. Instilling self-reliance within your workforce is a key aspect in driving long-term organizational resilience. However, it’s difficult to cultivate this culture when knowledge is not easily accessible to all employees.
Digital tools put the source of knowledge in employees’ hands and empower them to make more informed decisions when faced with challenges in the field.
For example, let’s say a young electrician is tasked with wiring a generator—a feat he has not yet performed. He might call up the foreman, super or resident NFPA codes and standards expert to ask about the relevant requirements from a fire and life safety perspective. Or perhaps he’ll turn to his code book to search for relevant material. But what if the codes and standards expert is on vacation that day, the electrician doesn’t have the right NFPA publication with him or he simply doesn’t have the time to sift through hundreds of pages of code?
Within a digital platform, the electrician could easily find the answers to his own questions without relying on a colleague or the presence of a physical book. While experienced individuals will always be needed, by utilizing digital tools, employees can access, search and add bookmarks across multiple publications at once in order to supplement this expertise.
By leveraging digital tools, I see organizations as more equipped to deal with the highs and lows of the industry and foster sustainable success. By democratizing resources, preserving generational expertise, promoting professional growth and using technology as a means to attract fresh, tech-savvy talent, technology can be a huge driver in organizational resiliency. And when organizations can rest assured that they are operating efficiently and compliantly, safety can remain the top priority.
Forbes Business Council is the foremost growth and networking organization for business owners and leaders. Do I qualify?
Fictionary co-founder and CEO Kristina Stanley has worked in a wide variety of different jobs, from manager of broadband planning at Nortel to the director of employee, safety, and guest services for an Eastern British Columbia ski resort, to author of mystery novels.
But one of Stanley’s most difficult jobs was figuring out how to edit her own manuscripts while writing The Stone Mountain Mystery Series. As she told BetaKit in an interview, “it’s really, really difficult to edit a book from a story level. You’ve got thousands and thousands of elements that you have to keep track of and make them work together.”
“We’re trying to help the average person who doesn’t have an ‘in’ in the publishing industry get a really good book out there, get an agent, or get a publisher.”
-Kristina Stanley, Fictionary
Initially, Stanley tackled this problem using a combination of Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and graphs. But she soon realized that other authors likely faced the exact same issue, and set out to build a better way by combining her tech and writing background.
Today, Stanley’s software startup Fictionary aims to offer an alternative. Amid a wide field of solutions that help writers and editors with specific parts of the process, like spelling, grammar, style, structure, and publishing, Fictionary hones in on perhaps the most important and challenging part: producing a good story.
Fuelled by $1.8 million CAD in seed funding, Fictionary aims to help writers and editors around the world produce quality stories more quickly and affordably. With this capital, the Inverary, Ontario startup, based just north of Kingston, plans to move into non-fiction and start selling to other publishers and agencies to expand its community of users.
The startup’s all-equity round, which closed in September, was co-led by StandUp Ventures and BDC Capital’s Thrive Venture Fund, with support from The51 and a group of angels that includes Women’s Equity Lab general partner Sally Morris. For newly launched Thrive, Fictionary marks the fund’s third investment to date, after investing in Acerta and Private AI.
Stanley founded Fictionary in 2016 alongside her husband, Mathew (COO), who also previously worked at Nortel and has a background in tech, and her brother, Michael Conn, Fictionary’s former CTO, who has since left the company.
Initially, Fictionary focused solely on writers, before expanding to meet demand for a similar offering from editors. Today, Fictionary offers three subscription software products for writers and editors that range in price from $19 to $49 monthly, sells online courses, and provides a community for writers and editors to connect.
Fictionary’s software helps writers visualize their story arc by analyzing key story elements with artificial intelligence (AI) and gauging how their manuscript compares to fundamental storytelling components.
RELATED: With new Thrive platform, BDC commits half a billion dollars to invest in Canadian women-led startups and funds
“We’re trying to help the average person who doesn’t have an ‘in’ in the publishing industry get a really good book out there, get an agent, or get a publisher,” said Stanley.
On the editor side of the equation, the company claims its offering enables editors to provide better, deeper story edits in less time, increasing the quality and profitability of editors’ services.
The writing and editing software space features a ton of players, from Grammarly to Scrivener, Novel Factory, and Canada’s Wattpad. According to Stanley, Fictionary is unique within the sectors in terms of its focus on storytelling elements and its use of AI. “We’re it right now as far as, there’s an automated way to do this, and have software for it,” said Stanley.
“While there are other platforms endeavoring to address this gap in the market, there doesn’t appear to be a single player who is able to look at the writing and editing process in a comprehensive and meaningful way, which puts Fictionary at a sizeable advantage to lead the charge and expand into new markets and segments,” Michelle Scarborough, managing partner of BDC Capital’s Thrive Venture Fund, told BetaKit.
