23andMe is the name of Ancestry’s individualized DNA program. For $200, and a sample of my saliva, Ancestry sent me a link to a website showing my ancestral lineage, and my genetic health findings.
My ancestral lineage is 99.5 percent Ashkenazi Jewish. I always wondered if the reason my aunt was of dark complexion was a Sephardic ancestor somewhere on our tree. Now I know that is highly unlikely.
Surprise. I have 1,256 DNA relatives who also submitted their saliva, most of whom I can contact if I so desire.
The relatives range from second cousins to fifth cousins and beyond.
One cousin contacted me this week. Since we did not share a great-great-grandparent, I presume our connection is fourth cousin or further back.
I never knew about maternal or paternal haplogroups, but I learned that my maternal haplogroup is H, and it traces back to a woman who lived in the Middle East less than 18,000 years ago.
My paternal haplogroup is J-L70, and it traces back to a man who lived less than 34,000 years ago.
Neanderthals, as we know, were ancient humans who inbred with modern humans before becoming extinct 40,000 years ago. The DNA scientists at Ancestry determined that my Neanderthal ancestry accounts for less than 4 percent of my total DNA.
I have 264 Neanderthal variants, which is the same as 70 percent of 23andMe customers.
Carrier Status, Genetic Health Risk, Traits and Wellness Findings
Luckily, I do not have any variants for the 42 Carrier Status disorders on the list. So, although I am not a carrier for these disorders, I hearken to the warning, “You could still have a variant not covered by this test.”
Probably the most important of the DNA findings from my saliva sample, are my Genetic Health Risks.
The good news is that I do not show variants for Late-Onset Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s Disease, Hereditary Hemochromatosis (iron overload may cause damage to the liver, skin, heart, and pancreas), or Hereditary Thrombophilia (harmful blood clots can travel from the legs to the lungs).
Also pretty good, is the fact I am not likely at risk of developing Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency, a condition that can lead to lung and liver disease, since I have only one of the two genetic variants for that condition.
The not-so-good news I could have guessed at because my mom has it. I have two copies of a variant detected in the ARMS2 gene, which gives me a slightly increased risk of developing Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD). With mom’s condition in mind, I have, for years, been taking Ocuvite for my eye health. We shall see – pun intended.
Out of 22 different Traits listed, I was particularly interested to learn that I am likely to suffer hair loss.
I hope that small balding spot on top of my head does not spread. Out of eight Wellness Reports, I was most interested to learn that I am less likely to be a deep sleeper. No worries – I share this finding with 89.2 percent of those with European ancestry. Hmm. Time for a nap.
Mr. Ebsen may be contacted at email@example.com