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.