My Experience with 23andMe.com
One of the more interesting things I’ve done in my life was to get my genetic testing done with the goal of finding out my genetic background. The results that showed me where my ancestors came from wasn’t really that surprising. Just a couple little surprises. But it was very interesting to see that I as an individual could have this done for a somewhat reasonable price.
The first part of the process was to go onto their website and order a kit while registering. The registration process was like any other. At some point in the process my account was created and the kit would be linked to my individual account. Then I was informed to start watching the mail for my kit.
The next part of the process was to get the kit and do my easy job. The kit arrived in a small box. There was a return box inside of that box. There are great instructions and the process is very easy. Interestingly, I was asked to simply spit into a tube. I was expecting, like most people probably do based on crime shows, that I’d have to use a swab on the cheek of my mouth. But still, spitting in a tube is a no-brainer. I was a little surprised that it was slightly difficult to get the saliva to the level marker shown on the tube. It seemed to take more saliva to get to the fill marker than I expected. But with a small amount of effort, I was able to produce.
Once the saliva reached the appropriate point in the tube, I had to flip the hinged tube lid over on top of the tube where a small liquid pouch was punctured into the saliva. I’m not sure what that liquid was. I’m guessing it was some kind of preservative that keeps the DNA from spoiling while the package is in transit.
Once I followed the instructions on labeling the box and tube, I dropped off the box at the post office and I was done.
It took a few weeks to process the first part of my DNA. I was very excited to see the results so this was the hardest part of this little adventure. Waiting is often the hardest part. Then after a few weeks, I was able to see the initial results on their website by logging into my account. And within a few weeks after that, I was able to see the rest of the results.
The initial results:
The thing I wanted to see the most was the origins of my ancestors. I was very happy with the interactive map on the 23andMe.com website. I was able to see the general part of the world my ancestors are from. I was able to then drill down to see what parts of the general parts they were from. And then was able to drill down even more. This data appears to be created by looking at my DNA compared to people who presently are living in the parts of the world that my ancestors are from. I remember seeing that 23andMe.com attempts to make sure the DNA that mine is being compared to is from people who have had all their ancestors from that area of the world for about 400 years. Presumably, before that, less people who have been traveling in and out of those areas of the world and for the most part, the genetic line would be somewhat accurate.
Here’s a quick look at my map.
As I stated earlier, I wasn’t surprised by most of my ancestors’ origins. My parents and other family members have told me some of the details for years. However, there were 2 small percentages I was surprised by. I saw a small percentage of Asian and a small percentage of Ashkenazi. Since I’m a very light, blue-eyed person like both of my parents, it was an interesting surprise to see Asian. I’m guessing that since the percentage is so small, there may have been an ancestor from maybe the Roman times or some long ago trading days that mixed into my European and UK blood lines.
The subsequent results:
23andMe.com does a lot of other DNA work with your saliva submission and there is far too much to list here. There are a lot of simple indicators such as if you are likely to be able to taste bitter or if your eye color is more likely to be blue, green, or brown. Then there are a number probability indicators for health where are also interesting. It takes days to go through all these since they are able to detail so much about you through your DNA.
What’s also interesting is that while preserving privacy, 23andMe.com is able to give you a long list of relatives who have also had their DNA tested and also to let you know how closely they are related. You can reach out to these people if you want with their email system. You are able to keep your privacy in case you are not ready to share any details or meet any potential relatives. And if you are open to it, others who are related can reach out to you also. I’ve been contacted by relatives I didn’t know about and have had many interesting conversations with distant relatives through this site.
At some point, I’ll get my DNA analyzed with other genetic testing sites like 23andMe.com. I’m not sure how different the results will be. But nonetheless, this has been a very interesting and enjoyable experience for me.