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For our Biology, Culture, and Evolution class, we had the opportunity to have our DNA tested for various health and ancestry markers. I have been reluctant to blog about this experience because some of the information I learned was shocking at first. I think now that I have had some time to wrap my mind around my results, I am much more comfortable sharing.

4: It helps you prepare for your future health.

Even though the information provided by 23andMe is by no means a diagnosis or set-in-stone, the information has helped me plan what I need to prioritize as far as my health is concerned. Doctors have all these recommendations about when you need to get tested and what you need to be tested for, but the list can seem endless. Who has time for all that anyway? I now know what I need to look out for and what specific steps I can take to be proactive about my health. Although I feel that this portion of the results was the most useful, in my opinion, it was also the most difficult for me to process.

Health Risks

 

Even though my risk is most elevated for Type 2 diabetes, my lifestyle choices do not put me at high risk for developing it. The two I was most worried about upon receiving my results were atrial fibrillation and alzheimer's. I have suffered from heart palpitations before when I was experiencing stress. I also have a family history of alzheimer's disease, but it is so far removed from me (great-great grandparent or something) I never thought I could suffer from it. This was the worst information for me to learn, I think, and the reason why I took so long to blog about my experience with 23andMe. In my head, I'm aware that my results aren't a diagnosis, but the information shocked me anyway. Despite the difficulty, I am glad to have participated. I would always rather know the risks than be blissfully ignorant.

3: You can learn things about your ancestry you didn't know (or confirm what you did know).

I'm European.

#shamelessselfie

Can you believe it?! I definitely could. The reason I found this part of the results so interesting is because it confirmed what I knew about my ancestry COMPLETELY.  I knew before hand that I am descended from Irish and German ancestors, which are exactly the results I got.

Chromosome view

 

It's kinda neat to have a firmer grasp on me heritage than before. Another cool feature of the ancestry results is their assessment of your Neanderthal ancestry. According to my results, I am in the 94th percentile of all users since 3% of my DNA is associated with Neanderthals. I think this number is the highest in my class, although I'm not positive. Apparently some of my ancestors were getting down and dirty with some of our Neanderthal neighbors. I can dig it.

2: You may meet family members you didn't even know you had.

This consequence from 23andMe was a complete surprise. I have been contacted by nearly a dozen people who share enough genetic markers with me to be cousins. To be clear, the only information these people are given is that we might be cousins. When you see someone who might be related to you, you have the option to contact them, and then the recipient of your request will need to accept it before you can communicate back and forth. Even if you choose to communicate with one another, you can opt to hide your results from them if you feel uncomfortable. The closest relatives I have on 23andMe are possible 2nd and 3rd cousins, but I have been contacted by multiple possible 4th cousins. One even sent me a family tree, asking me to place myself on the tree where I fit in based on my knowledge of my family history. I don't have a fun picture to use here, since the family tree is 40 pages long and may have information others on the tree don't want to share. But it's pretty cool to think about!

1: Sometimes, it's like a freakin' crystal ball!

I've already said how uncanny it was to have 23andMe affirm my ancestry. Here's some more of my crazy accurate results.

Traits

 

If you remember the picture of me from above, the eye color/straight hair stuff is spot on. The rest of it is pretty darn accurate too (of course, I wouldn't know anything about my alcohol flush reaction, not being 21 and all). These results also labeled me as lactose tolerant, which is true. I think learning new information about my genome was interesting, but seeing how it mirrored what I already knew about myself made the results even more exciting. I guess validation can be pretty exciting.

 

All-in-all, I am very grateful I had the opportunity to participate in 23andMe testing. The anxiety I felt when I first received my results is more a consequence of being a constant worrier. Now that I've had time to sit on the information, I welcome the future with open arms, hoping that I have little more knowledge moving forward.