RELATED: StandUp Ventures reveals second fund dedicated to women-led startups with $30 million first close
Fictionary previously secured $100,000 in grant funding from Creative BC and raised $245,000 in pre-seed funding in 2019 from a group of angels that included Shopify co-founder Scott Lake, Stephanie Andrew of Women’s Equity Lab, and FirstEditing founder and CEO JoEllen Taylor.
According to Stanley, following that pre-seed round, Fictionary reached breakeven cash flow and had to decide whether to keep going on its current track or set its sights higher.
Following some discussions with StandUp Ventures, Fictionary decided to embark on a new chapter and raise more venture capital to tackle the opportunity it sees in this space amid the rise of self-publishing. “We have a great product, we’ve got product-market fit, we’ve got a market, so let’s just go for it,” said Stanley.
“The love for the product Fictionary users articulate so regularly is rare, and indicative of the power and impact the tool brings to its customers,” said StandUp Ventures senior associate Lucas Perlman, who is joining Fictionary’s board as part of the round. “The self-publishing world has exploded, and we believe Fictionary is poised to become a de-facto part of the story writing toolkit for writers and editors around the globe.”
RELATED: Wattpad’s new leader is focused on creator value
For her part, Scarborough said the Thrive Venture Fund sees “a sizeable opportunity [for Fictionary] in the fast-growing creator economy space—a market with many dimensions—within writing and editing, screenwriting, non-fiction, and beyond.”
To date, Fictionary has focused entirely on fiction but Stanley said the startup’s roadmap includes moving into non-fiction, where the CEO sees plenty of potential to apply its tech to helping people tell their own life stories. Fictionary also sees an opportunity to help agencies and publishers clear the slush pile of submitted manuscripts.
As it looks to build out its own community of writers and editors, Fictionary follows in the footsteps of Wattpad, which parlayed its vibrant self-publishing community of writers and readers—and the content produced by them—into a $754 million CAD acquisition last year.
After discussions with StandUp, Fictionary decided to embark on a new chapter.
“Wattpad is very inspirational for us,” said Stanley. “They are different in the sense that people write their stories in the community, where we help writers take those stories and turn them into powerful stories readers love. Their community is a great lead-in to Fictionary for writers needing to edit their stories.”
As the startup charts its growth strategy amid an uncertain economic environment, Stanley is confident that Fictionary is well-positioned to grow during this period, noting that people tend to write more when they are stressed. Back when COVID-19 first hit and everyone was cooped up, the CEO said people begin writing more, and demand for Fictionary rose. Heading into what could be a deep downturn, Stanley believes Fictionary is in a good spot given that it offers a tool to help people do their passion without spending a lot of money.
What Perlman finds most exciting is the appreciation Fictionary’s customers have for the startup’s product, noting that writers “pour countless hours into their stories and writing books is an emotional and very personal thing to take on.”
“Fictionary has removed a major hurdle that stopped these creators from bringing their stories into the world,” Perlman told BetaKit. “The impact of that really comes through when you speak to their customers and see feedback from their community.”
Feature image courtesy Fictionary.
You can learn all about your ancestry, medical predispositions, physical condition and more with a simple at-home DNA test. It's never been easier or more affordable to try one out if you're curious. There are multiple different DNA tests out there right now that can teach you all about yourwithout even having to go to a doctor's office. Below, we'll break down the best DNA test options on the market so you can find the one that will work best for you.
Though it's a thorny and controversial topic, some tests also claim to reveal your "ethnicity." There are also DNA test services that can shed light on your genetic predisposition for diseases and physiological traits, ranging from your eye color to your tolerance for cilantro.
While they used to cost about $1,000 back in the 2000s, you can now get a sophisticated DNA data analysis of your genetic makeup for a fraction of that price, thanks to trailblazers such asand , and upstarts like .
There are three types of DNA tests -- each with its own particular strengths, limitations and rationales.
Each testing company will supply you an analysis of your DNA test results. These results could include your geographical origin -- some claim to be able to pinpoint a specific country, town or even "tribe" -- as well as your genetic ancestry composition and your susceptibility to particular genetic diseases. We should note that these tests don't serve a diagnostic purpose. A doctor-administered genetic test and a follow-up with a genetic counselor is important if you think you have a genetic disease. No online testing company offering results from a saliva trial can substitute for a health test administered by your doctor.
Certain companies will also serve up "matches" from their DNA databases, which will supply you a head start on connecting with possible relatives and offer some degree of family-tree research support. AncestryDNA, for example, offers a subscription service that includes access to hundreds of databases containing birth, death and marriage announcements, census documents, newspaper archives and other historical records.
