My Experience With 23andMe

I received 23andMe a few years ago as a Christmas gift. I’m sure most people have heard of 23andMe but might not be aware of all the reports and features that are included. If you haven’t heard of 23andMe, basically it’s an at home genetic testing kit. It’s important to distinguish when buying a kit you have two options: The first option is “ancestry” where you get a breakdown of your global ancestry by percentages. The second option being, “health and ancestry” which includes a more comprehensive understanding of your genetics. This is the kit that I have, it includes reports on ancestry, traits, health, and more.

When you receive your testing kit it’s important to follow the instructions. For example, they don’t want you to have anything to eat or drink for a certain amount of time so your DNA specimen isn’t contaminated. The whole process is pretty easy. You’ll have to “spit” into the testing tube they provide from which they’ll extract your DNA. They provide you with a prepaid mailing label and you can even ship your kit back in the box it came in. During this time you’ll also register your kit online so when they receive your kit they know it belongs to you and can send you the results. During this time you also have an important option. You can choose for 23andMe to run your DNA, obtain your results, and destroy your DNA after. Your other option is to allow 23andMe to store your DNA for future testing. This is the option that I choose and I’m glad that I picked this. 23andMe is constantly gaining approval to run more testing on certain disease. For example, when I first did 23andMe it didn’t include carrier status reports for disease such a cystic fibrosis or test your DNA for variants related to certain mutations such as BRCA1/BRCA2 (increase risk for breast cancer). 23andMe allows you to filter results. If you don’t want to know your results for a certain disease it allows you to filter that. I have the thought process that knowledge is power and in this case allows you to be more proactive with your life choices.

I truly think that genetics is the future of medicine. In the future maybe medicine will be tailored to an individuals “genome” or genetic code, lifestyle and community. Rather than the current one-size-fits-most approach. Interestingly, before I was diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis/pulmonary embolism I knew that I had a clotting disorder called prothrombin gene mutation thanks to 23andMe. Basically its an inherited variant in the F2 gene that increases your likelihood to clot. Since this is an inherited mutation it’s typically inherited from either one or both parents. 23andMe allows you to invite people to share your DNA and compare. My father did 23andMe as well. We learned he too has this prothrombin gene mutation and he suffered from a DVT as well! When I went to the hospital and explained to the doctor I was concerned about having a DVT/PE I let him know that I knew of this clotting disorder due to 23andMe. Once I was diagnosed with clots the hospital ran its own genetic testing. 23andMe was accurate as expected!

Something else I found interesting was 23andMe has the ability to compare your DNA to other customers and can link you with first, second, third, and so on cousins. Your identity and genetic information is always kept confidential but there is an option to connect and share with these people. Apparently I have cousin’s living in California and Australia, who knew! I think this option could be especially helpful to people who are adopted and want to connect with family members.

Also, the traits report seemed to be pretty spot on! 23andMe was able to identify my likely hair, eye color, and much more. It also runs testing for certain variants that are linked to certain traits. For example it found due to my genetics I am more likely to suffer from motion sickness which is true! Although the ancestry, wellness, and traits reports were interesting I primarily did 23andMe for its health information. It’s important to note that 23andMe doesn’t test for every variant that’s linked to the diseases they test. Also, it’s important to speak to a provider about your results.

I’ve gifted 23andMe to a few people myself. I think it’s a great gift idea or something to purchase for yourself. People find it fun, new and, interesting. But ultimately with 23andMe people can learn useful information to help make informed decisions to positively impact their life!

What’s Included:

Carrier Status:

  • ARSACS
  • Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum with Peripheral Neuropathy
  • Autosomal Recessive Polycystic Kidney Disease
  • Beta Thalassemia and Related Hemoglobinopathies
  • Bloom SyndromeVariant
  • Canavan Disease
  • Congenital Disorder of Glycosylation Type 1a (PMM2-CDG)
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • D-Bifunctional Protein Deficiency
  • Dihydrolipoamide Dehydrogenase Deficiency
  • Familial Dysautonomia
  • Familial Hyperinsulinism (ABCC8-Related)
  • Familial Mediterranean Fever
  • Fanconi Anemia Group C
  • GRACILE Syndrome
  • Gaucher Disease Type 1
  • Glycogen Storage Disease Type Ia
  • Glycogen Storage Disease Type Ib
  • Hereditary Fructose Intolerance
  • Herlitz Junctional Epidermolysis Bullosa (LAMB3-Related)
  • Leigh Syndrome, French Canadian Type
  • Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophy Type 2D
  • Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophy Type 2E
  • Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophy Type 2I
  • MCAD Deficiency
  • Maple Syrup Urine Disease Type 1B
  • Mucolipidosis Type IV
  • Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis (CLN5-Related)
  • Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis (PPT1-Related)
  • Niemann-Pick Disease Type A
  • Nijmegen Breakage Syndrome
  • Nonsyndromic Hearing Loss and Deafness, DFNB1 (GJB2-Related)
  • Pendred Syndrome and DFNB4 Hearing Loss (SLC26A4-Related)
  • Phenylketonuria and Related Disorders
  • Primary Hyperoxaluria Type 2
  • Rhizomelic Chondrodysplasia Punctata Type 1
  • Salla Disease
  • Sickle Cell Anemia
  • Sjögren-Larsson Syndrome
  • Tay-Sachs Disease
  • Tyrosinemia Type I
  • Usher Syndrome Type 1F
  • Usher Syndrome Type 3A
  • Zellweger Syndrome Spectrum (PEX1-Related)

Health Predisposition:

  • Age-Related Macular DegenerationVariant
  • Hereditary Thrombophilia
  • Familial Hypercholesterolemia
  • Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency
  • BRCA1/BRCA2 (Selected Variants)
  • Celiac Disease
  • G6PD Deficiency
  • Hereditary Hemochromatosis
  • Late-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Parkinson’s Disease

Wellness:

  • Alcohol Flush Reaction
  • Caffeine Consumption
  • Deep Sleep
  • Genetic Weight
  • Lactose Intolerance
  • Muscle Composition
  • Saturated Fat and Weight
  • Sleep Movement

Traits:

  • Motion Sickness
  • Ability to Match Musical Pitch
  • Asparagus Odor Detection
  • Bitter Taste
  • Cheek Dimples
  • Cilantro Taste Aversion
  • Cleft Chin
  • Earlobe Type
  • Earwax Type
  • Eye Color
  • Fear of Heights
  • Finger Length Ratio
  • Freckles
  • Hair Photobleaching
  • Hair Texture
  • Hair Thickness
  • Light or Dark Hair
  • Misophonia (odds of hating chewing sounds)
  • Mosquito Bite (Frequency bitten)
  • Newborn Hair
  • Photic Sneeze Reflex
  • Red Hair
  • Skin Pigmentation
  • Sweet vs. Salty
  • Toe Length Ratio
  • Unibrow
  • Wake-Up Time
  • Widow’s Peak

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