So I started talking a little bit about history yesterday (Did you miss the start to our History Keepers Series?) and by now, you have probably figured out that history -- particularly personal histories -- is a passion of mine. I can honestly say that "Who Do You Think You Are" is one of my MUST sees on TV (along with Project Runway and any other fashion reality show that pops up). I cry on almost every episode and love to see the way history affects the folks finding out about their heritage.
So when Clever Girls and 23andMe.com offered the chance to check out my own DNA, I was all over it.
I am beyond curious about my ancestry and all the health screening was just an added bonus.
The process was really simple -- cute little box arrives at your door:
Open and find this:
Spit into this:
(Yes spit -- better than taking blood don't you think!!)
Fill the container to the lines with your lovely spit, cap and mail back in provided envelope/box.
Then you wait.
...a few weeks...
Then you get an email that links to your results...
The health analysis actually proved to be more interesting to me than the ancestry part (go figure!). I learned that I am a carrier for a rare genetic disease (not a problem unless my husband is ALSO a carrier) which is great information to pass on to our kids. I also learned that I have a slightly higher risk of restless leg syndrome and chronic kidney disease, but less risk for arthritis, muscular degeneration and melanoma -- an even trade - yes?
There is also somewhat silly results like whether you have the gene for smelling what I call "asparagus pee". I've known I can smell that from MILES away!! You??
In all seriousness though, the drug response results are also helpful (knowing that you are particularly sensitive or need more of one to work, etc) along with tendencies towards addiction (apparently HEROIN would be my downfall -- not caffeine) are all interesting and helpful tidbits of info.
So then we move on to the ancestry part and I learn than only my MATERNAL line is tracked since I am a girl and have no "Y" chromosome. My father would have to take his own DNA test in order to see that line of the family, so that was a bit of a disappointment. I was hoping to learn exactly how much native American blood is on my father's side since it is clear he has SOME. :)
An interesting note about my Mom's side though is that she also has native American and a slight bit of Asian DNA (most likely due to native American ancestors). Basically though, I found out that I am 98.8% European. That wasn't much of a surprise and I actually know more about where we came from (hello Germany!) from family history than from the DNA test.
DID YOU KNOW?
- 23andMe provides over 240 health reports
- With over a quarter million members, 23andMe is the largest DNA-based ancestry service worldwide
- 23andMe was named Times magazine "Invention of the Year" in 2008
- When 23andMe was founded, the price of the personal genetic service was $1,000 and over time they have been able to reduce it to $99, making it a widely available information tool
Overall, I was anticipating more from the ancestry aspect of the test, but received far more from the health analysis of the DNA test. Would I buy the test for other members of my family? Maybe. It might be worth looking into for newleyweds that are planning to have children in rare cases where inherited diseases would be a problem. Fo the history side of things though, I think I need "Who Do You Think You Are" to give me a call so we can REALLY figure out where I came from! (There are rumors of relations to Mary Todd Lincoln AND the Harrison presidents -- come on now!!)