Some DNA companies sell tests designed for specific ethnicities or specialized kits that claim to shed light on your optimal skin care regimen or weight; others offer tests designed to identify the genetic makeup of your cat or dog. (Yes, you can get a dog DNA test.) The experts I spoke to were dubious of the efficacy and value of these tests, however, and recommended avoiding them.
Though there's no blood involved with modern DNA testing -- you either swab the inside of your cheek or fill a small test tube with your saliva -- there are plenty of reasons to be wary of the companies that sell these kits. Your success in DNA test genealogy is largely dependent on supplying highly personal information about yourself and your relatives, from your genetic data to your mother's maiden name (a traditional cornerstone of password security).
Concerns over data privacy and security are well-founded, and experts warn that regulation,, lags far behind the technology. You should also know that some DNA testing companies and . Bottom line: Think critically before volunteering information about your health history and familial connections to any DNA testing company or organization.
DNA testing, and genealogy more broadly, involves a complicated mixture of genetics, probabilities and guesswork. The various DNA testing services use different labs, algorithms, equipment and criteria to analyze your genetic material. Although you should expect some degree of overlap between analyses from different companies, they may differ significantly. There's also an element of critical mass -- the larger the company's database, the larger the trial they use to analyze your results, and the more accurate your test result should be.
We tried some of the top DNA testing services, assessing the breadth and depth of their offerings, methodologies, reputation and price. Take a look at our recommendations below.
Founded in 2006, 23andMe is one of the pioneers of DNA testing for consumers. In 2017 it became the first such service to win the FDA's approval as a risk screener for diseases. It has become one of the most well-known DNA testing companies -- and well-funded, since taking in a $300 million stake from GlaxoSmithKline, which uses the company's customer data to research and design new drugs. Still, the company recently announced a round of layoffs, citing a slowdown in the DNA testing market likely caused by increasing concerns about privacy.
23andMe segments its analysis into three main categories -- health, ancestry and traits. The basic ancestry and traits test, which is now on sale for $79, includes an analysis of your genetic makeup including your regions of origin, maternal and paternal lineage and Neanderthal ancestry. Once you opt in, the company's match database -- which has more than 10 million profiles -- will identify and offer to connect you with people who share a DNA match with you.
The company's DNA health test, which is on sale for $129, adds information about your genetic predisposition for late-onset Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and other diseases. The service also includes analysis of your carrier status as a potential genetic carrier for disorders like Cystic Fibrosis and Sickle Cell Anemia as well as indicators for lactose intolerance and other "wellness" issues. The Premium Membership bundle, currently on sale for $159, provides priority lab processing, premium customer support and a personalized walkthrough of your results.
I found 23andMe's website and mobile app very easy to navigate and brimming with interesting, comprehensible information about both my ancestry and health as well as the science of genetics and genealogy. The main dashboard offers intuitive links to exploring your ancestry, learning about the genetic risks for health conditions, building out a family tree and connecting with relatives. Among all of the DNA tests I tried, 23andMe delivered the best introduction to my exact and ancient genealogy along with an analysis of my genetic health. The only real drawback is that it does not offer integrated access to historical documents.
23andMe does provide easy access to a full range of privacy preferences and consent options, however. (That noted, 23andMe's terms of service and privacy statement is among the most extensive, exceeding 20,000 words.) You can ask the company to store your saliva trial indefinitely for future testing or have them discard it. Having signed off when I first signed up, I subsequently changed my mind about giving the company permission to share my data with researchers outside of 23andMe, and was able to retract my consent with the click of a button.
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Founded in Utah in the 1990s, Ancestry.com -- the parent company of AncestryDNA -- started out as a publishing and genealogy company. Since then, it has had a somewhat tumultuous corporate existence, having been bought, sold, publicly traded and then purchased by private equity groups.
The company's basic DNA kit service, currently on sale for $59, provides you with an "ethnicity estimate" derived from its proprietary sequencing techniques. It's noteworthy that the company's genetic testing, which is outsourced to Quest Diagnostics, is distinct from most other companies that use paternal Y chromosome and/or maternal mitochondrial DNA methodologies, and less is known about the particular criteria it uses.
That noted, AncestryDNA says its database contains more than 18 million profiles, making it the largest of all of the DNA test kit services. The company also maintains a powerful tool for searching through hundreds of historical document databases -- but any substantive research will quickly bring you to a paywall. Ancestry's databases are further bolstered by its partnership with FamilySearch.org, a genealogical records site run by the Mormon church.
