I have never really had a serious interest in the whole DNA kit thing. It would be interesting to know where your ancestors are from but I didn’t really care to pay money to know that kind of information. I’m pretty sure I’m European and that’s enough for me.
But then a family member told me about 23andMe which also has a DNA health component that includes reports about genetic health risks, carrier status, wellness, and traits that are linked to your DNA. Now that interests me more. Especially to know if I have variants related to health conditions I might have or things I could potentially pass on. No, I’m not pregnant but that is something I would want to know eventually so why not go ahead and find out?! Most insurance companies do not completely cover this testing even when you are pregnant so you have to pay for it eventually if this is information you want to know.
So I did it! I got a discount code and ordered my kit. It came in a nice little box and had everything I needed. And by everything I mean a tube to spit in. There are clear instructions. Spit in the tube (don’t eat or drink for 30 minutes), seal it up and release whatever preservatives keep it fresh, seal it back in the box, and ship it back.
Then you use the bar code to register your tube with your account and you wait. In the meantime, you can take surveys online that also link to your account and DNA so researchers can use it to have even more accurate information about DNA and genetics. I work in research so of course I did all of this – but it is optional. You can also track where your DNA is in the analysis process.
It took 17 days from the day I put it in the mail to get my results back, which I didn’t think was that long and it was earlier than the ‘expected’ date. You can see everything online, of course, and there is a lot to go through!
My ancestry was not at all surprising. I’m very European (99.5%). And if you’ve seen me or know me you would not be surprised either. I guess the breakdown was kind of interesting, but again, nothing surprising.
The health information was very informative. You HAVE to remember though that this is not diagnostic at all or a guarantee of anything to happen. You can use it as a springboard to talk to your doctor about anything concerning. Luckily, I have nothing concerning. There were a couple variants of health conditions that were detected, but nothing that I am at an actual risk of developing. Then there are carrier status reports – genetic variants that could affect your children’s health. No variants detected there! But this includes things like cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, and 42 other conditions I have never heard of.
The last reports are related to how DNA may affect your body’s response to diet, exercise, and sleep, and the genetics behind your appearance and senses. For example, I am predisposed to weigh about average. I apparently also have a muscle composition common in elite power athletes so it looks like I squandered that one! As far as traits, some are true for me and some are not. My report says I have “slightly higher odds of disliking cilantro” (yes, this is genetic), but I love cilantro. However, I am likely to have blue or green eyes (check), straight or wavy hair (check), and be bitten more often than others by mosquitoes (big check). It’s amazing what they can predict using genetics!
I thought this was all very cool information. Luckily there’s nothing serious health-wise that I need to be concerned about right now, so some might say it was a waste of money, but I don’t feel that way. Let me know if you are interested in this and I’ll send you a referral code! They have the Health + Ancestry or just the Ancestry options. Think about it!