Week before last I had a chat with a reporter for the Today Show about my 23andme experiences. (Dude, you forgot to call me back for the shooting!) Since not many of us are blabbing about this, I’ll note an email that arrived tonight. It announces the addition of 29 new categories to the Gene Journal, bringing the total to 48.
Notably, 23andme has added Preliminary Research Findings to the Established Findings they showed at first. I’m disappointed that the Preliminary Findings lack estimated odds of nature/nurture, which makes them much less valuable. Iffy data will give hypochondriacs a field day.
As before, I found few surprises. I’m baseline (i.e. average) for ankylosing spondylitis, ADHD, avoidance of errors, birth weight, celiac disease, cluster headaches, dyslexia, intake of sweet foods, HIV set point, HDL cholesterol, having red hair, height, heroin addiction, hypertension, intelligence, infertility, memory, obesity, OCD, odor detection, and tardive dyskinesia.
That I have freckles did not come as a surprise. I’m a fast caffeine metabolizer (that’s okay). I have blue eyes. I have moderately higher odds of atrial fibrillation, and increased odds of exfoliation glaucoma. I also have higher odds of living to 100.
Am I a satisfied customer yet? No way. But as I told the NBC reporter, the value of having a database of your genome grows as research uncovers new markers. I expect to become more and more satisfied over time.
I’m happy to report that both my mother’s and father’s ancestors were among the first people to repopulate the western part of Europe after the Ice Age ended about 12,000 years ago (as are a majority of Europeans.) I am not related to Genghis Khan or Alexander Hamilton.
Today’s New York Times carries an article entitled Insurance Fears Lead Many to Shun DNA Tests.
Insurers say they do not ask prospective customers about genetic test results, or require testing. “It’s an anecdotal fear,” said Mohit M. Ghose, a spokesman for America’s Health Insurance Plans, whose members provide benefits for 200 million Americans. “Our industry is not interested in any way, shape or form in discriminating based on a genetic marker.”
Uh-huh. What’s all the flap about “pre-existing conditions?” If Blue Cross asks for my genome, I will utter words I cannot repeat on a family blog. By the way, I faked a few 23andme findings above, just to throw the insurance goons off the scent.