Scientific advancements in sequencing DNA have finally made these tests affordable enough for the general public to start taking advantage of them. 23andMe is a service that allows you to submit a DNA sample to their lab for sequencing and within 2 - 8 weeks (estimates and reports tend to vary) you'll have a full break-down.
But why should you bother?
For one, your risks for developing a number of genetic diseases and disorders can be attained by sequencing your own DNA. It can tell you about allergies you may have and not know about (general anesthesia, for example), as well as your risk for developing conditions like celiac disease, diabetes, arthritis, and breast cancer, just to name a few. It can also tell you about genetic disorders you may be a carrier for, which means you likely don't have and won't develop them but you can easily pass them on to your children.
The best part of what 23andMe offers is a nice wrapper around your results that doesn't just tell you what your risk factors are, but what you can do about them. Each result is paired with a suggestion on what you can do to mitigate your risk or change your current habits or medications to compensate. Once they're finished processing your results, you can log in to their website to view not only the important results but also other interesting and fun items like a DNA-based ancestry service that traces back 10,000 years of lineages.
The total cost is $99 (plus shipping & handling) and we'd love to hear from our readers that have their own experiences to share below!
Photo: Flickr | micahb37