An entry-level membership, which provides access to more than 6 billion records in the US, costs $119 for six months or $25 per month, after a free two-week trial. The "World Explorer" membership, for $40 per month, broadens your access to the company's 27 billion international records, and the "All Access" tier, starting at $60 per month, includes unlimited access to Ancestry's historical and contemporary database of more than 15,000 newspapers and military records from around the world.
AncestryDNA offers a personalized health report with "actionable insights," access to genetic counseling resources, an online tool to help you map your family's health over generations and a next-generation sequencing service for screening your genetic risk for heart disease, some cancers and blood disorders. Still, the results are not diagnostic -- though the test result must be approved by one of the company's physicians -- and the service does not have FDA approval. For now, 23andMe maintains the advantage when it comes to introductory DNA testing for health risks and genetic screening. But AncestryDNA's service is particularly well-suited for leveraging an introductory DNA analysis into deep historical research to build out a family tree.
AncestryDNA allows you to get your full DNA results profile and upload the raw data into other tools, and it provides reasonably good control over your privacy preferences, though the options are not as granular as others.
Founded in 2000, FamilyTreeDNA offers a comprehensive suite of reports and interactive tools to analyze your DNA and build a family tree. With a credible claim to "the world's most comprehensive DNA matching database," FamilyTreeDNA offers all three types of tests -- autosomal DNA, Y-DNA and mtDNA. And it's the sole company to own and operate its own testing facility: The Gene-by-Gene genetic lab, located in Houston.
The company's entry-level "Family Finder" package usually costs $79, though its testing kit is currently on sale for less. The test results provide information about your ethnic and geographic origins, identifies potential relatives and offers access to the company's massive DNA database. I paid $275 for a broad DNA test that included analysis of my mtDNA and Y-DNA -- tests that currently cost $119 and $79, respectively, when you buy them individually -- as well as the "Family Finder," the company's $39 autosomal test.
Though the user interface is a bit more complicated than what you'll find on other sites, FamilyTreeDNA provides the most complete suite of introductory tools of any provider I tested. For each type of test, you are presented with matches -- I got more than 22,000 for my autosomal DNA test -- a chromosome browser, migration maps, haplogroups and connections to ancestral reference populations, information about mutations and a link that allows you to get your raw data. Suffice to say, there are numerous threads to pull on to learn about yourself, your family and your health.
FamilyTree also offers a number of higher-end tests, for those interested in digging deeper, including a range of Y-DNA tests that will trace the path of your male ancestors and the history of your surname. The company also allows you to upload raw DNA data files from other services and transfer your autosomal information to its database to expand your universe of matches and relationships.
From a data security and privacy perspective, there are several things I find appealing about FamilyTreeDNA. The company does its own DNA testing in house, processing and storing your trial in its lab. Posted prominently on the front page of its website is a promise that the company will never sell your DNA to third parties. Like most other companies, however, FamilyTreeDNA may use your aggregate genetic information for internal research and may comply with requests from law enforcement -- unless you opt out.
The three services above are our top choices for the best DNA test. But they weren't the only ones we tested. What follows are some additional options, none of which eclipsed the 23andMe, Ancestry or FamilyTreeDNA in any significant fashion.
Based in Israel, MyHeritage was founded in 2003, and like a number of other services profiled here, started out as a genealogy software platform. Over time, it acquired a number of historical databases and eventually added DNA testing in 2016. (MyHeritage outsources its DNA analysis to FamilyTreeDNA.) In 2018, MyHeritage committed, exposing the email addresses and hashed passwords of more than 92 million users.
MyHeritage offers a free tier of service that includes some basic family tree-building and access to excerpts of historical documents. It won't get you too far.
The basic DNA testing and analysis service, which is now on sale for $36, includes the usual fare -- a report of your genetic makeup across the company's 42 supported ethnicities, the identification of relatives and connections to them where possible. All things considered, I preferred FamilyTreeDNA's presentation of my DNA information. But MyHeritage highlighted a first cousin living in the US, with whom I shared about 15% of my DNA, and offered to show me her family tree -- if I paid a $209 annual subscription fee.
Yes, that's expensive -- a free 14-day trial is available -- but the company maintains an impressive online database of historical documents that includes 3.5 billion profiles in addition to information about over 100 million subscribers and their collective 46 million family trees. This enormous database is powered by Geni.com, a genealogy social media site that's also MyHeritage's parent company. According to the New York Times, Geni.com has assembled "the world's largest, scientifically vetted family tree."
In 2019, MyHeritage launched a health test similar to the one offered by 23andMe. As part of this effort, the company partnered with, a network of US physicians who oversee the process. I was required to complete a personal and family health history questionnaire -- it was 16 questions -- which was then ostensibly reviewed by a doctor. Though the company says it may recommend a "genetic counseling" session administered by PWNHealth, my health results were simply delivered along with my ancestry analysis.
