Life

23andMe

Screenshot 2018-02-26 12.16.50For Christmas, I told Ross not to get me anything – Seriously babe, I don’t want or need anything. I’m SERIOUS. No, this was not code for anything. I genuinely feel so full, and was also in the midst of purging things.

img_37561-e1519673799217.jpgWell, what is the perfect gift for someone who doesn’t want anything? Months ago, in a passing blip, I had mentioned a cool gift idea for my hypothetical future baby shower, should we ever have kids. Our genetic testing. For Ross, obviously. Because I’m 100% Korean. Obviously.

Seriously, *clap clap* Ross does it again. He ordered two 23andme tests for both health and ancestry. It’s pretty cool. You spit in a valve, seal it up, and send it for testing. Easy peasy. Fast forward one month and change later, we had our results!

I was a little nervous about the health part – my grandfather had Alzheimer’s, and it was one of the scariest things for me. To see the man I always looked up to, my favorite person in the whole world, suffer from such a cruel and merciless disease instilled a fear that I would one day meet the same fate.

Before taking this test, I had watched videos on people discovering their ancestry, and there was always one Korean or Asian person who would be like, “Yea, there’s no question, I’m 100%.” And then they would find out they’re not. And even after watching these videos and laughing, I’d turn to Ross and say, “Hilarious! But like seriously, I’m 100% Korean.”

So fast forward to when Ross and I opened our results. Drumroll please…. WHAT?! 

Screenshot 2018-02-26 12.16.50
I’m 99.9% East Asian. I’m 0.1% European. 

knew in my heart of hearts I was part Italian! Just kidding. I mean, just spiritually. But seriously, what’s going on with this map? Why are there so many countries colored in?

The report they show you before you go clicking around is the one below, to the left. Let’s dig into this a little further and take things with a grain of salt. 23andme discloses: This report predicts the ancestral origin of different parts of your DNA by comparing them to reference populations. By default, our confidence in a prediction must be greater than 50% to report it. So at varying levels of confidence, they break my DNA out as such:

Ancestry.jpg
First off, why are East Asians grouped with Native Americans, and why don’t they group us together in race/ethnicity surveys? JK.

Yea, let’s go with the one on the left, because… I’m definitely more than 72.7% Korean. Obviously 😉 Historically speaking, I wasn’t completely surprised by the results, aside from the 0.1% self-proclaimed Italian thing. The test shows you your ancestry timeline, and how many generations ago my ancestor was 100% from each population. So for example, somewhere between 1750-1840, one of my ancestors was 100% Japanese, and somewhere between 1720-1840 (or earlier), one of my ancestors was 100% Mongolian. Interesting!

The most interesting part of this experience was talking to my family and parents about my results. We laughed so hard. After all the jokes about who brought what into the family, my dad, who is a mega-nerd, impressed me with his knowledge of Korean and Asian history, the events of different dynasties, and how the results made historical sense. My mom shared information that never would have come up otherwise, like that her great grandfather was from a town that borders Japan, and how she could see her side carrying some “Japanese.” (Let’s not get into the whole Korea-Japan debate)

Ross really got into these reports and can basically go work at a genetics lab now. I mean, his results were definitely more interesting. The irony of it all? Out of the two of us, he’s the one that’s 100% – 100% European! Made up of many countries, of course. 😉

He showed me the haplogroup reports, which shows the migration of my maternal line from the beginning of time. I don’t have access to my paternal side, so I may make my dad or brother take the test to provide more insight on that! Ross has access to both his maternal and paternal haplogroups, which turns out to be very different, and very interesting. He also has a new claim to fame – he’s related to Cheddar Man. What what!

Anyway, I’m 100% Korean, and I could not recommend this enough. I’d love to see what results my parents, and even my paternal grandmother and maternal granduncle, reveal. I also wonder if other tests from other labs would provide more insight. So cool. I can’t wait for more data to surface!

23andme sends you multiple reports in 5 categories: Ancestry (5), Carrier Status (42), Genetic Health Risks (7), Traits (19), and Wellness (8). It indicates whether variants are detected in the health categories, and is able to tell what your physical traits are. The Ancestry portion is broken out into 5 reports: Ancestry Composition, Neanderthal Ancestry, Maternal Haplogroup, Paternal Haplogroup (if you’re a guy), and your DNA family based on their database. Excellent gift idea for expecting parents, birthdays, holidays, or just because!

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