THE RESULTS ARE IN! I apologize, did I frighten you with my glee?! It is true my 23andMe results arrived a few weeks ago and I now have had sufficient time to digest all the information presented. I am ready to share with you, Dear Readers. Double check your bets and predictions then read on to see how you faired. Are you ready? –It turns out I am 100% perfect! Here is a screen shot of my “ancestry pie” and a world map of my genes.
And here is the specific breakdown of my ancestry:
- 30.9% British and Irish
- 12.6% Native of the Americas (think Mexican)
- 12.3% Iberian (Spain and Portugal, but really Spain in my case)
- 4.5 % French and German!! (Read it and weep!)
- 2.7% Sub-Saharan African (from my mother)
- 1.6% Scandinavian
- 1.7 % Unassigned . . .we like to joke this is our junk DNA aka proof of our Extraterrestrial origins. Ironically, I am more Alien than Scandinavian . . . and that makes me sad.
So?! How did you do? Did you guess some-what correctly? I am so thrilled I have French blood. Given my father’s family tree, I imagine I have more French than German, but I could be wrong. For now I am chalking the entire 4.5% to French. It is more fun that way, even if it is actuality consider a trace gene (meaning less than 6% and too far back in the family tree). Mom was dually shocked and pouty about my results. Now if a person asks me what my background is I can say with confidence I am British-Mexican-Spanish (and if I am feeling goofy and snobbish, I might add the French, just for flair). Upon discovering my French ancestry, I ran over to my father and threw my arms around him for a bear hug and thanked him for the French genes. He patted my arm knowingly and said, “I do what I can.”
Fun Fact: Out of the 2,872 tested variants of Neanderthal, I only have 246 which is 85% less than the average 23andMe user. Somehow this ascribes to my height. I thought Neanderthals were short and stocky? I am 5 foot 8 inches (which tends to lean toward the tall side for females). Regardless the important take away here is I am more “civilized” than Mother, and really that is all that maters.
Recall my speculations and hope for a potential red headed/ginger child (not that I am in the family way by any means)? Well here is our answer! It appears I have a small chance. It really comes down to what the father brings to the table. I say this, because as you recall, my own mother had a 3% chance of having the black hair she actually does. So if a 3% chance can beat the odds, than a 6% chance has a better . . . well . . . chance. It makes me wonder now, just what percentage of ginger genes my father has?? For the record he was born blond and matured into a mild brunette then lost his hair altogether.
My eye color is spot on with dark brown. Thanks, Ma. However, check out all my options should I have a kid! Really, it is up in the air! Ooooo, my child could have heterochromia! How awesomely beautiful would that be?! Again, the final results depends heavily on the father’s side. The eye color variants are thus, in my order: Dark brown, dark hazel, light hazel, light brown, and green! I am almost tempted to have procreate for purely scientific and experimental purposes! A terrible, terrible reason to have a child, but gosh my kid could be stunning! Not to brag, but just saying the spectacular genes they’d have to work with . . .
The biggest surprise from the characteristics and traits portion of the test? Statistical genetics report I “should have” been born with light brown hair and freckles! –My whole life has been a lie!! Frankly, I find the idea of freckles alluring and light brown hair would certainly have been different from all my dark brown and black-haired relatives! Alas, no cute freckles nor brown hair. Grrrr. But like I mentioned before, I do love the high contrast of my dark brown hair and alabaster skin. So, I cannot complain too much. However, again I could pass on this adorable combination to my child/children . . . should I have them.
While the light brown hair and the freckles are surprising, the biggest shocker came from the medical portion of the DNA test. The Carrier Status is the whole reason my family chose 23andMe over every other DNA test. We were hoping to find out if my profound hearing loss was due to genetics or environmental influences. Again, my older brother and I have severe hearing loss and neither of my parents show any hearing issues. However, family lore has it my dad’s father’s generation experienced weak hearing across his entire sibling set. 23andMe tested for two markers of “Nonsyndromic Hearing Loss and Deafness” and six markers for “Pendred Syndrome Hearing Loss.” And . . . I tested negative for these types of hearing loss. My family is stunned.
To put things in perspective according to the Scientific Details I still have 1 in 150 chance of carrying Nonsyndromic Hearing Loss and Deafness. . . the beauty about 23andMe is they continuously update their tests as more scientific research methods and tools become available and approved. So some people who were negative can in end up showing positive in a newer update. It is something to keep it mind when reviewing your results. The implication still leaves us at square one, there is another type of genetic hearing loss that I have or . . . we truly became deaf by fevers, in which case this environmental factor could be ascribed to being “my parents fault.” We do not choose to look at this way, but I am aware others might take this view. We are so far removed from the time of diagnosis that it is inconsequential. The key point to remember with situations such as this, parents/care givers try to make the best decision at the time, given the information they have. Period. That is all that can be done, then let the chips fall where they may.
On the other side of this argument is DNA is not destiny. Just because someone receives results stating genetically they are not predisposed to being a sprinter, does not mean they shouldn’t attempt. The body is a remarkable thing and can adapt with training in many things. DNA is not to be used as a crutch! A statistical likelihood is not a guarantee. Obviously. I mean “I should have been a light brown haired, freckly British looking person,” but I was born precisely as I should have been. It is what it is. End of story. Environment and lifestyle can over-ride DNA, any day. I see my results as insurance, preventative medicine, and probability for the future. Life has a way of twisting and turning and taking us by surprise, does it not; ways that DNA plays no part.
Moving on, I tested negative for all the other 41 carrier statuses. This surely stems from my mother’s genes. She also tested negative for every carrier status option. She comes from ridiculously hearty stock! When I conveyed my findings to one of my cousins she snorted, “Yeah, the Legleus (my mother’s family) are like cockroaches. They’re all going to survive the apocalypse and refuse to die!” I had to laugh. There is a lot of truth in her observation. Despite appearances, my Tios/Uncles all have remarkable good biometric numbers, whereas their more active, health conscious, and svelte wives and children are the ones with the host of medical issues! In addition La Familia (aka my mother’s family) is known for its longevity. My grandmother, Juanita Legleu passed away last November at 97 years old. Her mother, Maria de la Luz Val lived to be 107. Lord, knows how long my great-great grandparents lived?! Probably to 900 years old, like Moses . . . sounds about right.
So where do I go from here? My mother and I are eager to have my father and brother tested. . . possible Christmas gifts? We also will be delving back into my mother’s family tree to uncover our Awesome African Ancestor, possibly with the help of a genealogist in the future. I will hone in on my ancestors from the 19th century to share with you on this blog as things progress, but it may take some time. The past is an amazing lesson but the future is where hopes and dreams will forever be. So here’s to all my ancestors and the future descendants! Huzzah!