Thursday, 6 December 2012

Do These Genes Make My Butt Look Big?

You guys are all well aware of the fact that Rob and I are total nerds, right? I mean after reading my blog for really any period of time my guess is that would become pretty clear right away.  Right? Right.

What you might not know is that our nerd-ery tends to spill over into our gift-giving come holiday and birthday time.

For my birthday last year, Rob announced that he was going to buy me a full DNA profile from 23 and Me, and I could not have been more excited.  Not only does your profile show what diseases and conditions you are at greater or lower risk of getting, it can also show your typical reaction to certain drugs, where your family most likely came from, how much Neanderthal DNA you have, and what physical traits you're most likely to have given your genes.  And because they are constantly adding new research I receive constant updates about how my profile may change.

It's a really easy process--they sent me a tube that I had to spit into, and once I sent it back I had my results within 2 or 3 weeks.

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Genes are kind of like...a lake...you know what, I just put this here to break up the text.

I'm the queen of oversharing, plus quite a few people have expressed interest in the test, so I don't mind sharing with you some highlights of my genetic profile.  Obviously keep in mind that these are merely percentages; only full-on genetic counseling can tell me if I definitely will or won't get some of these conditions:

  • Slightly higher risk of celiac disease (blammo).
  • Slightly higher risk of developing several other autoimmune diseases (typical since having one autoimmune disease puts you at risk for others).
  • Lower risk of melanoma, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and ALS.
  • Slightly higher risk of becoming a heroin addict (seriously, this came up, though they admit that the research isn't 100% clear).
  • 2.9% Neanderthal DNA, which puts me in the 89% percentile.
  • Fully European genes.  Not a single trace of Asian/Native American or African ancestry.
  • Predicted traits of curly hair (yep, when it's long), near-sightedness (yep), and green/brown eyes (yep).
  • I'm in the same haplogroup as Jimmy Buffet!
  • My genes are most similar to modern-day people from the UK and Ireland (duh).
  • According to my genes I most likely have a big head (yep, it's huge).
  • I have some genes that point toward longevity (I'll be around forever).
  • Lower BMI.

Apparently because I'm a lady, the heritage portion can only reflect my mother's ancestry, not both my dad and my mom.  I don't really get all the science behind it but believe me, totally a thing.

Anyway for Christmas I decided to buy one for Rob since the service allows you to compare genes with another person (and thus see what your children may be at risk for, their probable traits, etc.).  He received his results this past week and was so freaking excited about it. His are a little less interesting, since he apparently is hardly at risk for anything (and he has a lower risk of Alzheimer's, which we were worried about since his grandmother had it), but since he's a boy with a fancy Y chromosome we can see both his parents' ancestries.  We also found out that our child has only a 22% chance of being blue-eyed, that we are not related (even though many people have suggested the possibility given the resemblance between us), and that neither of us appear to carry any of the diseases they keep track of.

Also, Rob is slightly less Neanderthal than I am, which he's pretty proud of.

So there you have it, quite possibly the most nerdy gift I have ever given and received. I doubt I have to say this, but 23andme.com has no idea I wrote this and all the opinions are mine, because I have no discretion and I thought other people might need a Christmas gift idea for their nerdy spouse/friend/sibling/godparent.  The test itself costs around $300 a piece, but you get access to your results for life (and, as I said, they're constantly updated).  Plus you can fill in surveys to help them with their research, which I think is pretty neat.  For us it was totally worth the cost.  

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