On the plus side, I like MyHeritage's straightforward access to a range of comprehensible privacy preferences. Still, overall, I found MyHeritage's user interface far less intuitive and more difficult to navigate than others. Though the company's offering is broad -- it's one of the few to offer a comprehensive research database of historical documents, DNA analysis and health screening -- I found the integration among them to be a bit clumsy.
Living DNA describes itself as a "consumer genealogy DNA service that does not sell or share customers' DNA or data with third parties," which gives you a sense of its priorities -- or, at least, its sense of customers' concerns. LivingDNA's headquarters in the UK may also be a factor in its distinctive mission statement, as it is subject to.
LivingDNA divides its offerings in a different way than others. The $59 autosomal DNA kit provides an overview of your ancestry in 80 geographical regions and information about maternal and paternal haplogroups and access to the company's genetic matching tool. The $69 "wellbeing package" includes reports about your physiological compatibility with vitamins, foods and exercise. And the $89 DNA ancestry and well-being package gives you all of it.
Recent ancestry results are presented with a breakdown of percentage by country as well as the percentage attributable to more detailed regions, as well as the origin and migration path of haplogroups. In February 2020, LivingDNA introduced an African Ancestry DNA test report that features data on 72 regions in Africa and, according to the company, "five times the detail of any other test on the market." The report is available for free to existing customers.
That noted, the company has a very limited family match database; a company representative declined to supply me a specific number but said that it contained less than 1 million profiles. My wife, who took the test, returned exactly zero matches. So, if you're looking to identify and make connections with relatives, there are better choices in the market. That noted, LivingDNA has a very solid reputation for both the quality of its DNA analysis and privacy terms among experienced genealogists.
There are a number of companies -- including, , and -- that can sequence all of your DNA, otherwise known as your genome. This level of analysis is appropriate for advanced users only. Not only is it expensive -- these tests can run into the thousands of dollars, in some cases -- it requires a sophisticated understanding of both genetics and a range of technical tools required to explore and interpret your results.
The least expensive whole genome tests cost. (Though it is on sale for $99 right now.) For example, Full Genome's 30X test -- which scans every targeted location of your genome 30 times on average -- is considered the standard for a clinical analysis. It costs $799.
For most people, the main rationale for sequencing the whole genome is to dive deep into your genetic health outlook. You can glean your personal risk factors for diseases, drug sensitivities and your status as a carrier; that is, what you might pass on to your kids. But there are also plenty of applications for advanced genealogical projects.
All of these efforts can also be undertaken -- to a less intense degree -- with some of the more affordable options outlined above. But whole genome sequencing provides a significantly more comprehensive, accurate and high-resolution analysis.
If you want to dip your toe into this realm. you might want to start with Nebula Genomics. You can alsoand get Nebula's reports at a reduced price.
HomeDNA sells testing kits under a number of brands, including DNA Origins, and has a retail presence at Walmart, CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreens. The company's tests claim to combine genetic research and "ancestral tracking" techniques that can identify the town or village where your ancestors originated with a high degree of accuracy. Many experts dispute these claims.
The company offers a range of ancestry testing services starting at $69. That's the price for the maternal and paternal lineage kits and the "Starter Ancestry Test," which uses DNA markers to develop an estimate of your origins in Europe, Indigenous America, East Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa -- and shows you the modern population groups that share your DNA. The $124 "Advanced Ancestry Test" expands the analysis to 80,000 autosomal genetic markets, 1,000 reference populations and 41 gene pools.
I'll note that the HomeDNA test kit contained no warning about not eating or drinking for any period of time prior to taking the test -- unlike every other kit I used. And of the four swabs the company sent, one broke. The test kit just didn't seem as rigorously hygienic as the others.
For $199, HomeDNA claims that the Asian Edition of its GPS Origins Ancestry Test can analyze 17 Asia-specific gene pools and hundreds of Asia-specific reference populations. In addition to a $164 paternity kit, the company also sells a variety of specific kits to determine your sensitivities to particular animals and foods, one to help you achieve a healthy weight, and another that promises to "unlock your skin's full potential."
For $39, the company will allow you to upload a raw data file from another DNA testing service and pinpoint your origin to a particular town or city. There are also kits to help you screen your dog or cat for genetic diseases and traits.
But this company doesn't have a sterling reputation in the genetic genealogy world. When we recently spoke with Debbie Kennett, a genetic genealogist from University College London, she referenced the company's notoriety for delivering "bizarre results" and expressed doubt about the efficacy of its specialized tests for particular ethnic groups. HomeDNA did not respond to CNET's inquiry about its testing process or results.
