Genotyping With 23andMe {Sponsored}


As a parent, I often reflect upon the ways in my husband and I are shaping our children.  I think about the behavior we model, the lifestyle choices we make and the sort of values that we are demonstrating.  I am constantly striving to be better for myself and for my family.

As a former Public Health researcher, I have a natural interest in behavioral health, risk reduction, and catalysts for change. Recently, Angelina Jolie’s decision to undergo a preventive double mastectomy  after learning she carried a version of the BRCA1 gene, ignited discussions about Genomic Testing.  What if we all had better insight into our own health and DNA?  What if we had a deeper knowledge of inherited conditions that could be passed on to our children? And what if we were able to present our doctors with a map of specific health conditions to be on the lookout for?

I was recently introduced to 23andMe, a personal DNA testing company that offers affordable genotyping services via an at-home spit test.  23andMe allows consumers to bypass a lab and doctors to obtain individualized genomic information (for $99) from the privacy of their computer.

Over 240 health conditions and traits, and over 40 different inherited conditions are provided in the 23andMe individualized report. 23andMe can alert people to mutations in DNA that can cause disease in their children, including Cystic Fibrosis, Sickle Cell Anemia and Tay-Sachs Disease.  This test also gives insight into one’s genetic chances of getting conditions like Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes, Uterine Fibroids, Lou Gehrig’s Diseases and Pancreatic Cancer. Although there may be a pool of people who would rather remain in the dark, I imagine that such results could be a powerful motivator for lifestyle change. If a person learns of an elevated risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, they may be empowered to implement a specific exercise regime and healthy eating program.  Such results could even snowball into other family members adapting significant lifestyle changes.

The 23andMe results also  include detailed ancestry composition, showing what percentage of an individual’s  DNA comes from each of the 22 worldwide populations.  Family lineages can be traced beyond 10,000 years back showing an estimate of one’s genome-wide percentage of Neanderthal ancestry.

I’m interested in the impact that 23andMe may have in the future health arena.  I wonder if consumer based genotyping will have a pivotal role in shaping future treatment modalities. I’m also fascinated by the idea of being able to obtain such specific genomic information from home.  I would certainly love to have such insight.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.



  1. Knowing your genetic disposition does seem like an important way to help encourage consideration in areas that might need it more than others. I love that it's as easy as a spit test! What an interesting concept, and helpful too!

  2. This is really cool. I've looked into testing for mitochondrial DNA before. Maybe for a birthday or something sometime. The biggest concern I have is that I don't want to be stored in a database. I think it's good to know your risks so you can live to be your healthiest self, but I'm also scared this type of information could lead us into a world like Gattaca full of eugenics. I totally want to know how neanderthal I am, though.

  3. wow, this is very very cool.

  4. I'm not sure I really agree with the whole Neaderthal/evolution standpoint and how we developed from them, but this is interesting in some ways, especially where the medical field is concerned.

  5. Gosh, not having any contact with my immediate family I don't know what my genetic disposition. I do know that scoliosis and MS run in my family and so does Diabetes on my mom's side, but thankfully no major hereditary forms of cancer. Very informative. Thank you!

  6. Thanks for spreading the word about this. Very interesting and something to look into.

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