23andMe offers ridiculously low cost, private genotyping to just about anyone. They take your spit and use it to test your DNA for hundreds of thousands of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Many of these SNPs are reliable predictors of gene sequence, and 23andMe can tell you tons of interesting stuff about tote traits, disease risk, heredity, and more! I've found out all sorts of really interesting stuff, like the fact that my father's father's mother, who was half Cherokee, could not have actually been my great-grandmother, or that I have a relatively rare inability to produce an enzyme called adenosine monophosphate deaminase, which is important in generating energy during exercise! (I later learned that my grandfather had only discovered that his mother had not given birth to him a few months before his own death from pancreatic cancer. So that turned out to be an accurate analysis of the data on my part!)
I think it's a very valuable service. For example, I know that I do not have any of the common BRCA gene mutations linked to increased risk for breast cancer. Getting screened for those in a clinical setting costs thousands, and it isn't covered by insurance. 23andMe tests so much more and costs only $99 with a 12-month commitment to their $9/mo data update service. With the update service, they'll email you about new research on any of the SNPs they've typed for you. You can buy prepaid subscriptions, too, if you want to give a gift! Those are $207.
If your relatives have been typed by 23andMe, you can, with mutual consent of course, see which traits you share, what genes came from which parent, and, like I did, whether your lineage is what you've been told it is. An excellent reason to make 23andMe a gift this Christmas!
Knowledge is power, and 23andMe is a lot of knowledge for a very low cost. And now through December 27, they're offering $23 off your purchase if you use this link:
Also, every time someone uses that link, I get a chance to win an iPad (or other ossum gadget).
23andMe isn't available in New York State, because Albany has outlawed non-clinical genetic testing. If you are a New York resident, you have to collect your saliva sample and mail it to 23andMe while you are not in New York.
Take advantage of this cool offer! And feel free to ask me anything if you want to know more about 23andMe!