So the other day I got the test results back for an innovative new service called 23andme. Founded by the wife of Google co-founder Sergey Brin, Anne Wojcicki, their goal is to bring affordable genetic testing to the masses.
Being a huge geek (which most of you should know by now) I of course sprung to get my genome tested when the price dropped to $99 for the holidays last year. It took some time to get my sample up across the border and covertly beneath it to avoid the international fees, but in the end it was worth it.
In addition to some cool features like finding out the history of your maternal and paternal line throughout history and neanderthal DNA percentage, there are a number of actionable items that can be useful for determining you health.
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This section of the test goes over how susceptible you are to various conditions, diseases and things in general that could make your life more difficult. What’s interesting is that it goes down into the percentage of each trait that is determined by genetics, possible action plans for dealing with the condition in question and even includes message boards for people to discuss the trait in general.
Overall very actionable advice that you can work into your life. Stay tuned for a post on my results and the action plan I’m making to change it.
There is a strong genetic basis towards the use of a number of drugs. Since all people are different, it’s tough to make a one-size fits all solution. Ranging from whether a certain drug will work for you to if you are sensitive to side effects, this section provides the full dirt. Not super actionable for preppers but good to know in the mean time.
This is definitely one of the scariest sections and includes your status on the worst genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis, tay-sachs or sickle cell anemia. While you would probably know whether you had any of these, you will also find out your carrier status, which can sometimes have effects as well. Important for those who are looking to have healthy children.
This is where it gets fun. Traits range from physical to mental and include a lot of stuff that have to do with everyday life. How do you react to alcohol? Are you likely to respond to diet or exercise? Do you have the muscles of a marathoner or a sprinter?
These are interesting but also could have big consequences in a survival or self-defense scenario – especially pertaining to the physical traits. Knowing whether you’re better off outrunning a pursuer or overwhelming them with a charge could be largely determined by your muscle fiber type.
Verdict: Should you buy?
Genetic testing like this cost $2-300 only a few years ago and still costs over $1000 for the more advanced variety. For $99 you don’t exactly have to mortgage your house to get a 23andme test. The
data is available forever, can be exported (to open source platforms like snpedia), and will continue to become more useful as research continues.
If you’re a geek like me the price of $99 is worth it for the fun factor alone. Being able to rationalize not drinking a post dinner coffee because I’m a slow metabolizer is an interesting way to stave off peer pressure.
For those that are strictly motivated by utility, the price is a steal as well. If you’ve taken the time out of your day to read this blog, it’s fair to say you are interested in your health. The amount of actionable information you will gain from getting your genome tested will avoid you running into health issues that will cost you tens if not hundreds of times more in medical bills, if the world stays together, and could possibly save your life if the SHTF.
So my verdict – go for it! If you’re spending time reading this blog, you’ll appreciate the results and it’s one of the technologies that makes you feel like we’re living in the future.