Wednesday, February 9, 2011

23andme.com - The Wrap Up Post


Have I facebooked about this event enough? No, because science - the kind of thing that enriches peoples lives and does more than Jersey Shore can't be talked about enough. How many newspapers have astrology columns? Now how many have science columns? You know what...I can't even get into that. That's another post for another time. Never the less, let me press forward.

I wrote several weeks ago about going into the 23andme process (http://adamdzak.blogspot.com/2010/12/23andme_27.html) and you know what was waiting in my email today when I got home from work? An email with the following subject line...

Your Genetic Profile is Ready at 23andMe!

Yeah, I flipped out. I lost it. My heart was beating a bit faster. I was about to see and understand an insane amount of information about myself in but a single click. Was I going to discover my mother was wrong and heritage isn't mexican? What if I'm actually african american? What if I'm asian? What if the cancer my grandfather denied he had, he actually did and I'm genetically predisposed to possibly get it? This list of what if's goes on for quite some time and I won't repeat myself with what I outlined in my first blog post on this topic.

So I went over to the website, I logged in...and suddenly the page that was otherwise empty for the past weeks was now vomiting data all over the page. My elevated health risks, my decreased risks, my traits (that's right, I spit into a tube and they can tell me my eye color. Yeah. Let that sit in for awhile), my carrier status for disease, and my response to drugs. The last one is kind of the beneficial endgame of this, drugs would be prescribed to you based on your expected response to it. Perhaps the dosage needs to be higher because you have some obscure resistance to it. That kind of treatment sounds beyond promising to me.

So what's this? Information warfare against myself for the future? Maybe it's bad word usage but it sounds neat to me. Without sharing specific results as I'm still figuring out how sensitive I am to this information being publically disclosed I can see my likelihood for getting diseases. That sounds beyond useful to me. That sounds like something I want to share with my doctors and that could be planned for and possibly prevented. What could be better than that? What if I have a 62.49% chance of getting really severe arthritis? Would I not want to possibly be able to prevent this? But what about the diseases my family knows nothing about? The ones they, and now have in turn me made into a carrier for? Would I not want to take preventative measures?

I will tell you some obvious information that I don't mind sharing, because they are some interesting traits that you think "Oh, hey thats weird to point out. But neat." Here are a few things that have been pointed out to me merely by spitting into a tube:
Eye color: Likely brown (I do have brown eyes)
Muscles: Likely a sprinter (so far this is on par, I run a lot but I have trouble running anything past 3 miles)
Alcohol Flush Reaction: Does not flush (this is known as "Asian Glow" and happens when you don't process alcohol like everyone else, resulting in a red glow. Typically, people of Asian heritage suffer from this.)
Caffeine Metabolism: Metabolizes quickly (fair enough, I enjoy coffee, mountain dew, and other caffeinated beverages on occasion and I don't have crazy reactions to them.)
Bitter Taste Perception: Unlikely to taste - correct. I don't really taste bitter things.
Lactose Intolerance: Likely tolerant - correct. I drink milk and consume dairy with no adverse effects. My father on the other hand is lactose intolerant.
Freckles: Unlikely - but interesting my "people" are disposed to have them. I however specifically am not.

But what do I mean by my "people"? I'm white. My mother says I have mexican heritage and my father is from a serbian background. But I'm American. I mean, really...what else there to say on this topic? People always talk about their ethnic backgrounds but what if that information was wrong? Better yet, what if it was right but only on the most superficial levels? Well, interesting fact here...I am in fact Asian and African American. Yeah. My mom's family line while mexican actually started off as eastern asians. My dad on the other hand, is of serbian/european descent.

It's funny because all I did was joke before/during this process was say "It'd be great if I turn out to be asian or black...or both!" Lone behold, I am those two things.

What's left after that? Discovering any relative who may have done this process as well...well all the relatives I don't know about who've done this. I got the health/ancestry today and according to the site in a week they will share family heritage with me. It will link me to other members on the website who I am actually related too and I kid you not, possibly discovering fifth cousins.

On top of all of this, I am going to receive up to date information every month on genetic information pertinent to me. But before I close, there was one bit of information I was really curious about. I am a Type 1 diabetic. 23andme.com explicity states they can't/won't diagnose you but merely show you your genetic predisposition to certain disease. I laughed thinking about results coming back saying "You're diabetic" but here's what interesting. Here's what I truly found to be a kick in the pants.

Out of 100 people, I had less than a 1% chance of contracting diabetes. It was 0.70% to be exact. It would seem that someone has to be the statistic.

1 comment:

the kicker said...

Knew you were excited about doing this. I'm glad you got it done.

I especially love the health information and how simply amazing it must be to not have to guess certain things.

I'd love to do it to see if I can find out why I have hyperthyroidism, along with other things.

I have Asian heritage as well... my great grandfather was Chinese.

I hope to get my genetic profile done as well.