Recently, our anthropology class learned that we would have the option to participate in genetic testing from the company 23andMe. This testing would potentially reveal both genetic ancestry and potential health risks.
Looking at their website, it's easy to become overwhelmed at the amount of things they test for, from the potential for migraines to the possibility of being a carrier for lethal diseases. But even so, I think it is not only worth it, but it's exciting. I'm most interested in the testing for heritage. Most of my family is Southern European, from Croatia and Italy, but I've heard rumors of a distant grandfather who was a Swedish sea captain. While they cannot test for his occupation, it would be interesting to see if the genetic markers are there.
It would also be interesting to see the health information that comes with the tests. Apart from the risk factors, they test for genetic markers for other attributes, such as height, food preference, and caffeine consumption. I'd really like to see if the data that comes back matches my actual profile. As a 6'4" tall male, with a penchant for constantly drinking coffee, I would be mildly surprised if the results came back and said that I was genetically inclined towards neither.
As a class, we have not yet received our kits, and so we're all just working off of the data and information reported on their website. Personally, I think this will be a interesting experience to have, multiple people going through it at the same time, blogging about the process and sharing the results.
And as far as the testing goes, I am happy to contribute. Even if the data we receive back is not 100% conclusive on all points, we have each contributed a small portion to the better understanding of genetics and genetic testing. In a few years time, and with more participation, the tests could get much more accurate and comprehensive.