23andMe Health and Ancestry Review
This article was updated on June 21, 2020 with the new features that have been added to 23andMe.
Is 23 and Me worth doing?
For Christmas 2018 my husband bought me the 23andMe Health & Ancestry kit. All my life I knew I was Serbian, but now I would be able to find any suprises about my heritage as well as what diseases I might be predisposed to getting later in life.
The process was pretty easy. You spit quite a bit into this tube, apply some label stickers they give you so when they receive the tube they don’t make a mistake with your sample. Then in about two weeks you get your results. If you download the App on your smartphone you can access your results anytime, anywhere.
The above image is a screenshot of my ancestry overview report. I was quite suprised actually when it said I was highly likely to be from Bosnia & Herzegovina and Serbian I was only a possible match for. My mom is part Bosnia, so I guess her genes beat my dad’s, or maybe they both have some Bosnian in them. The part about me being Greek was awesome to find out. Now my husband calls me his Greek Goddess.
If you’d like to share your results online, 23andMe let’s you create a custom card in a chosen color palette for sharing on your social media profiles or in a smartphone message. The above is mine.
For the Health portion of the DNA test I found out that I have some risk of getting Age-Related Macular Degeneration, Celiac Disease and Late-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease. Otherwise I’m pretty healthy. And you know what else the health report tells you, it can predict if you have dimples, flat feet, your haircolor, all sorts of things about you. The only one they got wrong was dimples; the report said I most likely don’t have dimples when in fact I do. Oh well, nothings perfect. Afterall, 23 and Me clearly indicates that it is no diagnosing and what they are reporting on has a chance of being inaccurate.
The Best Part Of 23andMe: Getting Your Family To Do It With You
February 2020 23andMe added a new feature that enables you to create your family tree, linking the accounts of your family members so everyone can easily click-thru and see eachothers results and do compatibility reports.
One glitch is that you can’t seem to link your spouse’s account (I think because they are not a blood relation), so you will have to add them in manually.
The compatability reports though are my favorite new feature. The mystery behind your “Unassigned” result(s) will be revealed and oh it is awesome.
I had 0.2% unassigned in my original 23andMe report, but now I now know that half of that (aka 0.1%) is East Asian and Native American thanks to my dad taking the DNA test. Dads are so important in so many ways, not just for learning about your heritage of course. Now I just have to figure out what that straggling 0.1% is (maybe African? Latin?).
You can even compare your DNA with all of your connections too, not just one at a time. Technically I have a little more of my mom in me, but I share way more identical DNA units with my dad. For instance, I share 19 cMs with my dad while I only share 7 identical cMs with my mom. Makes sense because people have always said I look more like my dad. A centiMorgan (cM) is a unit of measure for DNA.
In the final analysis, was 23andMe worth it? While it’s not as accurate and detailed as DNA tests using blood samples, it’s an affordable and still informative alternative. I say give it a try! It’s a great gift idea for any occassion. But do be prepared for someone not wanting to do it. As a last resort (like with a grandparent), explain that their taking the test will help descendants. It worked on my mom who was very against doing 23andMe. Worst case scenario, they can just regift it to someone who does want to do it.
New Results As Of November 3, 2020
As more people participate in 23andMe research, results change. And get better! As of today I now know that I am part Siberian. and I’m unequivocally Southern European.