1

My 23 and me genetic results were pretty blah. I was really hoping for something exciting or weird to pop up but that never happened. Although I still think my results are very interesting, I was just wanting some pizazz. I found out that I am 8.2% British and Irish which I pretty much already knew. I am 2.9% neanderthal which puts me in the 84th percentile, so I guess that is kinddddd of cool. My ancestry mainly comes from the UK, Ireland, Finland, India and Belgium. My most elevated health risk is rheumatoid arthritis, which I thought was great as opposed to something like cancer. The average person has a 4.2% risk of having rheumatoid arthritis and my risk is 9.0%. I am also at an elevated risk of melanoma, celiac disease and lupus. Under the inherited conditions section the only things I had variants present for hemochromatosis and glycosylation type 1A. I did not know what either of these things were so I did some google-ing and discovered that hemochromatosis is caused by the body absorbing too much iron from food and can lead to cancer, heart arryhythmias and cirrhosis. Thankfully this is more likely to be serious in men. Glycosylation type 1A is an inherited metabolic condition which mostly affects many systems of the body but mainly the nervous system. 23 and me also told me that if I were a smoker I would most likely smoke more.

Just a little over a month ago now, our 23 and me DNA test results came in. After waiting only a few weeks for our spit to be analyzed, the data is all in.

My heritage wasn't particularly exciting, 93.2% was from South and Southern Europe. Although I did have 5.5% from Northern Europe. This could potentially back up one of my family member's claims that I had a great great grandfather or some-such, that was a Swedish sea captain. I also have .3% from the Middle east/North Africa, and <.1% from Oceania, which are both surprising.

When I look at my traits, I see that I am likely a taller than average male, with brown hair, brown eyes and a fast metabolism for caffeine. So, they more or less hit the nail on the head with this. And when I looked at my health risks, I see I am at a slightly increased risk for coronary disease, and a decreased risk for several other disorders and diseases.

This entire process was not only easier than I thought, but a lot faster as well. I would recommend this process to anyone wjo would want to learn more about their heritage and genome.

Fun Fact: the guys responsible for the song "What does the fox say?" did 23 and Me and had their results on their show.  I've linked the segment to the photo below.

I Kveld med Ylvis

1

This past couple weeks I've had the chance to look at my 23 and Me results and discuss it with my mom some, both of which gave me some insight.  Heritage wise, I'm pretty vanilla. Literally. I'm 99.7% European, and more specifically 83.8% Northern European.  2.9% of my DNA is from Neanderthals, which is the most exciting part of my ancestry.  On to the interesting stuff.

I found out that I am a carrier of the Rhizomelic chondrodysplasia punctata type 1 (RCDP1) gene.  Basically, if I am unlucky enough to have children with someone else who is carrier, my kids will have a one in four chance of being affected.

From 23 and Me website
From 23 and Me website

RCDP1 is a rare but horrible disease.  About half of kids with it will make it to school age.  According to 23 and Me, children with this disorder  have "skeletal abnormalities, congenital cataracts, growth failure, seizures and profound mental retardation."  They don't function anywhere near a normal child and would essentially need a full time nurse their entire lives.  Needless to say, that I'm a carrier is a little worrisome for me.

I'm at higher risk for psoriasis, although I don't know anyone in my family that has it.  I'm also at higher risk for age-related macular degeneration and restless leg syndrome, the latter doesn't surprise me at all. I'm at higher risk for Celiac disease, which I need to look into some more to see how it's related to the gluten sensitivity/allergy that my sister has.  Now to the happy part.  I'm at low risk for coronary heart disease, gout, Alzheimer's (which I'm really happy about because that disease simply scares me), and rheumatoid arthritis.

Interestingly, I can taste bitter flavors. On one hand, I really dislike brussel sprouts.  On the other, when I think about the bitter things we tasted in class it seems like I can't taste bitter. The tonic water wasn't bitter at all (I'd just as soon drink that as Sprite), I like dark chocolate, and asparagus and broccoli are two of my favorite vegetables.

All in all, I'm happy I participated in 23 and Me.

I was excited to receive the results of my 23andMe test this past week. I had been interested to see the results of my heritage as well as the health risks I am prevalent to in the future. The three diseases I am most prone to are coronary heart disease, type two diabetes, and breast cancer.  None of these are too shocking because I have had family members that have had these diseases. My ancestry was not much of a surprise either, but it was still interesting to find out more about where my family came from. I am 99.7% european which is not a shock at all based on my skin, eye, and hair color. I am .1% Native American and 2.8% neanderthal which is slightly above average.  The only issue I had with the test is that it could not determine my paternal lineage. This is obviously because I am a woman and do not have the y chromosome. The only way I would obtain this information would be if my dad also did the 23andMe test.  Overall, my results showed nothing that shocked me, but they were still interesting to learn about.

