How to Help an Older Person Take a Saliva-Based DNA Test

UPDATE: An update to this article: Helping an Older Person Take a Saliva-Based DNA Test, One Success and One Failure

This weekend I met Judy Russell, the Legal Genealogist, at her seminar hosted by the Root Cellar Sacramento Genealogical Society.  I mentioned that my grandmother was having difficulty taking the saliva-based DNA tests from Ancestry and 23andMe.  Judy had heard of a way to make it work.  She sent me this link:

How to do an AncestryDNA test WITHOUT spit

This method uses the technique of the Family Tree DNA test kit with a inside cheek rub and adds distilled water and a bit of saline.

I am so excited and hopeful that this will finally work.  We haven’t processed the test yet, but I wanted to get this out there since test processing can take so long, and who knows how long the elderly will be with us.

Best of luck!

UPDATE 24 August 2017:

This weekend I received my grandmother’s Ancestry DNA test results.  Yay, they were successfully processed!  I used a simpler method than described in the link above.  Here is what I did:

  • I sprayed Simply Saline in the DNA tube to a little above the line
  • I used four GUM brushes (found in a drug store near the floss), brushing each on her inside cheek then swishing in the tube

Pretty simple, but effective.  Wishing you the best with your DNA testing!


Posted in DNA

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