And the HomeDNA reports don't stack up particularly well against those returned by other companies. Results are summarized on a single webpage, though you also get a PDF that certifies that you've "undergone DNA testing" and shows the continents and countries where your DNA originates. The company also throws in a boilerplate 20-page explainer about DNA science and technology. HomeDNA does not offer access to any matching databases -- so there's no obvious next step or any actionable data that comes with your results. Given this, I'd recommend choosing a different DNA testing service.
Claiming to have the most comprehensive database of African lineages, African Ancestry promises to trace its customers' ancestry back to a specific country and identify their "ethnic group origin." But a number of experienced genealogists have cited issues with this company's marketing claims and science.
Unlike most other companies, African Ancestry doesn't offer an autosomal DNA test. Instead, it offers an mtDNA test or a Y-DNA test (for males only). In contrast to your standard DNA analysis, African Ancestry's report doesn't provide the percentage of DNA that's likely to have originated across a range of regions. Instead, African Ancestry claims to trace your DNA to a specific region of Africa.
According to experts, however, African Ancestry's DNA tests come up short. As explained in a blog post by African American genetic genealogist Shannon Christmas, the company's methodology simply doesn't analyze a sufficient number of DNA markers to deliver on its marketing promises.
Furthermore, he writes, "Ethnicity is a complex concept, a concept not as rooted in genetics as it is in sociopolitical and cultural constructs. There is no DNA test that can assign anyone to an African ethnic group or what some refer to as an 'African tribe.'" African Ancestry isn't the only company that claims to be able to determine your ethnicity or "ethnic group of origin." But its claim to narrow things down to a single "tribe" of origin is overblown, as any African tribe would ostensibly contain multiple haplogroups.
In an email to CNET, African Ancestry responded: "African Ancestry makes it clear that ethnic groups are social and cultural groupings, not genetic ones. However, based on extensive genetic research of African lineages performed by African Ancestry's co-founder and Scientific Director (who holds a Ph.D. in Biology and specializes in human genetics), we find that contrary to laymen's beliefs, there are ethnic groups that share genetic lineages. Our results pinpoint genetic lineages that share the same genetics as our test takers. Given the vast number of lineages in our African Lineage Database, we are able to provide the ethnic groups of the people with that shared lineage."
The company's PatriClan Test analyzes eight Y-chromosome STRs and the YAP, which it says is a critical identifier for African lineages; and the MatriClan Test analyzes three regions of the mitochondrial DNA: HVS1, HVS2 and HVS3. But though these tests offer lower-resolution results than others, African Ancestry's services are considerably more expensive. The company's Y-DNA test and mtDNA tests cost $299 each -- or you can take them both, and get an eight-pack of "certificates of ancestry" and a four-pack of t-shirts, for $729.
On the plus side, African Ancestry says that it does not maintain a database of customer information and that it will not share or sell your DNA sequence or markers with any third party -- including law enforcement agencies. The company's terms and conditions run to just over 2,200 words, making them considerably more concise than the disclosure statements of most other companies we included in this roundup. And African Ancestry promises to destroy your DNA trial after your test results are delivered.
That said, even if you accept the company's take on tribal and ethnic genetic markers, African Ancestry remains too expensive to recommend at its current price.
If you're using a home DNA testing service, you're likely looking for one of three things:
Ancestry and family history: The first big draw of a full DNA test is that you'll get a detailed breakdown on ancestry and ethnicity, and the migration patterns of your common ancestors. Spoiler alert: Your ethnic background may be radically different than you think it is. You'll also find out what a haplogroup is.
Relative identification: With your permission, some DNA services will let you connect with relatives you never knew you had -- other folks with matching DNA who have used the service and likewise given their permission to connect to possible relations.
Health and disease info: DNA testing can also indicate which conditions for which you may have a preponderance. It's a controversial feature, to be sure. Knowing that you have a genetic predisposition to a certain form of cancer may make you more vigilant for testing, but it may also lead to increased stress -- worrying about a potential health condition that may never develop, even if you're "genetically susceptible" to it. The possibility of false positives and false negatives abound -- any such information should be discussed with your doctor before you act upon it.
Afraid of needles and drawing blood? Good news: That's not an issue with these tests. All you need to do is spit into a vial or rub a swab in your mouth -- all the genetic data needed for these tests is present in your saliva -- and ship the DNA trial to the company for analysis.
The reason that a saliva trial works as well as blood (or hair follicles or skin samples) is that your DNA -- which is short for deoxyribonucleic acid -- is present in all of them. It's the basic genetic code present in all of your cells that makes up your key attributes, from the color of your eyes to the shape of your ears to how susceptible you are to cholesterol.
