Thursday, May 31, 2012


I think I mentioned that, for Mother's Day, Matt signed me up for a genetic testing service. The results came back recently, and I've been poking around the site in complete fascination ever since. I thought I'd share some of it with you guys.

The analysis is broken down into several sections. The first is Health, in which it describes how your genetics affects your probability of developing certain diseases or reacting to certain drugs.
These are just the top 3 items in each category; the actual listing shows my comparative risk for over 100 diseases and conditions.

You can click on any item to get a page of information. Some of it is very technical and would only make sense to someone who's studied genetic profiling, but the key points are all well-summarized with graphics.
I'm more likely than most to develop arthritis. But then, I knew that already.

It also offers a whole section on what your genetics suggests about how you're put together: your most probable eye color, your hair texture, your probable blood type, whether your muscles are better suited to sprints or endurance, even whether you're genetically disposed to eat more or less.
(Oh well, it's genetic. Guess there's no fighting it. Pass the doughnuts!)

The next section talks about your ancestry. It even provides a nice map that shows you where your ancestors most likely lived, approximately 500 years ago.
This is my maternal ancestry. Lacking a Y chromosome, they can't definitively trace the paternal line.

It even breaks down the location tags by specific chromosome for you.
What we already knew: I am very, very white.
There are pages and pages of stuff you can read about where your ancestors came from and the likelihood of various ethnicities in your background.

For instance, I'd always heard that my grandfather's grandmother was Cherokee -- if you'd seen him, you'd know there was definitely some variety of Native American blood in there... but genetically speaking, I'm probably at least 5 generations away from any Native Americans. So maybe it was Grandad's great-grandmother, instead? Or, given that I'm fair and blue-eyed compared to my parents' and brother's dark hair and brown eyes, it's possible that I just received a combination of chromosomes that simply don't contain those Native American markers. (I'd love to see my brother's results, just for comparison.)

And the final cool thing that the site does is compare you to other people in their database and offer up the possibility that you might be related to some of them, as far out as 5th cousins.

You can fill in your profile with things like family names and locations your family has lived to try to help narrow the search, and the site will forward messages for you if you want to try to contact any of them.

You can fill in surveys to participate in research, too, which is both fun and makes me feel like a good citizen of the scientific community.

Nifty stuff! Cool present, Matt!

No comments: