The 23andMe genetic test

The 23andMe genetic ancestry test has come in the mail!

Inside the box I find very clear instructions, along with a test-tube and a funky looking spit-catching mouthpiece.

It’s pretty easy: spit (and spit, and spit, and spit until your cheeks hurt) in the tube, then seal it up and send it off to California!

And that’s it! I have to wait patiently for 2-4 weeks while 23andMe’s laboratory processes my sample. I think the waiting will be the most difficult part of this process.


March 4, 2010 at 4:03 pm Leave a comment

Embarking on a genetic adventure

Welcome to my blog!

This is my first post in what will be a chronicle of my genetic ancestry testing experience. I’ll be using the Ancestry testing service from 23andMe, which I’ll detail more in the next post. 23andMe is just one of many companies that offers genetic ancestry testing, a relatively new concept where one’s family history and geographical ancestry can be determined by DNA.

Genealogy has been around for ages and has appeared in a number of forms. Some have used genealogy to discover royal blood, to trace the history of a family surname, and to follow the lineages of a historic clan. Genealogy is still today a common pastime, especially popular in the 1970s and 1980s thanks to the book and subsequent television show Roots: The Saga of an American Family. Americans, and in particular African Americans, became more interested in the idea of tracing their families’ lineage. The rise of the internet brought yet more opportunities for genealogical research and family history discovery.

Genealogy has also developed from a hobby to a profession: one can join the American Society of Genealogists, be accredited or certified as a reputable genealogist, and be employed as an asset recovery tracer, historian, archivist, biographer, and more. But both amateur genealogists and professional genealogists alike are interested in the next wave of genealogy: genetic ancestry testing.

This will be the topic of my blog, and correspondingly, my final project for a graduate-level class taught at Duke University. I will investigate the background and use of genetic ancestry testing and the social network that has come to embrace and surround it. I will also become a subject in my own research by submitting my DNA sample to 23andMe to retrieve my own genetic ancestry  test results — the genomic information behind my family tree. I hope to meet others in the genetic ancestry test community, and maybe some long-lost relatives along the way.

Keep checking back for more posts on this exciting experience. Next up: sending in my DNA sample!

February 23, 2010 at 4:16 am Leave a comment

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Follow my classmate and fellow group member, Swathi, as she explores the ethical issues related to genetic ancestry testing!