The key terms you need to know when comparing DNA testing services are:
SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism): Genotyping is done by measuring genetic variation. One of the more common is SNP genotyping, which measures the variations of a single nucleotide polymorphism. The more of these a company measures, the more granular the analysis.
Autosomal DNA testing: An autosomal test that's effective for men and women, and which traces lineage back through both maternal and paternal bloodlines.
Y-DNA: The Y-DNA test can only be administered to men, and traces DNA back through the patrilineal ancestry -- basically from father to grandfather to great grandfather and so on.
mtDNA: The mtDNA is matrilineal and lets you trace your ancestry back through your mother, grandmother, great grandmother and so on.
Yes, DNA tests are the most accurate way to determine paternity of a child. Samples need to be collected from both the child and suspected parent to make a determination. For the best accuracy, you need a test that specifically checks for paternity not just ancestry.
Yes. Several companies sell dog DNA tests with the goal of helping you determine the breed of your animal and screen for possible genetic health issues.
David Gewirtz contributed to this story. The current version is a major update of past revisions and includes hands-on impressions of most of the services listed.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.
Afghanistan’s supreme leader has ordered judges to fully enforce aspects of Islamic law that include public executions, stonings, floggings and the amputation of limbs for thieves, the Taliban’s chief spokesperson said.
Zabihullah Mujahid tweeted on Sunday that the “obligatory” command by Haibatullah Akhundzada came after the secretive leader met with a group of judges.
Akhundzada, who has not been filmed or photographed in public since the Taliban returned to power in August last year, rules by decree from Kandahar, the movement’s birthplace and spiritual heartland.
The Taliban promised a softer version of the harsh rule that characterised their first stint in power, from 1996-2001, but have gradually clamped down on rights and freedoms.
“Carefully examine the files of thieves, kidnappers and seditionists,” Mujahid quoted Akhundzada as saying. Those files in which all the sharia [Islamic law] conditions of hudud and qisas have been fulfilled, you are obliged to implement. This is the ruling of sharia, and my command, which is obligatory.”
Mujahid was not available on Monday to expand on his tweet.
Hudud refers to offences for which, under Islamic law, certain types of punishment are mandated, while qisas translates as “retaliation in kind” – effectively an eye for an eye.
Hudud crimes include adultery – and falsely accusing someone of it – drinking alcohol, theft, kidnapping and highway robbery, apostasy and rebellion.
Qisas covers murder and deliberate injury, among other things, but also allows for the families of victims to accept compensation in lieu of punishment.
Islamic scholars say crimes leading to hudud punishment require a very high degree of proof, including – in the case of adultery – confession, or being witnessed by four adult male Muslims.
Since last year’s takeover, videos and pictures of Taliban fighters meting out summary floggings to people accused of various offences have appeared frequently on social media.
On several occasions the Taliban have also displayed in public the bodies of kidnappers who they said were killed in shootouts.
There have also been reports of adulterers being flogged in rural areas after Friday prayers, but independent verification has been difficult to obtain.
Rahima Popalzai, a legal and political analyst, said the edict could be an attempt by the Taliban to harden a reputation they may feel has softened since their return to power.
“If they really start to implement hudud and qisas, they will be aiming to create the fear that society has gradually lost,” she said, adding that the Taliban also wanted to burnish their Islamic credentials. “As a theocratic setup, the Taliban want to strengthen their religious identity among Muslim countries.”
The hard-won rights of women in particular have evaporated in the past 15 months, and they are increasingly being squeezed out of public life.
Most female government workers have lost their jobs, or are being paid a pittance to stay at home, while women are also barred from travelling without a male relative and must cover up with a burqa or hijab when outside the home.
In the past week, the Taliban also banned women from entering parks, funfairs, gyms and public baths.
During their first period of rule, the Taliban regularly carried out punishments in public, including floggings and executions at Ghazi stadium in Kabul.
RAPID CITY, S.D. — South Dakotans voted Tuesday to expand the state’s Medicaid program to cover thousands of additional low-income residents, becoming the seventh state to approve expansion via the ballot box.
But as other conservative states have shown, voter approval doesn’t always mean politicians and administrators will rush to implement the change.
In Missouri, for example, experts said subpar publicity efforts and an outdated application system led to a glacial pace of enrollment after voters there approved Medicaid expansion in 2020.
A similarly slow rollout could occur in South Dakota, said Tricia Brooks, a Georgetown University research professor who studies Medicaid.
