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Demo Account at 23andMe: Analyze Your Demo Genes!

I thought I should create an account at 23andMe and see what happens with my demo genes. Of course, you cannot analyze your own genes (or you can, if you ordered their service), but the genetic background of the Mendel-family. I started with the Gene Journal where you can check whether you have elevated risk for some specific medical conditions.

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It’s not so easy to tell you your exact risk, because even if some single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) in your genome indicate an elevated risk for heart disease for example, there might be some others SNPs we don’t know yet which lower your risk. So it’s really hard to give you a reliable result. That’s why it would be so important to talk with a geneticist about your genomic data. As your doctor won’t send you your lab results to analyze at home, your genomic data should be examined by a physician as well.

So here are the medical conditions they analyze (among others):

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Research confidence is crucial. What does it mean?

Established Research topics meet 23andMe’s criteria for findings that are very likely to reflect real effects. The scientific community has largely reached consensus on these topics.

Generally, associations in these topics were discovered in studies of at least 1,000 cases and 1,000 controls and then replicated in a second, independent study of similar size. However, we may also include associations discovered in smaller studies if the scientific community has reached broad consensus that the effect is real.

You can browse your genome by body parts or organ systems if you wish:

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Then I switched to Ancestry where you can explore your origins through DNA. In the Maternal Ancestry page, there is a map showing the locations of your haplogroup. What is a haplogroup? 23andMe has the answer:

Haplogroups are families of mitochondrial DNA types that all trace back to a single mutation at a specific place and time. Technically, every new mutation creates a new haplogroup, but geneticists only label the ones that help them trace significant events in human prehistory, such as the migration of people to the Americas or the expansion of agriculture from the Near East.

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But my favourite tool is the Family Inheritance where you can browse among the genomes of the members of your family. Just compare your immune system compatibility to your sister’s or compare any set of genes.

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After that, in the Genome Labs, make some genome-wide comparisons like this one in the Mendel family so you can find out how similar you are with your father or mother.

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Then don’t forget to browse your own SNPs gene by gene.

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At last, download your own data which would take about 5MB.

To sum it up, the whole site is colorful, these tools are easy to use, but after getting an e-mail about my genomic data and logging onto the site, I would like to talk with a geneticist because these results might lead to medical decisions and these decisions should be made by medical professionals and should be based on peer-reviewed data and evidence-based medicine, and not online tutorials.

Further reading:

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