Have any of you heard of the website 23 and Me? I heard about it late last year and was intrigued. It supposedly gives you insight into your risks for certain health conditions and information about your ancestry.
23andMe is a DNA analysis service providing information and tools for individuals to learn about and explore their DNA. We use the Illumina OmniExpress Plus Genotyping BeadChip (shown here). In addition to the variants already included on the chip by Illumina, we’ve included our own, customized set of variants relating to conditions and traits that are interesting. Technical information on the performance of the chip can be found on Illumina’s website.
All of the laboratory testing for 23andMe is done in a CLIA-certified laboratory.
In February of this year, I decided to purchase a kit for only $99. I know genes aren’t necessarily the whole picture, and simply having a gene indicated in a certain illness does not mean you will actually get the illness. Sometimes, your environment or exposure to other variables can “activate” a gene, causing the disease. Nevertheless, I was curious to find out about my risk factor for certain illnesses and conditions, which I already have such as asthma, eczema, Celiac Disease …
First, you get a kit in the mail. You have to fill a tube with your saliva and mail it in. The results tell you if you are at increased, decreased or typical risk for having certain conditions. These conditions include asthma, atopic dermatitis, celiac disease, Crohn’s, endometriosis, gallstones, Alzheimer’s, hypothyroidism, infertility and loads more.
I was not surprised by most of my health results. For ancestry results, if you set your privacy options in a certain way, it allows you to connect (if you choose) with people who share your DNA. It’s common to find 2nd-to-4th cousins from what I hear (and my own experience). I will say that I find out some VERRRRYYY interesting information through this side of the DNA testing. Science is crazy. So crazy, that I really don’t 100% understand all of my results, but it was still fascinating for me. For more information, check out their FAQs.
Is this something you would consider doing? Have you ever done any type of DNA testing?
UPDATE: Because I get a lot of searches directing here about screening for Celiac Disease through 23 and me, I want to clarify something. 23 and me can tell you if you have the genes associated with Celiac Disease. However, it is estimated that 30% of the population has these genes and yet only 1 in 133 people actually has Celiac Disease. DNA testing is not a diagnosis. If you think you have Celiac Disease, you should talk to your doctor about testing BEFORE you go on a gluten-free diet.