3

If you've been reading some of the blogs on this site, you probably know by now that the Biology, Culture, and Evolution class has the opportunity to do genetic testing this semester. I've always thought ancestry was fascinating, and my mom's side of the family has much more mystery surrounding our heritage so I would really like to find out what I can about that. However, I'm also looking forward to some of the information they can give me on genes more pertinent to my daily life and my future.

I am interested in the health issues that 23 and Me will test. I am especially interested in the genes for Tourette's Syndrome and restless leg syndrome. I have read some research recently that Tourette's, RLS, and other tic disorders are very closely related genetically. I have a chronic tic disorder, which is on a scale between Tourette's (requires motor and vocal tics to diagnose) and transient tic disorder (which is in kids and lasts less than a year). My mom has restless leg syndrome, but no one else in the extended family has a related disorder that I know of. Over the next few weeks I do plan on contacting my mother's sisters to see if they, there children, or their grandchildren have restless leg or tics. This is important to me because I'd like to know the likelihood that, if I do have children, they will have a tic. My family has history of stroke on both sides, so I'd like to look at the genetic side of that and how certain medications will affect that.

I'm super excited that my class was funded to do 23&me. I've been wanting to do it for the past two years, but I haven't gotten around to doing it. I'm most interested in discovering my ancestry. My family has been in the United States long enough that I don't know much of my heritage. (I can actually trace every side of my family back over 100 years in the same two adjacent counties in North Alabama).  There has been some circumstantial evidence that I may have Scottish in me, but that is the only European country I can name-despite my family being completely of European descent. And as every other white southerner would say, there is a rumor that my great-great grandmother was full-blooded Cherokee. I've always been fascinated by figuring out my ancestry, and having these results could give me some interesting clues.

The second part to 23&me is the health risks and traits it returns. I'm both excited and nervous about this. I don't really want to hear bad news. The things I'm most worried about are breast cancer (or any cancer for that matter) and Alzheimer's (or other forms of dementia). Both of my grandmothers have had a form of cancer, and I feel that I could be at high risk for breast or colon cancer. Something that worries me more than that though is the mental issues I may face down the road. My dad's mom and her family are also an interesting case with mental diseases. Of 6 children, 4 of the siblings (including my grandmother) have had some form of mental disease. One of my grandmother's sisters was put in a mental institute at age 20, and died there. Another sister is in the late stages of Alzheimer's, and will not be around much longer. My grandmother's brother has dementia that is getting worse with time. And my own grandmother's mind has gotten worse and worse, especially after my granddad died 3 years ago. With 4 out of 6 siblings having problems, it begs the question is it genetic? And if it is, what does that mean for me? I feel that there isn't a lot of prevention that can actually stop these mental diseases. Time will always win. So knowing now, years before it becomes an issue, just seems like torture to me. I'm very future oriented, but knowing that something bad is coming will bother me more than it will help me.

I really want to do 23&me. I'm super excited about the ancestry part, and a little apprehensive about the risks part. Talking about this to my class will be lots of fun, and I can't wait to see all the results.

2

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.

1

This semester our class has been granted the opportunity to participate in the 23andMe testing.  I had heard of this testing before, but never thought I'd have the opportunity to do it myself. The thought of knowing the origins of my ancestors as well as hundreds of different facts about my health is both exciting and daunting.

What I am most looking forward to about this testing is seeing where my ancestral roots lie and to learn and gain an in-depth understanding of my overall health.  What I have been told of my heritage is that I am mostly of european descent, specifically from the United Kingdom. I will be interested to see is 23andMe proves this information to be true or if there is another origin that  is more dominant.  I will also be interested to see if there is any information about my health that will be surprising. I know that I am already prone to having thyroid issues in the future, type 2 diabetes, and certain kinds of cancer. Aside from those I will be interested to see if there are any other conditions that I will need to take into consideration in the future. This leads to the only concern I have with the 23andMe testing. I am concerned that I may I am prone to a certain health condition that is serious or has no treatment. The pros to finding out such information, however, would be that I could take steps towards preventing any health issue s that could arise in the future.

Overall I am looking forward to receiving my 23andMe results because I think they will be interesting to read and I think the information the results will provide will prove to be beneficial. It will also be interesting to hear about the results of my classmates and compare and contrasts results. This testing will help us to analyze how different people's heritage may make them more like to have a certain trait or develop a certain health condition.