23andme Results


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 Since I'm a total nerd, I was very very excited when I got my 23andme genetic test back earlier this week. I know quite a bit about some lines of my family tree, but other lines are quite questionable. My mother's father's family were poor immigrants whose names were changed at Ellis Island and they moved a lot because of gambling debt. The McEwen line also has a criminal element, my great great grandfather seems to have committed some sort of crime and fled to South America before reappearing across the country decades later. There is also the rumored Native American ancestry.

I don't have much Native American, less than 1% it seems, but still enough to show up on my "ancestry painting." I'd like my father to get tested to see my Y lineage and figure out where that Native American came from. 

Another reason this was interesting for me was that I have some Ashkenazi Jewish blood. Unfortunately, the Ashkenazi are carriers of some infamous recessive genetic diseases like Tay Sachs. Being Jewish on only one side I don't suffer from these, but if I had children with someone with Ashkenazi blood it would be a danger. Fortunately the only Ashkenazi disease I carry is Factor XI Deficiency, a type of hemophilia. More exciting was matching with possible 4th, 5th, and 6th across Eastern Europe. I'm hoping they can help me fill in the family tree. And maybe if I visit Ukraine someday I can meet them. It's interesting that most of my matches are Jewish. I wonder if that reflects that diaspora's interest in lineage or a worries about genetic disease.

I do find it amusing that most of the third cousins it matched me to haven't responded. Maybe they already know me from family reunions and don't like me or something. 

As for health, I wasn't surprised that I am at higher risk for alcoholism considering my family history. The other things I'm higher risk for include lupus, type 2 diabetes, ulcerative colitis, and multiple sclerosis. There isn't much cancer in my family so I wasn't surprised that I don't have any of the major cancer risk genes. It's nearly impossible for me to have Celiac disease. I've been looking at genes related to eosinophilic esophagitis and hypotension on my own since 23andme allows you access to the raw data. 

I also wasn't very surprised to find I'm genetically lactose intolerant. I haven't been able to drink plain old milk without discomfort for ages. I do get annoyed when people seem to think that lactose intolerance is truly serious. I can still merrily eat normal butter and most fermented dairy products. 

I'm also very happy that I'm not related to my boyfriend, Chris Masterjohn. He also had his DNA done at the same time. His results were more interesting than mine since he actually was able to use it to diagnose a health problem. But I'll let him share that story on his own blog. 23andme has an inheritance calculator that tells me that if we had a baby, there is a 40% chance that baby would have blue eyes :)