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I’m a bit of a nerd and have always been curious about biology, especially when it comes to genetics and how much of your DNA determines the person that you are today. You may remember when I was sent a 23andMe Ancestry Kit as part of the Mother’s Day Babbleboxx. This was one product I couldn’t wait to try out and I’m back today sharing my results as well as a review! In the past couple of weeks, I’ve actually brought up to friends, family, and coworkers the fact that I had my ancestry tested and I’ve heard some pretty crazy stories from others about how they actually found out that their actual ethnicity was nothing like what they actually thought and I can honestly say that the results can be a little surprising. I don’t want to spoil all the juicy details so be sure to read on for more!
HOW IT WORKS
It’s 3 easy steps.
- Order your kit.
There are 2 different kits to choose from: Ancestry or Ancestry + Health. The Ancestry Kit is the base package ($99) and provides ancestry reports plus a DNA Relative Finder that allows you to find and connect with relatives in the 23andMe database who share DNA with you. The Ancestry + Health Kit ($199) provides the ancestry reports, the DNA Relative Finder, plus health risk reports that indicate if you’re at danger for diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, carrier status reports indicating if you’re a carrier for certain genetic issues like cystic fibrosis and sickle cell anemia, plus wellness reports that provide inside on things like lactose intolerance, and finally a traits report that tells if you’re likely to have features such as curly hair and dimples. (You can see a chart breaking down the differences here.) I started off with the basic Ancestry Kit and ended up upgrading to the Ancestry + Health Kit once my reports came in as I just found all the data to be so interesting!
There’s no need to go to a clinic or use any needles. The kit comes with a little test tube and you spit about a teaspoon amount into it before mailing it off! The package is pre-paid and it’s as easy as dropping into your mailbox.
The tests take about 6-8 weeks to turnaround and an email is sent once the reports are ready! All your information is kept private and just simply log into your account to discover your DNA!
I was expecting this to come back as pretty much 100% Chinese so I was definitely surprised to see the 6.5% Korean in there! I’ve oftentimes been called out as looking Korean as I do have pretty round face that’s similar to most Koreans, so it was interesting to see a little bit of that in my DNA.
It was also interesting to see my ancestry timeline and trace back how many generations ago different ethnicities emerged in my DNA. Looks like the 4 generations ago, I had an ancestor from Korea! The Chinese generation definitely lines up with what I know about my own grandparents and it’s made me curious about what happened during the gap that spans the 3rd generation back.
Also included in the base Ancestry package is the DNA Relatives tool, basically a fun way to find people out there that you share DNA with! My results only turned up third to fifth cousins but I was talking to my hairstylist about it and she actually found a long-lost sister who she ended up going out to visit in California — it was absolutely uncanny how similar they looked!
Genetic Health Risk Report
The next few reports are part of the Ancestry + Health package and I’m so glad I upgraded! I was particularly curious about the Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Diseases as I have grandparents who have suffered from both of these health concerns. I was a bit nervous to see these results but knowledge is power and I figured at the least I look into preventative measures if I was at risk. I was relieved to see that there were no variants in my DNA that put me at risk but it was still a good reminder to live a healthy lifestyle.
Carrier Status Report
This would have been a useful report to have before having kids as these show variants in my DNA that I could pass on to my kids. There are 42 different variants that are tested (my screenshot only shows a small snippet) and I love that you can click through on each one to discover more about the variant that’s tested as well as information on symptoms to look for and treatment options. Mine didn’t show with any variants but this is definitely something I was curious about too!
The next two reports are definitely the “fun” ones to go through! When it comes to wellness, I had pretty much known already that I was lactose intolerant but it was still good to see it confirmed. I was also surprised to see fat and weight on there and it looks like I fall right into the “average” category! 🤣 It was correct on all other accounts too — I generally don’t consume too much caffeine, am a super deep sleeper (I set 3 alarms to make sure I hear at least one!), and really don’t move much in my sleep. I was surprised to see that my genetic muscle composition is common in elite athletes! According to the report, I have a genetic marker in my ACTN3 gene that controls whether muscle cells product a protein that’s found in fast-twitch muscle fibers. I guess that explains why I enjoy the high-intensity interval training workouts instead of the long endurance type workouts!
This is a small snippet of the full traits report that includes 19 different listings. I thought the asparagus odor detection was a random one but I do think I have a pretty sensitive sense of smell (and it was on overdrive during my first trimester of pregnancy too!). Unfortunately no dimples from me and I can confirm that both my babies did have a ton of hair as newborns!
There’s even a 23andMe app that lets you access all your reports on your mobile device. I can say that whenever I’ve talked about my DNA testing with others, it’s always been really fun to bring up the app and share different traits that I found out about myself as well as play with the interactive map to show parts of my ancestry!
A big concern is privacy so I wanted to make sure to address it here. All this data is pretty meaningful as well as personal. 23andMe give you full control on how your information is stored, used, and shared. You can choose whether to store your saliva sample, if you want to have your account be visible to other members, and if you want to participate in the DNA Relatives tool that connects you with others that share the same DNA! You can choose whether you want to participate in their research studies and I respect that 23andMe gives their customers the option to stay completely private if desired.
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Seeing my results from 23andMe has been so interesting and I actually bought a kit for hubby too! He is by far much more diverse when it comes to ancestry (his largest component is 36% Iberian and turns out he’s even 18% Native American!). Give it a shot and I have a feeling you might be surprised by what you discover!
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