Taking Yet Another DNA Test

by , under 23andMe, AncestryDNA, Autosomal DNA, DNA, Ethnic Origins, Ethnic Research, Ethnicity, FamilyTree DNA, LivingDNA, MyHeritageDNA

Yesterday I gave myself a belated Christmas present: yet another DNA test. To date, I had tested my DNA with AncestryDNA, FamilyTreeDNA, and MyHeritage DNA. I tried testing with Living DNA, but in three separate swab sampling attempts, that DNA testing service was unable to get meaningful results from my samples so they refunded my fee.

So that left 23andme as the one major DNA testing service that I had yet to test with. In reviewing a pre-Christmas sales flyer from Best Buy, I noted an offer for a 23andMe test kit for $69, which was ‎$30 off the standard price. The ad blurb promised a “detailed breakdown of your ancestry.” To sweeten the offer, Best Buy would throw in a $10 gift card with each DNA kit purchased. So yesterday I drove to the nearest Best Buy and bought a 23andMe kit. As with the offerings from the other DNA testing services, this is an autosomal DNA test.

The kit is for collecting spit and includes a postage-paid kit box/mailer for return to the lab. The collection tube was the fanciest yet, with a funnel atop the collection tube and an attached “funnel lid” that included a small amount of liquid to preserve the spit sample.

The instructions said to refrain from drinking or eating for at least 30 minutes, so I waited for 1.5 hours just to be sure. I had no trouble providing enough spit to fill the collection tube to the fill mark. Then I closed the “funnel lid” attached to the spit tube to automatically release the preservative. After shaking the mixture for a few seconds, I twisted off the funnel from the sample tube and replaced it with the tube cap. I then placed the tube into the specimen bag and sealed it. The bag went into the mailer box which I then sealed. Today, I delivered the box to my local post office to make sure that it went into the mail system as safely as possible.

After collecting my spit sample, I registered the kit by creating an account on the 23andMe website, making sure that I correctly entered the 14-digit kit number from the specimen tube (the tube also had a barcode with that number for use in the lab).

At the end of the registration process, up popped an offer that I couldn’t refuse: Upgrade the test to provide my health report based on my DNA test for only $100 more (a $30 discount). 23andMe has built its reputation on this more extensive DNA testing and reporting, and it has been appealing to people who want to know if they are genetically predisposed to any health conditions. So after a few moments of consideration, I took the plunge into the world of health reporting based on DNA.

Once I opted for the upgrade, 23andMe drew me into answering questions about my ethnicity and ancestry — and then more questions about me. One observation: the company has no doubt paid big bucks to its legal team to create all the Terms of Service (TOS) documents and the related agreement forms that must be signed by participants.

The series of surveys covered a wide array of topics including my diet, personal interests, and preferences, physical condition, mental condition, past medical diagnoses, etc. Having read through all the TOS documents, I had little fear that my privacy would be jeopardized by these surveys, and I, in fact, found answering the surveys to be interesting exercises. It did take a good bit of time, however.

So the sample is in the mail to 23andMe. Now we wait to see the results and reports from this DNA testing service and compare them to my other test results.

  1. Mary Boehnlein

    23 & Me was right on about my medical conditions. There is a blog to access to communicate with people with similar conditions.
    The Michael Fox Foundation has a deal for free DNA tests for Parkinson’s patients who become part of their research projects. I have to get Frank’s done as if a certain marker shows up then my sons should get tested as well to see if the marker for Parkinson’s shows up in their DNA.


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