Friday, March 11, 2011

The Results are In

The Scientist and I have received the results from our genetic testing kit! The kits were ordered through 23 and Me and the results take anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks. All you have to provide is a saliva sample - the kit comes with everything you need.

The results are broken down by Disease Risk, Traits, Carrier Status, and Drug Response. The testing also traces your ancestry. I only have access to my maternal line, obviously, since I don't carry a Y Chromosome. I'm hoping to convince my brothers to get tested, too, so we can see the paternal line as well.

MY RESULTS: I won't go into great detail since there are hundreds of factors listed, but I'll highlight key points. Also, these results are based on my genotype and aren't specific to ME individually. It just indicates that research has indicated that people with my genotype have increased, decreased, or typical odds of these factors compared with other genotypes.

Disease Risk - For the most part, I have typical risk for most of the diseases listed. But I have significantly increased odds of age-related macular degeneration. My grandmother had this and was blind by the end of her life as a result. It was extremely debilitating and isolating for her, so I've been spending some time learning more about research, treatment and prevention. I also have an increased risk of bladder and thyroid cancer, but there is only limited research done on this. One study also indicated I have a greater risk of endometriosis, but another study contradicted it. So I'm not sure where I stand on that, but definitely something to think about. Another risk I have is for Restless Leg Syndrome. Who would've thought?

Traits - I have straight hair! And brown eyes! And no male pattern baldness! But seriously, even though this seems obvious, I found a few other interesting things. I don't have a gene that causes alcohol flush. I'm not resistant to NoroVirus (but The Scientist is! He can take all the cruises he wants!) or HIV and I have higher odds of Malarial Anemia. I have a higher pain tolerance and my muscle performance leans toward sprinter (true! As a competitive swimmer, I was definitely a sprinter). I carry two different genes that are related to increased IQ from breastfeeding - and I was breastfed as a baby.

Carrier Status - I'm not a carrier of much, including Cystic Fibrosis or any of the BRCA indicators. Neither is The Scientist, which is great news if we have daughters. I am a carrier of Phenylketonuria, which is a bit scary, but The Scientist isn't so there is no chance it would express in our children.

Drug Response - I was really interested in this one because there is a history of addiction and alcoholism in our family. My results show that I do have higher odds of heroin addiction. Even though I don't ever see myself seeking out heroin, it will make me more conscious of any opiate narcotics that I may get in my lifetime. Luckily, they make me nauseous so I avoid them whenever possible. Plus, I have a high pain tolerance! Win! My response and likelihood of alcohol dependence is typical, which is good news. Still something to aware of, though, since there is a family history. I'm a fast metabolizer of caffeine (I would've guessed the opposite...) and I have increased sensitivity to Coumadin, which is an anti coagulant.

Ancestry - My maternal haplogroup is U3a1 and is 45,000 years old! It originated in the Middle East and South Eastern Europe and is apparently more rare than other haplogroups. This is really interesting to me because most of what I know about my mum's side of the family comes from Scotland and Northern Europe. I guess her olive skin had to come from somewhere, though. I'm really interested in my paternal line, but I'll have to wait to see if my brothers get tested.

There was much more information in my results, but it would take a much longer post to share it all with you. If you have any questions about my results, or about genetics in general, let me know! This testing was relatively inexpensive and the information it provides is invaluable. I would encourage anyone to seek out this information!

Side note: I've been slowly working on a redesign for this blog and would love to know what you think! I'm not quite done with it yet, but I also am not sure what else I want to do. I'm thinking of abandoning the "Allow Myself..." blog title and just sticking with Seattle Stevie, hence the new header. Feedback anyone?


  1. Amazing!!!! This would be fascinating to learn and I think it's great that you two did this together, how much fun to learn all of this about each other and yourself! The ancestry part was super interesting in particular to me. And try to stay away from heroin :) This kinda makes me want to do this, though part of me (the avoider part) would be a bit scared to read it! And the blog looks great... I gotta say, I do like the new header!

  2. Wow! Were the results super confusing to figure out? I ask because my boyfriend is adopted and he did some kind of testing to try and figure out his ancestry since he knows nothing about his biological dad, but the results we got were so confusing we figured we'd need to be geneticists to figure anything out.

