Jaeheon Shim
Hi! I'm Jaeheon Shim, a computer programmer and technology enthusiast. Here on Learn The Technology, I write about technology and the effect it is having on our modern world. I write about a broad range of topics, ranging from 3D Printing to Cybersecurity.

23andme: A way to look into the future and the past

Your DNA comes from all of your ancestors. In your DNA, you can find genetic traces of where your ancestors lived throughout history, and who the actually are.

A company known as 23andMe offers you the ability to test ancestry and for genetic diseases by analyzing your DNA. This allows you to look into your past by being able to find out who your ancestors are, which can be pretty cool. Imagine finding out you could potentially be a descendant of a US President!

The controversy of 23andme comes in with the ability to look into the future. Along with your ancestral records, you can also receive data on whether you are likely to get incurable diseases such as late-onset Alzheimer’s disease. This can be terrifying to patients because this type of data cannot be unseen. Once you see it, you will have to go through genetic counseling and even that might not work.

The one catch in this system is that your ancestors have to have their DNA recorded in the database for the tests to provide accurate results.

Testing

www.top10dnatests.com states that 23andme testing is very simple and that once you have your results, you’ll be able to use the 23andMe database to find your unknown genetic relatives.

As far as I know, this is true. In fact, I think it would be cool to find out more about my ancestry. 23andme offers an option to opt out of disease testing, which is what I would do.

To test your DNA, you first purchase a DNA testing kit from 23andme’s website. The kit ships including a special, instructions, plastic bag, and return label.

For the actual testing, the user spits into the plastic tube. Then they close a special lid which releases a chemical into your saliva that will help preserve it longer. Then, you put the tube in a special plastic bag and wait for your results.

Hackers

What worries me are hackers. Before, if your Google account got hacked, you would divulge some of your personal data, such as name and birthdate. But now, when your 23andme account gets hacked, you divulge all that info plus your sensitive genetic info. If that fell into the wrong hands, your future could be corrupted.
I don’t care if 23andme says they have the best security. In most cases, hacking is done to the customer, not the website. So if you fall for one phishing attack, you are done for.

This is a really new technology, so nobody knows what will become of it. I think it would be really cool to find out about my ancestry, but I would not want to find out that I will get the down syndrome by the age of 35. Oh, and also, if you are wondering where the name 23andme comes from, the 23 is from the 23 chromosomes in your genetics.

Update 3/21/2018:
This technology is becoming even more accessible than before! A few days ago, I actually came by a 23andme testing kit at a local Walmart.

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1 Response

  1. Kyunam says:

    Wow…I want to try it. Thank you for the good article

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