My DNA: 23andMe

by jessicaturner on August 16, 2013

Working in health care, I can’t help but be interested in the latest in science and research. I also strongly believe that the more you know about you and your health, the better off you are.

A company I have long heard about and respected for its research is 23andMe. Have you heard of it?

23andMe is dedicated to empowering people with information about their health and family history by analyzing their DNA. Watch this short video to understand what I mean.

In late June, I received a kit for my DNA sample. I know it sounds gross, but you simply collect a bunch of saliva in a tube, then mix it with a solution and send it off. Very easy.

I was really excited to receive my results because 23andMe provides over 240 health reports, plus information about your ancestry.

About six weeks later, I received my results. The data is robust, and I am still clicking and digesting it all. These health reports can be incredibly helpful in monitoring your health, how you take care of yourself, etc. I definitely plan to share them with my general practitioner. A few cool things I found.

My DNA shows I am at increased risk for migraines. I have suffered with migraines for more than 10 years, so this was an encouraging piece of data for me. 23andMe offers message board communities around diseases and findings, and it has been interesting reading what others have posted about their migraines.

My DNA told me lots of fun facts about my ancestry – like where my ancestors came from (we can only trace back a few generations) and that I have 3.6% Neanderthal in me. Woah.

Neanderthal bones were found in a Vindija cave in Croatia and then scientists extracted Neanderthal DNA. They then  assembled the Neanderthal genome sequence, which they use in research today. Pretty amazing, huh?

My DNA showed me relatives from around the world. 23andMe has more than 250,000 members, making them the largest DNA-based ancestry service worldwide. Check out all the locations I have distant relatives.

23andMe is also doing powerful research in the areas of Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimers and so much more. I can’t help but also share this cool video about Muhammad Ali.

When 23andMe was founded, the price of the personal genetic service was $1,000 and over time they have been able to reduce it to $99, making it a widely available information tool. I know for many, $99 is still a lot of money, but when you think of the cost of medical bills, having this information is incredibly powerful and could literally save you thousands.

Definitely check out 23andMe. I’m so glad I did and will be encouraging my family to take advantage of this resource.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.



{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Jen (Balancing Beauty and Bedlam) August 16, 2013 at 9:40 am

Wow, that is amazing all they can find out. With being adopted and no medical history for me, that would be such an interesting read.

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jessicaturner August 16, 2013 at 9:43 am

I don’t think I knew you were adopted Jen! Yes, it would be super valuable for you.

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Rebecca August 16, 2013 at 9:47 am

I didn’t realize you were adopted, either. I was talking with my friend the other day who was adopted. I wonder if he would be interested in this.

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Robin August 16, 2013 at 10:04 am

As a genetic counselor I would also encourage you to compile a thorough family health history – and to share that info with your PCP as well. Our environment and lifestyle combine with our genetic makeup to influence our health as well. There is a wealth of family health history info on the Genetic Alliance’s website at http://www.geneticalliance.org/fhh.resources.

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Cody Doll August 16, 2013 at 2:38 pm

Wow. If I had the money I so wouldn’t mind spending a 1000 knowing all I can, especially since my parents aren’t helpful. This is a really cool idea and I hope one day that I could be apart.

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jessicaturner August 16, 2013 at 8:22 pm

It’s just $99, not $1,000! Hope you can swing it in the future.

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Meghan August 16, 2013 at 9:55 pm

WOW! This is amazing all the info they can find out. Thanks for making me aware of it.

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Melissa Chapman August 17, 2013 at 10:42 am

These kits are CRUCIAL and so wonderfully affordable-I would recommend them for couples who are contemplating having children.

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Jo-Lynne Shane {Musings of a Housewife} August 18, 2013 at 5:19 am

How fascinating! I had no idea it was so affordable.

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Laura August 18, 2013 at 1:59 pm

What about privacy concerns? Or follow up counseling? Can this info be used to deny you life insurance coverage, for instance? Federal law prohibits the use of genetic testing as a reason for denying health coverage, but not other types of insurance. And once you have this information, what should you do with it? Something to think about as people weigh the pros and cons of whether to have testing done or not. And as for the comment about people using them before having children—please see a genetic counselor to discuss any results so that you truly understand what they mean.

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Jodi @ Mom's Favorite Stuff August 19, 2013 at 7:50 am

So interesting! I’m definitely be interested in doing this – I’m so curious about this type of thing.

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Kristin August 19, 2013 at 10:10 am

I can’t believe they were able to find all that out!

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Crissy August 20, 2013 at 8:53 am

Whoa, this is fascinating. I want this for Christmas!

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Cara November 25, 2013 at 6:56 pm

Just saw this article and remembered you reviewing a kit like this — I guess by the same company! Thought you would want to see this…

http://m.nbcnews.com/health/stop-selling-those-dna-tests-fda-tells-23andme-2D11650789

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jessicaturner November 26, 2013 at 5:30 am

Wow! Thanks for sharing. I will definitely be following this.

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Gem April 10, 2015 at 2:55 pm

Hi there,
I came across your blog and the information on it was really helpful thank you. I too am a migraine sufferer ( I have migraine with aura) and it has left me disabled. This would be great to show ‘ look I’m not making this up’ can I ask can you print the details out? Did it help you?

Thank you
Gem

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