IN 2003, THE HUMAN GENOME PROJECT was completed, after 13 years and at a cost of $2.7 billion. Now, for just $999.00, a company called 23andme can decode your DNA.
Founded in 2006, by Linda Avey and Anne Wojcicki, 23andme will run your genotype, which can tell you the genetic markers you have for various diseases, traits, your ancestry, and family inheritances.
23andme has a very interesting ABOUT US page. It’s a slideshow and is about them, but it is also a good example of the kinds of things you can learn about you – if you have your genes done:
- We all have 23 pairs of chromosomes.
- 17% of us are left-handed (me too!)
- 44% of us have attached earlobes (hmmm)
- 88% of us have wet earwax (kind of gross, but I do know someone who has DRY earwax!)
- None of us are world-class sprinters
- 14% of us have perfect pitch (I wish!)
- 13% of us have Restless Legs Syndrome
- All of us can smell the asparagus odor in our urine (this could come in handy?)
- 22% of us are lactose intolerant
- 67% of us have a family history of cancer
- 19% of us have a family history of Alzheimer’s Disease
- 41% of us have a family history of migraines
- 56% of us have a family history of male pattern baldness
- 29% of us have a family history of diabetes
- 17% of us have a family history of Multiple Sclerosis
Imagine the implications for people who are adopted, or for people who have a family history of a certain disease, and want to see if they are likely to develop it, or likely to pass it to their children. They say it is not inevitable for you to develop a disease that is in your genes. But if you knew you had those markers, you could modify your lifestyle to do your best to avoid that disease.
There is a list of 80 markers that they test for now, and that list is growing.
How is it done? They mail you a Spit Kit, with a beaker that you fill with your spit. You send it back to them, they run the tests, and you login to their website for the results – your genetic profile.
Sign me up!
23andMe’s Anne Wojcicki and Linda Avey Speak, Part 1
23andMe’s Anne Wojcicki and Linda Avey Speak, Part 2