There are about 6.4 billion individual letters in the human genome. More and more, advertisements for consumer genetic tests promise to help regular people parse the information encoded in these genes. Companies offer a wide range of services, such as decoding ancestry and predicting disease risk. But we still don’t know what a lot of the human genome is for — so even though you’ll get a bunch of data, it might not actually be that useful as of yet. 

Genetic tests usually come in one of three varieties. Each provides a little bit more information than the last, and the costs tend to escalate from there.

This latest episode in our video series “The Facts, STAT!” breaks down the differences between these offerings and what you get for your money.

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