  3. Interesting! Also, love the new look...and blog title! :)

  4. 45,000??? That's so crazy to think about. Very cool. I would love to try this, too.

    Love the new blog design!

  5. You talking about this just makes me interested in genetic testing that much more. Not even in terms of having kids (although that certainly is part of it), but wanting to know more about myself and my genes. So fascinating!

  6. I like the new blog motif. Very chic.

  7. I WANT TO DO THAT! (And your design is pretttty) :)

  8. I'm particularly fascinated by the ancestry section, though I know that's probably the least important aspect of the test ;) What a neat project--I'll have to tell Colby about it and see if he's interested!

  9. @Caitlin - It can definitely be scary to learn about some things, but I think knowledge is power. If you're more prone to certain kinds of diseases, you can get tested early on and watch for early signs of disease.

    @Lindsay - The results were really easy to figure out. It explains everything pretty thoroughly and in a way most people could understand. I know there is probably a lot more I could learn and it might get really complicated, but this information was easy to interpret.

    @Betty - Thank you!!!

    @Julie - Yep, pretty old. It's crazy to think that my genetics have slowly been making their way across the world for several millenia!

    @E - It is really interesting, isn't it? I think genetic testing is starting to become something that everyone will have access to. It's excellent information to have for ourselves.

    @Suzanne - Thank you, darlin'!

    @Doni - DO IT! And thank you :-)

    @Angela - I didn't think I would be as interested, but once I saw the information I want to research it even more. Yay for science!

  10. I'd love to do genetic testing like this. So interesting!

    I love the new look of the blog & Seattle Stevie as the title (I always think of that as the title of your blog anyways). It's simple & chic.

  11. I want to do it! Was it expensive?

  12. @Simone - Thank you for the feedback! I thought keeping it simple was best. And you should definitely look into the testing, it's such powerful information to have!

    @Nikki - It wasn't too expensive at all. He did order it on sale and it was around $160 per person, which I think is totally worth it, especially if you consider how much a hospital or doc's office might charge for testing like this!

  13. Yeah, but can you type?

  14. i'm late to the game, but HOLY COW THIS IS SO FASCINATING!! i'm a little scared to find some things out about myself.. but i think that's overpowered by curiosity and sheer coolness that they can do this and tell me so much!

  15. @Alice - Isn't it so cool?! I was definitely a little scared about what I would find out, but yeah - the coolness factor overruled the fear.

  16. I'm U3a1 and living in Seattle! Cousins, perhaps?

  17. Hi my maternal haplogroup is U3a1. I am Scottish and can trace my maternal line in Scotland back over 200 years.

    U3 - Sea Peoples

    U3 mtDNA marker is that of THE SEA PEOPLES, and it is very old indeed, maybe 40,000 years old. Across Europe it is rare with a frequency of 0.9% but in the Near East it is more common and is found in 4% of the population. In Iraq it is 6%, Turkey 7%, Armenia 5% and in Syria it is 7%. But around the Dead Sea in Jordan the frequency rises to 39% in one small sample. This is known as a founder effect and it happens in relatively closed communities when people rarely look beyond them for marriage partners. Certainly hundreds, probably thousands of years ago, one woman settled somewhere around the eastern shores of the Dead Sea and she became the ancestor of very many descendants who live in the same places now.

    U3 probably arrived in Europe via Turkey and the short crossing of the Bosphorus, and from there moved up the great river valleys of the Danube and the Rhine. Or it may well have taken a seaward route. In a process known as enclave colonisation, communities moved along coastlines to settle in new territories. It was probably as part of this wave of movement across Europe that reached Britain and Ireland where it remains very rare at 0.4%.

  18. U3a1 means that you are a descendant of Mizraim who was the first of the Pharonic Dynasty's after the flood. He was one of Ham's sons. Also I've seen some connection to Thracians as well but they believe they migrated from Egypt as well.

  19. U3a1 means that you are a descendant of Mizraim who was the first of the Pharonic Dynasty's after the flood. He was one of Ham's sons. Also I've seen some connection to Thracians as well but they believe they migrated from Egypt as well.


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