23andMe is back on!

23&Me_4The other day I decided to check back on my results from 23andMe to see if there was any updated information. The controversial genome test that was halted by the FDA since November 2013 is now, once again, available on the market. I was one of the lucky participants of this groundbreaking testing when the company first launched and was pleasantly surprised with the entire process.

Where do I start?

STEP 1: Start by ordering your DNA kit from 23andMe online store. The test costs $99 and you are able to choose standard (5-8 days) or express (2-3 days) shipping depending on your needs. International shipping is now available as well for additional fees and uses DHL.

STEP 2: When the kit arrives be sure to register the specific bar code number relevant to your order so the company can process your results. 

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STEP 3: DNA kit includes the tube to collect your saliva sample and all the necessary instructions. Once completed, send your kit back to 23andMe in the original box via the pre-paid packaging provided. 

STEP 4: Wait for your results notification via email. 23andMe provides all the results online in your profile section. The results take about 2-4 weeks to process. 

Here is a nifty video that guides you through the entire process:

What information do I learn?

This is the fun part. Once your results get processed you are granted with plenty of fascinating information calculated from your genome sample.

Health Overview

Health overview is divided into four main sections: health risks, drug response, inherited conditions and traits. Health risks indicate the health conditions where your calculated risk is elevated or decreased due to genetic setup and research associated with any particular condition. Drug response shows your status with regard to genetic variations that are linked to differences in how people respond to various drugs. This is an important bit of information in case anyone needs medication and shows any sort of resistance or proclivity to severe side effects. Inherited conditions indicate specific genetic variants that may cause certain health conditions if you are a carrier and can be passed on to an offspring. Traits – my favorite section – pinpoints the random physical reflections of your genetic background (eye color, hair curl, breast size) as well as metabolic variations (lactose intolerance, blood glucose). Here are a few more examples of traits analyzed in the test: 

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Ancestry Overview

Ancestry overview looks at ancestry composition and tells you what percent of your DNA comes from each of the 31 populations worldwide. You get a cool clickable map that breaks down each section in percentages. Here is the analysis I received:

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I was fascinated to find out that 1.5% of my DNA comes from Finnish ancestry! 

What else?

There is a bit of social “genetic” connector factor to 23andMe if you grant them permission to notify you about your DNA relatives. Every now and then I would get a notification that a new genetic relative took a test and whether I want to connect and compare our results. I am yet to do that because I am yet to be amazed at our genetic similarities in the first place. Usually you get someone who is a predicted 5th or 6th cousin and that’s just far enough for me not to care. You might think differently and then it would be a fun activity connecting with other members of our newly found DNA social group.

Have you tried 23andMe? What did you think?