23 & Me: What? & Why?
It’s ordered! Clem and I have been talking about doing 23 & me for some time now. For those of you who have no clue what I am talking about, here are the basics. 23&me is Personal Genome Service or DNA testing program that opens up a wealth of knowledge about your DNA. Your DNA is screened for over 250 health conditions and traits. They also map out your lineage going back centuries. The lineage aspect of the testing has been built into a ancestry network which allows you to connect and research your lineage. The final feature to the program allows you to stay educated about your health as science advances. That’s the what?
We are doing this program because we want to find out more about our health and ancestry. For me it’s primarily for health reasons. I know a lot of about my family health history already but with my mother and grandmothers recent cancer diagnosis, I am eager for more information. Since Clem is adopted, he really has no information about his families medical history and ancestry. He’s not immediately interested in connecting with his birth parents but is interested in finding out more about his lineage. We also decided to test Paley’s DNA because we wanted to find out more about our egg donor genetics. We could just do all 3 kids but we still are not interested in finding out who the donor was for each of the twins.
I ran across two interesting article’s online about 23&me. The first article was done by blogger Socrates. He discusses the pros and cons of the service. He also talks about and shares his test results. While discussing the real question to ask, “do you really want to know the results?”. The genetic testing is not the full spectrum you would get with a genetic physician. The testing is only on certain medical risks like Alzheimer's, Gall or Kidney stones or Cancer. Along with carrier mapping for such things as Cystic Fibrosis or Gaucher Disease. Of coarse the list is extremely long. They currently test for 254 carrier status, disease risk, drug response and trait markers. Here is a complete list of all the markers they test for:
Another great article is on Forbes.com, which is more of story than an article. Author Kashmir Hill discusses the recent story shared on the Wall Street Journal website about male customer of 23andme who lives in Corte Madera, CA, who found many cousins through the website. He also found an older brother who it turns out was given up for adoption by his parents. The son went to his elderly mother about meeting the supposed brother and it turns out to be true. All three were reunited. We of coarse run risk of this coming around to us in two ways. Either connecting with Clem’s biological family or maybe even with the kids egg donor. Yes it’s opening a whole new can of worms for our family but not knowing anything can really take the toll on one’s mental well being.
So here we await our three test tubes to be delivered in the next week or so. Better yet, we are waiting to fill up our little cups up with SPIT. The challenge will certainly be getting pail to fill the test tube up to the fill line. I’ll post another update once we have shipped off our samples.