Editor’s note: Pending an FDA decision, 23andMe no longer offers new customers access to health reports referred to in this post. Customers who received their health information prior to November 22, 2013 will still be able to see their health reports, but those who purchased after that time will only have access to ancestry information as well as access to their uninterpreted raw data. These new customers may receive health reports in the future dependent on FDA marketing authorization.
Caitlin, a blogger and self-described nerd, titled her ode to 23andMe “Do These Genes Make My Butt Look Big?”
When she and her husband Rob gave each other the test kits as a gift, the two were captivated by the results, and like many things in her life, she went online to share.
The first thing Caitlin wanted to address was her relationship with Rob. The two had been together since high school, so long in fact that they began to look like each other she said. So some folks started asking, “Are you related?”
“Not so.” And 23andMe gave them the proof!
At first blush one might look at this young couple and see two fun loving, adventurous 28 year-olds. But Caitlin is a survivor of childhood cancer and Rob a combat veteran from the Iraq war. They have known their share of hardship, and yet, as a couple, life is about what’s new, what’s next and what they can learn. Testing with 23andMe was part of that exploration.
“Not only does your profile show what diseases and conditions you are at greater or lower risk of getting, it can also show your typical reaction to certain drugs, where your family most likely came from, how much Neanderthal DNA you have, and what physical traits you’re most likely to have, given your genes,” said Caitlin.
When she first looked at her results, Caitlin started with the easy stuff, her predicted traits. Her genetics indicate that she’s likely to have Curly hair (check); that she would likely be near sighted (check), have green or brown eyes (check), and most likely have a big head — as Caitlin commented: “Yep, it’s huge”.
Then Caitlin moved to the health results. Seeing her risk for Celiac disease was not a surprise, she said. After years of discomfort Caitlin had finally been diagnosed and is gluten free. However, it did make her feel more assured about the veracity of the rest of the results and she became more proactive.
“Knowing that I had Celiac disease, being diagnosed with it and then seeing that IF I had that 23andMe test before I had gotten diagnosed I would have said “That’s it! That is why I am so sick!”
Caitlin took her report to her doctor and reviewed several other autoimmune related illnesses that were flagged. Her doctor took note and reviewed various symptoms to be mindful of. Again, Caitlin felt empowered with the knowledge the results provided so she could have an educated discussion with her doctor.
“We also found out that our child has only a 22 percent chance of being blue-eyed, that we are not related (even though many people have suggested the possibility given the resemblance between us), and that neither of us appear to carry any of the diseases they keep track of,” She said.
But for Rob the golden nugget was this, Caitlin has 2.9 percent Neanderthal DNA which puts her in the 89 percentile.
“Rob is slightly less Neanderthal than I am, which he’s pretty proud of. So there you have it, quite possibly the most nerdy gift I have ever given and received.”
Results not typical. Results vary due to unique differences in each individual’s DNA. On average, users receive at least one or two results that may help with proactively managing health. 23andMe’s services are not a substitute for professional medical or diagnostic advice.