South Dakota’s Medicaid computer system “has a long way to evolve,” Brooks said. “Unless they’re going to really boost their eligibility [processing] capacity, then I think we’re in for a rough or rocky start to expansion.”
That could leave some South Dakotans temporarily uninsured even after they become eligible for Medicaid coverage.
Brooks said state administrators could face additional complications if the federal government ends the covid-19 public health emergency while South Dakota is enrolling newly eligible people into Medicaid. During the health emergency, states have been barred from dropping people who are no longer eligible for Medicaid, but they will resume doing so once the emergency ends.
Officials with the South Dakota Department of Social Services acknowledged Wednesday that they need to prepare. “We anticipate needing a significant number of additional staff and technology resources for implementation,” Laurie Gill, the department secretary, said in a statement. She said the department created a leadership team to oversee necessary policy and system changes.
Missouri and most other states where voters approved Medicaid expansion faced politicians who tried to hamstring implementation.
But the pro-expansion group South Dakotans Decide Healthcare is confident that the change will be implemented as required by the constitutional amendment that voters approved Tuesday, campaign manager Zach Marcus said.
Marcus pointed to deadlines included in the amendment, and he noted that Gov. Kristi Noem — a Republican who opposed expansion — promised during a debate to implement the change if voters approved it.
South Dakota became the 39th state to approve Medicaid expansion, after 56% of voters supported the measure. The Department of Social Services expects about 52,000 newly eligible residents ages 18 through 64 will enroll in Medicaid.
Medicaid is the nation’s leading public health insurance program for people with disabilities and low incomes. It is funded and administered by the federal government and states.
The 2010 Affordable Care Act initially required states to expand their programs so more low-income adults could gain coverage, with the federal government paying 90% of the costs. But a U.S. Supreme Court ruling struck down that mandate.
Most states adopted Medicaid expansion through governors’ orders or legislature-approved bills. But voters in Maine, Idaho, Nebraska, Utah, Missouri, Oklahoma, and South Dakota overrode resistance from lawmakers and governors by approving expansion through ballot measures. Every time Medicaid expansion has been on the ballot, it has passed.
Expansion proponents in South Dakota sought a constitutional amendment, which can’t be easily repealed or revised. The amendment includes implementation deadlines and bars the state from creating extra rules, such as work requirements, for people who newly qualify for Medicaid.
In the past, South Dakota politicians have filed lawsuits that successfully argued that voter-approved measures violated the state constitution.
Last year, for example, Noem spearheaded a lawsuit that overturned a voter-approved amendment to legalize recreational marijuana. But she recently said the Medicaid expansion amendment “appears to be written constitutionally.”
States can face hurdles in rolling out Medicaid expansion even after implementation begins. Education, enrollment, and processing policies play a role.
For example, in 2021, Missouri hit roadblocks when lawmakers refused to fund the program, and the state implemented the change only after a judge ordered the state to begin accepting applications. Experts said Missouri officials put little effort into outreach and required people to navigate a bureaucratic application process. Data shows the state also failed to process applications on time.
Oklahoma, where voters approved expansion the same year, had the opposite experience. Lawmakers there agreed to fund the program, and the state spread the word about expansion through social media campaigns, TV interviews, and outreach events. The state also evaluated whether people who had applied to other benefit programs might be newly eligible for Medicaid.
By December 2021, Oklahoma had enrolled more than 210,000 people through Medicaid expansion, while Missouri had enrolled fewer than 20,000.
Shelly Ten Napel, CEO of Community HealthCare Association of the Dakotas, said officials can take steps to ensure a positive experience in South Dakota. Creating a “simple administrative process” means less work for applicants and state workers, said Ten Napel, who advocates for clinics that serve low-income and uninsured patients.
Brooks, the Georgetown expert on Medicaid administration, said South Dakota’s Medicaid practices aren’t as strong as other states’. “South Dakota is not advanced in their use of technology,” Brooks said. “I worry if it’s too manually driven that the state will be overwhelmed. And that will slow down the processing and you could potentially see what we’ve seen in Missouri.”
Brooks’ concerns are supported by studies and data.
South Dakota uses multiple applications and processing systems for Medicaid and other benefit programs when it could use just one, according to a March report by KFF and Georgetown’s Center for Children and Families.
The report also says South Dakota is one of three states without an online account system. That means South Dakotans can’t monitor their applications or upload documents to renew their coverage.
The Department of Social Services must submit its Medicaid expansion plan to the federal government by March 1 and begin providing benefits to newly eligible people by July 1.
Gill said the department is developing a system that is cellphone friendly and will allow people to create online accounts.
But she said those changes won’t be ready until fall 2023. That’s months after the department is expected to see a flood of new, post-expansion applications.