Friday, 19 June 2015

23 and Me

I've had my genes checked out with 23andMe. I wanted to know something about my genetic ancestry, and  - more importantly from a practical point of view - my future health risks.

Now there really are good reasons not to risk this. For a start, you could find out some very bad news indeed, which might affect not only you but your relatives. I don't recommend it to everyone, but I decided to go for it:

  • I am lucky enough to live in a country where my health care does not depend on talking an insurance company into coughing up cash
  • I have no children
  • My sister and her children aren't genetically related to me
  • My brother already has a life-limiting condition with a genetic component, but he went ahead and had kids anyway, so I figure he's a fatalist

So after a disgusting spit-harvesting test whilst watching "How I Met your Mother"(!) - and a couple of months wait - I got my results back, and it's pretty cool:

  • I am in 3.1% Neanderthal, which I am totally stoked about! (Their customer average is 2.7%, as is the European average). It's like being a half-orc or something :-D
  • My more recent genes are depressingly homogeneous (lol) - I am definitely 99.8% European and probably 68% straight British/Irish. Nothing Ashkenazi, nothing from East Asia, the Middle East, India or America. Even the astonishingly fecund Genghis Khan doesn't seem to have sent his seed this far. No great Viking input even  ... Clearly my ancestors did not get out a whole lot.
  • Much more interestingly, I am 0.6% Sardinian and have a small (0.1%) but fairly definite sub-Saharan Africa component. (Don't worry, I will not be doing a Rachel Dolezal anytime).

Health-wise? Nothing very shocking. They do send you three 'locked' reports which you have to opt into to see. Genetic tendencies to Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and breast cancer. For me, this turned out to be one badish news, one neutral and one good news.

I'm one of those people who would rather know in advance. I'm happy with my decision :-)                          


Jo said...

Omg, how many pints of dribble did they need?

Danielle did this, or something like it, I think only for racial background not health. He's more Asian than he ever knew :)

I love your half Orc discovery :)

Janine Ashbless said...

It's only a little phial, but it takes about a 5 mins to fill because you can't eat or drink beforehand - I did it first thing in the morning with a dry mouth!