We have to learn about our pasts to better understand what our future holds. Family secrets can drive families apart and create tension among once-strong clans.
Thankfully, we live in an age of advanced genealogy. If you want to learn more about your family, all you need to do is head over to a site like 23andMe.
23andme Canada is a service by which Canadian's can receive qualitative genotyping to learn various things about their family histories. Through 23andme, you can learn exactly where your family came from. You can end up with a spread of over 2000 regions.
23andme also provides you with an automatic family tree builder. This means you no longer need to trace your complex roots to figure out where you came from. 23andme will do it all for you.
The name comes from the 23 pairs of chromosomes in a wild-type human cell. It references the fact that you can use your genetic information as a map to learn more about who you are as a living, breathing person.
But that's not all. You can also learn some medical history about your family through this service, for a higher price. While learning about your history is neat, learning about your family's medical history can save your life. Sensitive reports, such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, require additional opt-ins.
How Does 23andMe Works
23andme sends you a saliva detection kit. They require you to fill out some consent forms and complete an educational module. It's suggested that you should meet with your doctor before sending your kit in.
After your sample meets the lab, it's tested with state-of-the-art technology. All of the reports that come from 23andme are highly interactive — you won't just get mailed a flat family tree.
It should be noted that some people have reported finding distressing familial information. You might discover that you have siblings you never knew about, and uncover affairs within your family. This is why 23andme suggests you meet up with a genetic counsellor.
To log in to 23andme is simple — but you have to create an account first. Head over to their website, and click on the "sign-in" button towards the top — that will bring you to a page that looks like this. (Alternatively, you can just click on that link.)
The login page will ask you for your email and password. If you don't already have a 23andme account, you're going to need to create one. To do this, you'll have to look at the small blue text at the bottom of the page that says "sign up".
This will take you to a page that will ask you to enter your first name, last name, date of birth, and password. We highly recommend using a password that's different from all of your other passwords — you do not want this one to be hacked. It's very easy to have your genetic information exploited if it gets out.
After this, you'll have to click a box letting the site know you agree with their terms and conditions. Make sure you read these (we know that many people skim terms and conditions) since the information you're dealing with is sensitive.
23andme has confidence in their accuracy. They also have proof. They have congressional approval by the FDA, which is America's equivalent of the CFIA.
23andme works by breaking your genome into thousands of segments and estimating your ancestry based on your genetic matches. The fact that your genome is broken into thousands of segments lets 23andme get very very precise with what they can learn about you.
23andme can't provide 100 percent certainty that they are correct. However, they can provide you with results at different confidence thresholds, ranging from 50 percent (standard) to 90 percent (the most conservative). They won't go lower than 50 percent, as that would be irresponsible and unprofessional.
If you select something closer to 90 percent, you'll get fewer results, but you can trust that those results are most likely completely accurate. If you select the more standard 50 percent, you'll learn a lot about your ancestry, but a few things might be slightly off
23andMe Test Info
Before you choose whether or not you use the 23andme service, it's important that you understand what all of their reports do. Let's take a look at a few things that more things that 23andme tests for.
Genetic Health Risks
First off, understand that 23andme cannot diagnose anything. They merely compare your genes with those in their pool and use this to determine the likelihood that you might have inherited something. This by no means is them saying you're sure to wind up with these diseases.
Keep in mind that your lifestyle and environment also determine whether or not you develop a health condition. You should also always defer to a medical health professional for news about your condition.
23andme can also give you some pharmacogenetic reports. This will let you know how your body processes certain medications.
Once again, however, you should always defer to medical professionals. Doctors are the only ones who can let you know if you should start or stop a drug. You should also know that environmental factors affect this as well.
The test info can also let you know if you're a carrier for certain medical conditions. Being a carrier means you have one or more variants for a condition.
This is something that 23andme can get very accurate. If you have one variant, there's a chance you can pass the condition onto your children. If you have both variants, you will pass the condition to your children.
This is important information to know if you're planning on starting a family. We understand if it's distressing to find out that you carry a disease. That's why 23andme offers genetic counselling.
23andme isn't just helping people learn about their family secrets, however. They're also helping people make cash.
23andme is a publically traded company. It increased in popularity for a while after it first came out, because it was a novel service. As new stories and word-of-mouth made the rounds, it seemed that everyone wanted to find out who their ancestors really were.
However, for a bit, their sales seemed to stall. Everyone who could afford a genetic test and wanted to know where they came from, it seemed, had already bought in.
But 23andme has been able to turn it around lately. The company has diversified, and it's slowly rising up higher and higher. Its biggest competitor is Ancestry.
23andMe vs Ancestry
Ancestry is the other "most famous" genetic testing service. While its title isn't quite as clever, it's held its hold over the genetic testing community.
It should be noted that 23andme's health testing service is much larger than the one provided by Ancestry. Ancestry only produces about 25 health reports. Whereas 23andme lets you know about a plethora of genetic diseases, Ancestry only reports on cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, and Tay-Sachs Disease.
This is potentially dangerous for someone who's looking into the world of genetic testing to determine whether or not they have kids. If they don't realize that Ancestry doesn't test for the diseases they're worried about and don't read the data too closely, they can pass on a disease without realizing it.
23andme also provides faster results on average than Ancestry. This is helpful if you're trying to get someone Ancestry for their birthday or Christmas.
We can't stress how great 23andme is for family health history. It's a wonder that 23andme doesn't advertise their health services as one of their main things.
If you're on the internet often, you know that online reviews are extremely important for a business's success. So what are people saying about 23andMe online?
Reviewer 'AMoney' begins their five-star by saying — I found my DAD !!! — which would certainly be exciting news for anyone. They follow it up with –
been searching for 30 years for my father...and my DNA was matched by 23 and me to a cousin who knew my dad !!!!!
Reviewer Leigh credits 23andMe with saving her husband's life.
She said — We found out a few months ago through 23andme that my husband has two variants for Hemochromatosis. So he was tested through his Dr. and indeed his iron levels were through the roof. He is able to now seek treatment before any damage has been done — which is proof that 23andme's medical information is top-notch.
Try Out 23andMe
If you have the money and want to uncover a bit about your family's past, you might as well try out 23andme. By paying just a little more, you can learn about your family's history for certain diseases and potentially save your life.
Keep in mind, however, that your insurance company might find out your information. If you're at a higher risk for Parkinson's, this could affect how much you pay in premiums for life insurance policies. To make sure nothing like this happens, get a quote with us here at Insurdinary today.