Back in December I ordered a DNA kit from the company 23andMe because I was curious about what my genome could tell me about me. Several weeks later I got this box in the mail:
In it was this little plastic tube I had to spit into:
Then I put the tube back into the box and had it shipped to the 23andMe lab in the Netherlands. Fast forward two and a half months later and I got an email that my results were in.
The first thing I checked out in my online 23andMe profile was how many procent of my DNA was inherited from Neanderthal ancestors. The reason is that I kind of have a nerdy fascination with this extinct species of humans and was eager to know if I’m in anyway related to them. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I am actually in the 99th percentile, meaning 99% of 23andMe users have lower Neanderthal DNA than I have!
It can seem a weird thing to be happy about but I’m kinda weird so there you go. Having a high procentage of Neanderthal DNA can also tell you something about you. It has been discovered for example that it can lead to having a higher risk for depression but also a better immunity to certain diseases.
Then I looked at my ancestry. Having a French father and a French-Swedish mother I was curious of what it might look like. This is what I found:
As expected I was mostly French. But as was a little bit surprised to find out I was more British and Irish than Scandinavian. Overall I think it was cool to be able to see my ancestry all over Europe, from Finland to the Iberian peninsula.
Next I looked up what genes I may have that carried potential for different medical conditions:
To my relief I didn’t find anything unusual and worrying. But certain features were locked, like info on whether you have the genes for Alzheimers and breast cancer. It seems you have to ask to have that unlock, probably because a lot of people prefer not to know when it comes to these conditions. I’m myself still pondering whether or not I want these features unlocked.
You can also look up other interesting genetic traits you have:
Some are not that super interesting, like the texture of your earwax. But others can be very helpful to know. Like for example I learned I have a higher number of fast-twitching muscle fibers, which makes me better for strength training than endurance training:
This has actually helped me make a decision. I’ve been pondering lately if I should focus on running or go back to weight training. As I’m genetically much more built for strength training that’s what I’ve decided to focus on. After the 5K I have in the beginning of May, I’ll get back to the gym!
The 23andMe website has other cool features to help you learn more about yourself, like it can help you find genetic relatives. This has actually helped people who are adopted reconnect with their biological families.
You can also browse raw data if you’re looking for specific genes:
There is even a website you can upload your genome information to and learn more about your genetic makeup. A word of warning though: you might learn some things you would have preferred not to know.
Overall I’m glad I took this test. I learned a lot of interesting things about myself that I wouldn’t have known otherwise. I’m definitely not done researching my DNA and I hope to continue learning more about it.
Here is the link to the 23andMe website if you’re interested in taking their DNA test: 23andme.com