Today I’ve received my 23AndMe kit, this is a kit whereas your DNA sample is been used to build up an advanced profile around your DNA.

For people who are unknown to 23AndMe, this is a company that processes DNA samples into DNA raw data and put it online into their platform which is user-friendly to all kinds of people. The cost of a kit is nowadays $199 (for the U.S.) /C$199/169€/£125 and $99 for international users. Which is rather weird than normal, I would suggest them to use a uniform fixed cost of $99/99€/£99 which is more appealing to everyone.

They accept the following payment methods:

  • MasterCard
  • Visa
  • American Express
  • Discover (U.S. only)
  • PayPal

You can buy the kit for yourself or for someone else, you are required to fill in any name you want. In most cases, this will be your own name.

The kit ships in 1 to 2 business days after receiving payment. After you have received the kit you are able to use it within a year. (The last useable date is on the tube)

I have sent my sample on the 25th of November and they’ve received my sample on the 8th of December and my report was ready on the 29th of December this is roughly 21 days (or 3 weeks) to process the sample. I was amazed by the speed of this process as they do say most results are between 6 to 8 weeks.

My sample was sent from the UK to The Netherlands.

The Kit

The kit comes with a lid, a bag, a saliva collecting tube, a pre-paid postage package.

The kit: 

I found the kit very easy to use since you just had to spit in a tube and that was all to be honest, although it was not just one spit it was more like 3 spits. Carefully close the lid and pack it up again for shipping. You don’t feel dirty or anything after doing this kit which is great!

I would rather want to warn you when you are a female to remove your lipstick.

You can choose to register your kit before or after doing your spit session, but some people don’t like the fact to hold a tube of spit in their hands.

While registering the kit they give you the option to open your DNA data to research (read participate in their research) or to dismiss this option and just keep it to yourself. Anyhow, I opted to open my DNA, as I think it would help with research and may help other people in the near future. I will explain this Research later on in this review.

Although people living in the following areas cannot participate in this research:

  • Quebec
  • Denmark
  • Sweden
  • The Netherlands
  • Finland
  • Ireland
  • UK

Once you have registered on the platform you’ll receive an email looking like this

How to do gifs:

Collecting saliva into the saliva collecting tube.

Closing the saliva collecting tube.

Screwing on the lid onto the tube.

Placing the tube with collected saliva into the bag

Peeling of the blue strip (= glue strip) and pressing it firmly to ensure that the bag is sealed

Closing the package and READY?

The Platform

This is divided into sections:

  1. Ancestry
  2. Health overview
  3. Family & Friends
  4. Research & Community

1. Ancestry

Find out what percent of your DNA comes from populations around the world, ranging from South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle-eastern and more…

Have a look into my results:

You can’t really go wrong with interpreting the information as it’s presented with a pie chart-style diagram.

There is also a separate page that is called the Neanderthal DNA whereas your DNA is being estimated with a Neanderthal and compared with other users (non-public in this section).

In the Maternal and Paternal Lineages, they have traced everyone’s maternal and paternal history over the history of 750 maternal lineages and 500 paternal lineages.

Basically, this is just your ancestry through your mother and her mother and beyond as well as your father’s side.

The Ancestry section has even some other tools which are:

  • DNA melody
  • Global Similarity Map
  • Profile SmartSearch
  • Haplogroup Tree Mutation Mapper

Although I am not going to give an in-depth result on these tools since they are experimental.

2. Health overview

In the section Inherited Conditions, there is an overview of your genome that is associated with certain diseases, traits or conditions. There is a star rating on how confident they are with the results of your genome. If it has, for instance, a five-star rating than this means they are likely sure that this is correct and they have researched it thoroughly. So, a lower rating means that they are still researching this genome to certain traits, conditions or diseases as they do require more study.

The section Drug Response is basically on how you respond to certain types of drugs and by this, I don’t mean XTC or something variant to that.

