Just under a year ago I received a 23andMe Ancestry kit and since then I have been 100% obsessed with learning about all the places that have made me… me.
23andMe extracts DNA from a sample of your saliva that you send in after receiving the kit. They then analyze it and spit out a report that highlights your ancestry composition, breaking it down by region AND by each an every one of your chromosomes. It gives you a probable timeline of your grandparents, tells you which haplo groups you belong to, and how many Neanderthal variants you have in your DNA.
As an American, it can be downright confusing trying to trace your lineage. Some of us have North American family dating back to the Europeans making landfall here, and some of us (like myself) are only second generation Americans. MANY of us are told out right lies about who we are and where our DNA comes from. I swear it is true! Our family line includes the Royal Family of the nation of XYZ.
In this post I really just wanted to share with you some cool things that come up on your 23andMe ancestry report. I was not asked by 23andMe to toot their horn for them – I am simply just a big fan of theirs!
Before I share some screen shots, I wanted to let you know that you also have the option of receiving your DNA’s health history for a higher price. This is not something I have done yet, but I do plan on it in the near future.
As you can see above, my DNA comes from pretty centralized area in the world considering almost 100% of my percentage wheel is in the blue color family! I am certain this is because I am only 2nd generation American on my dad’s side. From here, it gets a lot more specific.
As I stated above, I am all (well, mostly) European. 23andMe does a pretty good job breaking it down, and giving you options to look at the numbers based on their confidence. Your DNA is analyzed and compared to DNA that comes from every part of the world.
You can expand each population to see what percentage of what makes you, YOU. I was surprised to see that they could detect numbers as small at 0.1% and 0.3% (West African and Native American). Though these numbers are small, it just means that this part of my DNA is very old and has been passed through many great grandparents to get to me. It is so cool to think about how I share DNA with Native Americans and West Africans who lived many, many years ago.
This is probably my favorite feature from 23andMe’s reports – the Ancestry Timeline. When you hover over each population, it tells you that it is likely you had a grandparent or great grandparent that was born in that area during the time period shown. I know zilch about my mother’s ancestry, but I know a lot about my dad’s and I can confirm that my paternal grandparents were born in Germany in the 1920’s and 1930’s. This timeline indicates that there is a strong probability that I had a Native American great grandparent(s) that was born between 1720 and 1810. Because that was so long ago, it explains why I only have 0.1% Native American in my DNA!
Here you can see the ancestry breakdown in each of your chromosomes. I am still learning about chromosomes, so please excuse my lack of explanation here – but it is pretty cool to look at, right? 2.2% Italian? Who knew!?
The last thing I wanted to share with y’all is the Neanderthal variant report. Considering my German history and the fact that Neanderthals come from Neander Valley in Germany, the amount of variants I have is not surprising. From this you can learn which physical characteristics about yourself comes from you Neanderthal ancestors! For example, the fact that I do not sneeze after eating dark chocolate is thanks to my 288 Neanderthal variants. Who knew?
I plan to send my mom a kit for Christmas so I can learn more about the DNA I share with her and where it comes from and of course for her enjoyment and knowledge. When a family member completes a 23andMe kit, you can link reports to see what DNA is shared!
All in all, I truly love 23andMe. Technology is amazing and they have really done a good job at giving us the gift of knowing who we really are. Additionally, you become automatically included in whatever new report they come out with. I really recommend this kit to anyone and everyone who is interested in their ancestry.
Have you done an ancestry test yet? Were you shocked at the results?