My DNA testing results have arrived and here I am discussing the geekiest thing a geek can do: to geek out about her/his genes.
Firstly let me tell you, good fella, that there is nothing more personal than your genetic code, your genome, as it prescribes everything about you – how you look like, how you are built, who you are. Even if I would get naked and let you see myself from all angles – it would be nothing compared to scanning genetic code and seeing what’s inside it. Having said that, here you can download my full genetic scan, all gene variations from all chromosomes, including chromosome Y (the one inherited from father only), and mitochondrial DNA (the one inherited from mother only). Yes, after getting genetic test from 23andme, you not only get access to research data about your specific genes (or to be precise about gene variations – so called “SNPs” or “snips” as we humans generally have the same set of genes that differ only in some places), but also you get ability to get raw data (i.e. whole genetic scan). I will tell more about raw data later, but first let’s take a look at what 23andMe Inc. offers when it comes to research information about your genes.
After logging-in you see your “home page” (first names and family names of myself and of people I share genomes with are in blue or green):
As you can see above you can see latest research results that are pertinent to your genome.
While many people do genetic test at 23andMe due to health reasons: to see what diseases have increased risk in their cases, some people (like those who were adopted for example) do it to see their ancestry.
For some reason if you are female you can’t see your paternal ancestry map (aka haplogroup distribution) unless also your father also does this genetic test (possibly difficult to do if you are adopted or your father is deceased).
Anywho, first thing I have learned from this test is that I am male, because both maternal line is known for me:
… as well as paternal line:
My ethnicity is Polish so I was not surprised with paternal line “Populations: Ukranians, Indians, Poles” although a bit surprised that it’s also popular in India, what doesn’t mean that I have origins from India, because ancestry painting shows that I am 100% European:
… but I must admit that my maternal line (see one of images above) is bigger surprise: “Populations: Finns, Saami (Lapps), Sardinians, Basques” which means that I share gene variations with folks from very north of Europe. It’s cool however because I was always thinking that I am pure Polish but it looks like I am a mixture after all – it’s good because biodiversity is healthy in genetics – if your ancestors were too closely related, you are simply more susceptible to diseases.
On the other hand obviously I have no Jewish origins as neither paternal nor maternal line indicates it, and I don’t have increased risk of diseases typical for Jewish people.
Speaking of disease risks, Type 1 Diabetes is the disease with highest risk in my case, genetically speaking:
… and apparently I am carrier of Hemochromatosis (i.e. iron overload, what’s not bad as I have “no increased risk for iron overload” as this very genetic test show):
Geez, maybe I eat too much spinach? Time to reduce it, LOL.
My drug response page shows that I am not sensitive to drinking alcohol (we Slavs have it apparently) and I can drink a lot of coffee without the risk for heart attack:
My traits page shows that I have blue eyes, blond hair and no ability to be world-class sprinter (but I could be endurance athlete):
Of course I haven’t explored all things yet, but it’s good to see some stuf like my increased IQ: “Measures of Intelligence : Higher Non-Verbal IQ”. Generally it is nice to know stuff so that for example I know what are my genetic limitations, but of course research is still limited and personal genomics is just beginning.
Another major feature of 23andMe is “relative finder”: you can send up to 5 invitations a day for contact – to share genes and info and to be able to communicate via internal messaging system. Unfortunately (?) many cousins don’t answer to requests for communication, particularly if you are ugly, of perceived lower race and ethnicity, or for other reason. The fact is (it transpires in internal member-only forums of 23andMe) some people get much more requests ignored than others.
I have received some answers from cousins whereby closest cousins 23andMe found for me, were 4th and 5th cousins:
… and apart from basic genome sharing (highest default level in case of first cousin contact) there is also extended genome sharing where you can see traits, disease risk etc of other person:
Oh, so you see that 23andMe test is worth every cent: you get info about diseases with increased risk for you, your ancestry, you can even find your cousins, etc.
Some people claim that genetic tests have no sense as you can’t change your genes and you can’t do anything against incurable diseases, but I think that doing a genetic test is one of the best things you can do – to prevent potential diseases, to know what traits/abilities you have, to know of your ancestry and to find cousins.
I am sure in the future all medicine will be custom-made to your specific genes and idea to do any medical research on people without knowing their genome will be called “middle ages -like butchery”.
Finally: have you seen the movie GATTACA? With personal genetic testing we are approaching this era but since there are laws in USA that prevent discrimination based on genetic testing, it’s for good, not for bad.
See also: part 1 of this 23andMe review.