23 and Me; How About You?

I purchased 23 and Me kits for myself and my daughter with Type 1 for our birthdays. I was adopted, and have always been curious about my background. I finally met my birth mother (and two of my six half-sisters; we all have different fathers) years ago, but the little background information I’ve been given is, how shall I put this, questionable. (I’m not sure my biomom remembers exactly who my father is.) Long story short, my daughter and I did the spit thing the other day, and our kits are in the mail, making their way back to the amazing 23 and Me folks.

Has anyone else utilized 23 and Me, and if so, did you learn anything about the genetic origin of your diabetes? Or, for that matter, anything interesting that you are comfortable sharing? Will keep you posted about our results. (Unless I discover that I am the long-lost offspring of a serial killer or Donald Trump).


Oh yes, that reminds me of one of the strangest crime cases I’ve ever read about. Seems the police in Philadelpha – or maybe it was Baltimore? – found a man, dead, in his kitchen, face down in a pool of milk and covered in bananas.

The police are certain it’s the work of a cereal killer.

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Every Halloween, my daughter complains that I never wear a costume. And I always remind her that I am wearing a costume: my “normal” clothing. Because serial killers look like everyone else. (Stole that from an Addams Family film.)

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I did it several years ago. It’s definitely fun and interesting, but unfortunately none of the analysis they currently do relates to T1. My ethnic history mostly aligned with family lore, but there were some funny surprises. Apparently there is a North-African and Italian side that nobody knew about. Maybe that explains why I tan so quickly and easily in the Summer. :slight_smile:

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A good friend of mine tells the story of how her brother needed an organ transplant years ago, and so he and all the siblings were genetically tested to determine compatibility. Five kids including my friend and the brother. Turned out they all had the same mom–their mom–but they all had different dads. Um…


Perhaps their mom and my mom are related.:wink: In my bio family, there was always little doubt as to having different fathers; we are a multiracial (and multi-sexual-preferences) lot. I look completely Caucasian (whatever that means), one sister is half African-American, and another was told her father is Chinese (she has Asian eyes and naturally blond hair). My biomom didn’t stand a snowball’s chance in claiming we all had the same father. Yay, diversity!


I have never been THAT fascinated with my ancestors, though, I would like to find out where I got my good looks, charm, musical ability and humbleness. It doesn’t seem to run in my Mom’s OR Dad’s family!

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I thought you said you played trombone!



Yes, I do, but did I ever say that was ALL I played? I also play dumb, hard to get and guitar!


I’m curious if this genetic test can conclude that you have x% chance of developing a chronic disease. I know that genes have been identified to play a role in certain diseases. I think this is interesting. Not everyone wants to know about their possible future health. My adult daughter has decided not to participate in the TrialNet study that can indicate the chance of developing T1D.

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I did it for myself years ago before I had a kid. Interestingly, it did say I had an elevated (2X) chance of T1D, and it flagged two high-risk genes associated with T1D. Now that the FDA has stepped in and regulated its provision of health information, not sure if they still provide this T1D data analysis.

It also looked at a slightly different region of the HLA gene than is standard, not sure if that’s significant.

It also told me and my husband that we both had the protective versions of the HLA gene, but what I’m not clear on is whether these two low-risk HLAs could somehow combine to create a high-risk version? This seems relevant if you planned to have more kids, but otherwise probably TMI.

Seems like if you really want to understand your genetic risk you need to contact a genetic counselor.

lol… on your thoughts on your possible origins… :heart_eyes_cat:

I have thought about doing the dna testing but I read that 23 and Me doesn’t give you the interpretation or the same information for the genetic health results anymore. I think there is another one that does maybe? I read that the information found can tell if you’re able to make vitamin D or not among other things.

