Unless you are ready for life altering facts, don’t send your saliva to 23andMe. The personal genomics and biotech company in Mountain View, CA, has become so proficient in examining DNA, people I know are discovering information about themselves that are forever changing their lives.
In the last two months, a friend of mine found out that his father was not his father. Another friend’s father, who was adopted 60-plus years ago, finally met his real brothers and sisters, and a business associate just told me someone called him a week ago to say she was his daughter.
Just in case you are wondering, all parties I just told you about agreed to be contacted if their names became associated with other connections.
The company is named for the 23 pairs of chromosomes in a normal human cell.
When 23andMe was first created about nine years ago, my computer knowledgeable daughter, made the three of us (Eliot, Whitney and me) spit into individual little bottles so the company could tell us if we were related. Within a few weeks, we found out that we were related (no surprise) and other interesting facts about our heritage.
Since then, 23andMe has become so advanced that it can now give you information about how your genetics can influence your risk for certain diseases, discover where your DNA is from out of 31 populations worldwide, and learn how your genes play a role in your well-being and lifestyle choices.
The company website also reminds folks if they are starting a family, they can find out if they are carrying an inherited condition that could affect their children. Also, learn how your DNA influences your facial features, taste, smell and other traits.
I have to warn you that 23andMe is the real deal. If you are not ready for the facts, don’t participate in its services. The people I reported about earlier are all dealing with their new lives the best way they can. It’s all very surreal and they are just at the beginning of their new journeys. I will report their progress as I learn them.