The most intriguing section for me within the health overview is definitely the generic risk factors, here you are given the option to check your risk to Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and breast and ovarian cancer. These results are locked by default because not everyone wants to know this, you won’t see them unless you click on them and accept the rules. I know there is some case of Alzheimer’s disease in my family and as the result is I am more likely to develop Alzheimer than the average user. I completely understand that people want to skip this section because they don’t really want to know the results of this research.

Although on every result you get this information warning:

The genotyping services of 23andMe are performed in LabCorp’s CLIA-certified laboratory. The tests have not been cleared or approved by the FDA but have been analytically validated according to CLIA standards. The information on this page is intended for research and educational purposes only and is not for diagnostic use.

This is how the section looks like:

There is on other section which lists about 40 of your traits. Whereas they say you can taste bitter or not, you are likely to have brown eyes. What earwax type you have, whether you are lactose tolerant or not and what kind of muscle performance you’ve got a fast-twitch muscle fiber or not.  These are just some examples since there are more in the report.

3. Family & Friends

23andMe has a tool called DNA relatives to compare genomes with others that have shared parts all based upon DNA, putting them as distant cousins. This is quite fascinating as I got a result that my grandmom confirmed that is correct data.

This is how it looks like

  • Other than that you have the ability to share your data with friends and family.
  • Build and share a family tree
  • Family traits: trace your DNA across generations

4. Research & Community:

The research & community section is being separated into divisions:

  • Surveys
  • Quick questions
  • Discoveries
  • Initiatives
  • Community

Surveys:

If you have opted to participate in the research program of 23andMe you’ll be requested to fill in some surveys. There is no rush to fill them in, you can do them in your spare time. The contribution is up to you!

While you may think you are required to keep on doing this surveys, you may think wrong as you can opt-out on this research whenever you want. Always keep in mind that your contribution helps drive scientific discoveries. Kuddo’s to you! And these discoveries help other people and maybe you in the future.

While doing the surveys, I have discovered that the questions are really related to my DNA as they have asked me if I am allergic to penicillin and some other things like that. It’s pretty cool to know that you can make a difference in this research. Please keep in mind that you have to answer these questions honestly.

Maybe you are a bit scared about your privacy within this research, well you don’t need to be scared since they do not include any personal information (mail, email, birthday) in the research database.

If you have opted in for this research and you changed your mind, you can still opt-out anytime you want. They will stop using your information for research going forward and will discontinue use of your data within 30 days

This is how the surveys page looks like:

Quick questions:

The quick questions section is there if you want to do a quick questionary. I rather want to do a quick question since they are all random and not on the same subject.

Here’s how a quick question looks like:

Discoveries is quite nice to see what they have achieved with the assistance of the members on 23andMe

The last thing I am going to discuss rapidly is the Community, this is a place where every 23andMe member can gather around and discuss topics around the genome results or diseases.

Extra info:

If you opt in for any research you’ll receive a notification looking like the following:

This is mainly to warn you that they can access all your DNA data after you have granted them access.

Youtube video’s from 23AndMe

Ease to use: 

In my opinion, this platform has an easy user interface and it’s pretty easy to understand what they are talking about. There is currently going on a transition into a new user interface. So I will update this when this is renewed.

Conclusion:

If you were going to buy a DNA kit, I hope you have retrieved some detailed information about the kit. And that you can now decide whether you are going to buy it or not. At first, the Health overview wasn’t visible since it wasn’t disabled by default. After getting it enabled it was worth it without the health overview, the kit would definitely not be worth to buy it. You’ll get a detailed result of your DNA which will keep you busy for a day or 3. Some users may find that the results are not that detailed but it’s the first headstart into public DNA research for a broad public. You can download you RAW DNA Data which can be useful in the near future.

That last thing is extremely informative for medical students and researchers.

Highs

-The kit is very easy to use
-The platform is easy to read
-The ability to download your DNA data

Lows

-The variation in prices across the globe