Whether it's for health reasons, to find people who are genetically related, or just for curiosity's sake, there are some great options for DNA testing today. The prices are coming down and the technology is improving all the time. The two biggest, most popular companies are 23andMe and Family Tree.
For $99, 23andMe offers:
Testing is very simple. They mail you a vial that you spit into. You fill the vial, put it in the provided sealed plastic bag and mail it back. A few weeks later, your results are available online.
The "health & traits reports" include your carrier status for certain conditions, your risk of getting certain diseases, as well as your likely response to certain drugs or types of drugs. There's also a report on traits such as lactose intolerance, sneeze reaction to light, memory, taste, and even flush reaction to alcohol.
The Family Finder feature on 23andMe boasts the most comprehensive DNA Ancestry service in the world. It will compare your DNA to their database and give you a report on any possible family members out to 5th/Distant cousins. This video explains how that works:
Family Tree DNA only tests for ancestry. To take a sample you just rub a cotton swab on the inside of your cheek. For $289 The Family Finder test offers the following:
e-mail addresses and any genealogical information they have provided. You can begin exchanging information as soon as your results arrive!*
The benefit to testing with Family Tree is the opportunity to take part in the Khmer Cousins DNA Project. The Khmer Cousins Project is a DNA testing project for the Cambodian Community worldwide. The goal for the project is to find cousin connections through DNA testing to rebuild families. If you register for the Family Finder test through the Khmer Cousins project you pay a discounted price of $225. As of February 2013, these were the Project's numbers:
Project Members: 47
Khmer Adoptees: 40
1974 Vietnam Orphans: 1
23&Me Conversion Members: 3
Ties Birth Parent Test: 2
... General Join Request: 1
Kits Pending in Lab: 5
Kits out for Sample: 5
Project Matches: 34
Outside Matches: 6
If you want the medical and traits information of 23andMe but also want to participate in the Khmer Cousins Project, you can test first with 23andMe and then submit your results (in code) to Family Tree, for a Project discounted fee of $79.
If you want to learn more about DNA and how knowing about your genes can tell you a lot about yourself, check out these resources: