Last week, I began a new adventure in life by sending in a saliva sample for DNA genotyping with a project and company called 23 and Me at 23andme.com. In layman’s term, genotyping is like a high level, or crude, DNA testing on focused on certain critical parts that make up a tiny part of the entire human DNA. From 23 and Me, I will get some health and ancestry information, from likelihood of disease contraction to drug and food reactions to family and race heritage. There will also be lots of other interesting facts like whether you’re genetically predisposed to liking cilantro. 🙂
I call this an “adventure” because it’s not like just getting some trivia about yourself! There are risks involved with some very potentially life changing information that I may not want to know. There’ll also be good information I’ll be delighted to know. It’s the spiritual journey of what I will do with various bits of that information, though, if anything, that will be the most interesting part of this adventure.
There will be a lot of research and deliberation, some soul searching and probably even be some prayers, I am sure. However, I am confident the information will be worth whatever negatives there may come from all this, including privacy concerns which I have thought about and do not perceive to be significant concern at the moment. I am very healthy and live in Canada with universal health care. That may not be the situation for everyone so their deliberations may lead to a different conclusion. I feel so healthy, in fact, this genotyping outcome may only yield bad news in the sense that I’m susceptible to all kinds of things I don’t currently perceive myself to be! It would not be a change in my health, whatever the results say, of course. It would only be an “enlightenment”, if you will. But the earlier I know, the better I can be prepared for it, as far as I’m concerned.
My results are scheduled to come back somewhere between the middle and end of August so there won’t be any real journey, for a while. Between now and then, I will be studying up on genetics as it is the one science I am weak in that I don’t want to be weak in. First benefit of this journey will be self-motivation to finally take care of that negative. I’m not looking to become a genetics expert of anything, just to get a fairly good working knowledge and understanding of what I want to know. I have scheduled rainy evenings and weekends this summer for studying genetics, to leave me with flexibility with my summer fun while certainly committing some decent time to my studies. It was a pretty good idea for commitment and balance while leaving a fun lifestyle, I thought.
I’m going to start with Genetics 101 from 23andme’s site, and a free but pretty serious Useful Genetics course in September from the phenomenal Coursera site of free post-secondary level courses! The latter deals with issues like genotyping results and impact, along with some science so it’ll be great. However, I will need something significant to bridge the two sources between now and September. I’ll know what that is as I go through the Genetics 101 section and get leads and questions to research on what else I need or might want to know. One can’t know what one doesn’t know until one knows more to get hints and suggestions, basically.
I will blog my journey and hope you will join me in it if you have an interest. You can even help me to suggest options at whatever point you might think I need some, like good sources online for learning a good genetics background.
Let the “fun” begin!