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Some people just love to dig up dirt, whether it’s on movie stars, athletes, or even relatives. But many of us have never considered just how fascinating our own lives and pasts could be. 23andMe is out to prove that we are all way more interesting than we thought. We set out to see what we could learn about ourselves; here’s what you can learn, too.
Once we had the 23andMe Ancestry Kit, we swabbed our cheek and dropped it in the mail, then waited for the results. It’s only been a couple of weeks, so we’re still waiting. But we’re psyched to dig up the dirt on ourselves. The coolest part about this experience is that we’re not just going to get information about ourselves and our immediate family; we’re also going to learn about relatives we didn’t know existed, ancestral health condition traits that run in our family, and how to live a healthy lifestyle based on our genetic makeup.
We’ve all heard stories passed down about our ancestors—what they did, where they lived. But most of us only go back a few generations. (And even then, it’s all hearsay, right?) The 23andMe kit promises to divulge exactly what parts of the world our ancestors originated, and what genetic traits they owned. We can’t wait to see what unexpected areas of the globe our DNA can be traced back to. We also can’t wait to find out just how wrong our grandparents were about their own grandparents.
Check out these five fun facts that anyone can learn by using the 23andMe ancestry DNA kits.
1. ALL the Different Continents Our Ancestors Came From
Most of us already know at least one continent we can trace our ancestors back to. But 23andMe’s Ancestry Kit goes deeper. Check out this example of a 23andMe Ancestry Report. It reveals not only which country and continent “Jamie King”’s DNA traces back to primarily, but also shares what other places Jamie’s ancestors originated from and the percentage. The Ancestry Report provides information about maternal and paternal haplogroups, neanderthal ancestry, and how many people in the world share Jamie’s DNA Family.
2. Long-Lost Relatives We Never Knew We Had
The information we discover using the 23andMe website is loaded into our personal account, so if we want to, we can connect with others who’ve also used 23andMe who share our DNA. Basically, it’s a worldwide database that makes it possible to discover new family members with a simple search. Is our best friend really a long-lost cousin? How about that neighbor that drives us crazy? More than likely it’s someone we’ve never met who lives far away, but hey—there’s always room for more at the holiday table.
3. Why We Have A Bald Spot But Our Brothers Don’t
The Traits Report detects more than 25 traits and will tell us all of them, from eye color to unibrow to freckles to hair loss. This is as detailed a description of what “runs in the family” as you can get. Not only is our test subject Jamie unlikely to detect bitter tastes, he can also see how many others with his genetic makeup also have that trait. So, we may finally learn why our brother Howie has a full head of hair while we’ve been wearing hats outside for years..
4. Health Conditions That Run In Our Families
We often know about a few health conditions that are most common in our families, particularly the ones that have directly impacted our families the most. 23andMe pushes that even further and identifies over 45 variants to show what other conditions run in our family.
This report will help us a better idea about what health concerns we should pay more attention to based on our genetic makeup. Conditions that can be discovered include cystic fibrosis (shown), sickle cell anemia, and Tay-Sachs syndrome. Of course, 23andMe does not provide diagnoses. But this is invaluable info for anyone who’s concerned about their health history, especially potential parents.
5. Healthy Habits for Our Specific Genetics
23andMe does way more than trace our origins back to a tiny village across the ocean; it also lists healthy lifestyle activities and habits to maximize our genetic structure, like exercising more, getting more sleep, or limiting the amount of red meat we eat.
23andMe DNA kits are on sale right now for the holidays (30 percent off!) but they make for a fascinating experience to share with family no matter what time of year it is. They will certainly provide cool, insightful details we’ll be telling our kids about. And we won’t be exaggerating.