My DNA Test or Why Neanderthals Were So Handsome?

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A few weeks ago I found out about DNA test, provided by genetic testing company in California called 23andMe. This company is probably one of the best genetic services out there for providing not only ancestry reports, but also carrier status reports for 42 different diseases, genetic health risk, genetic traits that influence physical appearance, preferences, and physical responses, and other wellness reports.

This sounded pretty interesting to me and it sparked my curiosity. Immediately I went online and purchased the kit for CAD $250. Kinda pricey, but still I decided to give it a shot.

I will begin from the end – MY MAIN TAKEAWAYS:

Neither me or my potential kids are predisposed to any of the 43 nasty diseases that can kill you. Good! It makes me feel better;

My ancestry confirms that I am not lying and I am true Ukrainian – KOZAK so do speak. However it doesn’t explain my love to Chinese food and keeps it a mystery. I am still convinced I was Chinese in one of my previous lives;

Majority of my relatives, among the people who got tested are in US and Canada. The only thing it tells me, is that there are more people with extra $250 in pocket than in other countries;

  1. Neanderthals were pretty handsome mens, almost like me;
  2. When I get older, I might need to wear glasses. Not worried about that. Until that time, technology and medicine will come up with a one-time permanent treatment. If not, will have my wife read books for me on loud;
  3. The test was right on spot with the length of my toes and ring fingers, as well and the color of my eyes, skin and hair. Good job here;
  4.  It proved my concerns about dairy in my diet as I do not do well with milk, for sure;
  5. And the most exciting part for me, I WAS BORN TO BE AN ATHLETE! Whooo-Hooo! Especially I’m good at endurance sports, which I actually compete in. I can already see myself finishing first in IronMan World Championship in Kona.

Alright, below I go more in depth of the test results, so if you’re not interested to know what percentage of me is Jewish and what is age-related macular degeneration, feel free to close this tab.

Let’s begin

This is what the kit looked like when I got it in mail:

 

 

 

 

Following the instructions I spat into a plastic tube and mailed it back to them with a prepaid mail. It took around 3 weeks for the results to come. Besides the fact that I have 1054 distant relatives spread around the globe, there are some other few interesting things I learned about myself that I’m excited to share

ANCESTRY

I am 99.9% European and 20% of my relatives have Jewish ancestry.

In addition, I’ve got plenty of relatives that live in US and Canada =)

My great-grandfather was born between 1930 and 1960

My DNA Relatives are…

  • energy_drink 68% less likely to drink energy drinks
  • cilantro_soapy 60% more likely to think that fresh cilantro tastes like soap
  • cartwheel 48% more likely to be able to do a backbend kickover
  • foot 39% less likely to have sweaty feet
  • supertaster 36% less likely to be a supertaster
  • coffee 34% more likely to feel jittery after drinking caffeine
  • partyhat 34% less likely to make new years resolutions
  • music_note 33% more likely to have perfect pitch
  • redhair 30% more likely to have red body or facial hair
  • hand 27% less likely to have sweaty palms
  • skydive 23% more likely to have skydived
  • field 22% less likely to have lived near a farm when they were young
  • tooth_gap 22% less likely to have a gap between their two front teeth
  • frizzy 21% more likely to have hair that becomes frizzy in humid weather
  • photicsneeze 21% more likely to sneeze when exposed to bright light
  • coffee 20% more likely to drink instant coffee
  • foreignlang 20% less likely to have learned a foreign language as an adult
  • soda 18% less likely to drink caffeinated soda
  • tea 17% more likely to drink tea
  • dog 16% more likely to own a dog
  • asparagus 14% more likely to smell asparagus in their pee
  • braces 13% less likely to have worn braces on their teeth
  • licorice 11% more likely to like the taste of dark licorice
  • sleep 10% more likely to sweat while sleeping
  • ear 10% less likely to be able to wiggle their ears

I am 83% more Neanderthal than any other customer of this DNA test

What makes me a Neanderthal?

Didn’t know people sneeze from dark chocolate

HEALTH

No carrier status

Fortunately, I carry none of the 48 diseases for which 23andMe tests. That’s good news! None of these diseases will affect me, nor will they be passed on to my children.

Genetic Health Risks

I am not at risk for developing:

  • Cancer

The BRCA1/BRCA2 tests for genetic variants that increase a risk for cancer.

  • Late-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease

This nasty disease is characterized by memory loss, cognitive decline, and personality changes. Late-onset Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of Alzheimer’s disease, developing after age 65.

  • Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is characterized by tremor, muscle stiffness, and problems with movement. Ouch!

But the worst part is that there is currently no known prevention or cure for this disease.

Few quick facts I learned about this illness:

  • This condition is most often diagnosed in people over the age of 55;
  • Men have a higher chance of developing Parkinson’s disease than women
  • Parents, siblings, and children of an individual with Parkinson’s disease have a higher chance of developing Parkinson’s disease themselves.
  • Exposure to certain chemicals like pesticides can increases the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.

Good news! I do not have the two variants associated with Parkinson’s disease.

I am at risk for developing:

  • Age-Related Macular Degeneration

This is what causes irreversible vision loss among older adults. The disease results in damage to the central part of the retina, impairing vision needed for reading, driving, or even recognizing faces.

 

Damn, I like reading, driving and recognizing faces…

It was detected in CFH gene, meaning it came from one of my parents. (My dad is wearing glasses… just saying).

TRAITS

(genetics behind my appearance and senses)

I am less likely to have:

  • a bald spot;
  • cleft chin;
  • cheek dimples (HA! missed on this one);
  • early hair loss;
  • fear of heights (not sure about this one);
  • thick hair (missed on this one);

I am more likely to have:

  • little upper back hair;
  • bitter taste;
  • cilantro taste aversion; (nope)
  • blue or green eyes; (wow! right on spot)
  • longer ring fingers than index fingers;
  • hair photobleaching (my hair is more likely to lighten with sun exposure);
  • straight hair;
  • light hair;
  • likely to get more mosquito bites than others;
  • little to no hair at birth;
  • lighter skin;
  • salty food preference;

WELLNESS

(my body’s response to diet, exercise, and sleep)

I am less likely to:

  • Alcohol flush reaction (it’s when your face gets red after drinking a small amount of alcohol);
  • Drink slightly less caffeine than average (less than 3 cups a day);
  • Be a deep sleeper;
  • Move than average during sleep;

I am more likely to:

  • Weigh about 5% more than average

It can be prevented by:

Avoiding Junk Food. Associated with weighing up to 17.2% lessPeople at a healthy weight ate fast food less than once per week, on average. People who never ate fast food weighed up to 17.2% less than those who ate fast food almost every day or more.

Exercising. Associated with weighing up to 15.7% lessPeople at a healthy weight exercised 2-3 times per week, on average. People who exercised daily weighed up to 15.7% less than those who exercised less than once a week.

Limiting red meat. Associated with weighing up to 15.2% lessPeople at a healthy weight ate red meat less than 2 times per week, on average. People who never ate red meat weighed up to 15.2% less than those who ate red meat every day.

Eating vegetables. Associated with weighing up to 11.9% lessPeople at a healthy weight ate 2-4 servings of vegetables per day, on average. People who ate more than 7 servings of vegetables per day weighed up to 11.9% less than those who never ate vegetables.

 

Eating leafy greens. Associated with weighing up to 11.4% lessPeople at a healthy weight ate leafy greens 4-5 times per week, on average. People who ate leafy greens at least once a day weighed up to 11.4% less than those who ate leafy greens only a few times per week or less.

 

  • Lactose intolerant

Just about everybody is born with the ability to digest lactose. But as we  grow older, many of us lose that ability. I am lactose intolerant because my body stopped producing lactase, the enzyme that digests lactose. No milk for me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My genetic muscle composition is common in elite power athletes

Wow! Thats exciting! 

Studies have found that almost all elite power athletes (including sprinters, throwers, and jumpers) have a specific genetic variant in a gene related to muscle composition. You have the same genetic variant as these elite athletes.

My muscles have more of slow-twitch fibers, meaning that it makes me a better endurance athlete.

Endurance athletes tend to have more slow-twitch fibers, while power athletes (including sprinters, throwers, and jumpers) tend to have more fast-twitch fibers — a difference that may reflect both their genetics and their training habits.

Thank you mom and dad! Now I am confident that I can qualify for the Olympics!

My weight is likely to be similar on diets high or low in saturated fat with the same number of total calories

So what that means is that people with my genetic result tend to have a similar BMI on diets with greater or less than 22 grams of saturated fat per day, as long as they consume the same number of total calories.

Conclusion

I think anyone interested in their own health or ancestry should give it a go. I recommend 23andMe as an educational tool and you decide wether it worth $250 or not. The data arrives little by little, so there’s something to look into (and reference papers to read) each day. You can also download a raw data and dig deeper if you have unlimited time and a knowledge of how to.