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I’m not sure how well a 123andme test would go over with my kids. The wellness traits only carry bad news. And it doesn’t say anything about diabetes risk although it could, which is perhaps a reason to wait. About the only key thing of value is to understand what percentage of neanderthal you are. In my case that would be valuable as a case against my wife’s argument that I am 100% neanderthal.


i got 23andme for my whole family years ago when they gave out health risks. now they just do ancestral stuff i think, but you can pay $5 to promethease and send your raw genetic data for their analysis.

i found i have several snps associated with type 2 diabetes in the gene TCF7L2. from wikipedia:

“The single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) within the TCF7L2 gene, rs7903146, is, to date, the most significant genetic marker[3] associated with Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) risk. SNPs in this gene are linked to higher risk to develop type 2 diabetes,[4] as well as gestational diabetes.[5]”

i don’t have the alzheimer’s gene apoe4, but i do have the progranulin defect, which is associated with an early onset dementia called frontotemporal lobe dementia, or ftd.
i stopped coming to tudiabetes after i found out i had that defect, and i was a basket case for several months. then i emailed a researcher of ftd, and she told me that defect is in 20% of the population. apparently there are some other genes or other triggers in the environment that have to be present with my defect in order for the dementia to surface. my husband is also heterozygous for that defect, and one of my daughters is homozygous, which is even rarer. so i was freaking out.

now i have calmed down a bit, but i am more serious about researching potential triggers. anesthesia is thought to be a possible trigger to ftd and alz in those genetically predisposed, so if i need a surgery, i may get an epidural, or something like that, instead of general anesthesia. i also take no anticholinergic medications, which are very common (ie benadryl, etc).

so just finding out about ancestry is not upsetting, but finding out about potential health risks, particularly when there is no treatment, can make you go nutty. all in all, i’m more motivated to try to enjoy the moment and take care of my health at the same time, so i’m glad i put my raw genetic data through promethease. just know that if you go beyond ancestry, you could be opening up a pandora’s box of worry.


I have a neighbor (probably type 2) who is often called a cereal killer because he often eats five bowls of cereal every breakfast.

My wife checked into 23andme but opted for “Family Tree DNA” because you get more for the money…I just nodded and said “Awesome!”!

I did it several years ago, but the ancestor part was boring and just what I anticipated: all northwester Europe. The ironic part was that my lowest indicated genetic risk was Type I diabetes – hah! On the other hand, perhaps that’s why I only got Type 1 at age 56, and have not yet had any complications after 14 years of only moderately good management (A1c’s around 7.0). Unlike v_prediabetic, I did find out I was heterozygous for the nasty ApoE4 allele, but unlike her I’m a geneticist so I didn’t get upset since I have access to the literature. Like most of the literature on the implications of these markers for disease risk (and indeed most of the human health literature), the literature on the increase in Alzheimer’s risk for heterozygotes is pretty ambiguous, and in any event, environment (mental and otherwise) and brain trauma history probably play a much bigger part. Some even now think Alzheimer’s may be due to a viral infection that reaches the brain, adding yet another layer of uncertainty since nobody knows where the viral culprits would come from.

Everyone should be away that there is quite a raging controversy in the field of human genetics regarding “direct to consumer” genetic testing like 23andme. Lots of medical geneticists think that it should not be allowed, and that doctors should be the gatekeepers for ALL personal genetic information, and that no information should be made available to the common man without counseling (of course this would involve cost, and moreover there are not enough genetic counselors to go around). I strongly disagree and think that all lab tests should belong to, and be freely available to, those who pay for them, unless the patients specify that they don’t want that info. Nevertheless, it was a little disturbing in that connection to hear how upset the 23andme results made v_prediabetic for a while.


Given your username, maybe you could get your sequencing done at reduced cost by 4andme?

I recently participated in a Type 1 study that involved a complete genome sequence. Unfortunately despite lots of begging on my behalf they refused to let me have access to my raw data (I have access to the software at the 'omics unit where I work). Apparently releasing data to subjects breeched some sort of ethics ruling. Pily.

So someone did a complete gene sequence on you and now they know your genome but you don’t? Shades of George Orwell. Did you sign something going in with fine print that said they could do that?

I did 23 and me a year or two ago but I was looking for another gene mutation (MTHFR) that my mom had. I didn’t really focus on any link the my type 1 cause I believe mine was brought on by my own self induced stress in my adolescence.
It is very interesting but the hardest part is having someone help you interpret the results. Make sure you looking into things like a gene genie to help or a Naturopath. Keep us posted if you do find something linked to diabetes. I think we all would love to hear and see if we have commonalities!