So I’m really bad at science, which is unfortunate because I really love it. In college I had aspirations of being a sports medicine doctor, but then my science-turns-brain-to-mush reaction got in the way, and I settled for English instead. But recently I let science back into my life in a very non-brain-to-mush way. I had the opportunity to have my DNA tested using a saliva sample. Johnny wasn’t very interested in having his DNA tested because, as he said it, “I’d rather not know what diseases I’m going to get.” I’m quite the opposite, and I’d rather know what I’m predisposed to. Anywho, I just got my results last week, and I’m kind of obsessed! But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me start at the beginning.
A few weeks ago I received a DNA kit (aka a kit with a tube for me to spit in) from 23andMe. I spit in the tube, which Johnny said was gross to watch because I’m such a terrible spitter, and sent it back to 23andMe. And lo-and-behold, three weeks later I have all my DNA results online and ready for me to see. And here’s the kind of information it entailed:
- health risks (what I’m at higher, lower, and average risk for — such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s, obesity, etc.)
- inherited conditions (e.g., syndromes, diseases)
- traits (e.g., eye color, lactose intolerance/tolerance, muscle performance, likely birth weight of my children)
- ancestry (where I originate from, peeps!)
That’s the gist of it, but 23andMe provides over 240 health reports. It’s a boatload of info. Maybe some of that information seems scary, but getting the results actually wasn’t scary at all! It was mostly just really cool. So cool, in fact, that Johnny wants to do it now, too. The health risks I have a higher likelihood for weren’t a surprise since I’ve had parents or grandparents with those conditions. And although my likelihood was higher, it was always only a few percentage points higher than average. It’s not like it said, You have a 50% higher chance of getting this terrible disease!! It was more just like, Oh, hey, 5% higher chance, so eat healthy, k?
Anyway, I loved it, and I’ve been showing my results to all of my family members. And they’re all wanting to get their own DNA kit now, too. I got to try out 23andMe for free, but the kit is only $99, which is kind of awesome considering what you’re getting in return. When 23andMe was founded, the price of the personal genetic service was $1,000 (barely a dent in the ol’ budget, right?) and over time they’ve been able to reduce it to $99, making it widely available. That’s pretty insane. Your DNA. Analyzed. Science. Awesome.
And, on a financial note, knowing what I now know because of 23andMe, I can potentially save our little family thousands of dollars in medical bills in the future. If I start now, I can prevent almost all of the health risks I’m predisposed to with a few easy lifestyle changes. And because of that, getting Johnny’s DNA results, too, will be worth every penny. Sure, some things you just can’t predict, but after looking through my personalized risks and knowing my family’s history, I know the ball’s in my court on a lot of things.
Admittedly, I feel a renewed motivation to be healthy, and it’s also given me some pride in my ancestry and where I came from. Who knew nerdy science stuff could be so cool? GO SCIENCE!! [cue Bill Nye theme song]
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.