What to do with your 23andMe or Ancestry raw DNA data to get additional analysis

By Lumminary Team, 27 Aug, 2018

What is DNA?
Things to know: How is genetic testing done?
Will it make you a better version of you? What can you do with your DNA data?
Should I give you some advice after reading thousands of pages on the matter?
Everyone is talking about it: How and why should you download your DNA data?
Can you guess what to do with the raw data?
Should you be freaking out? Confidentiality
Conclusions and what happens next

Have you ever wondered what you can do with your DNA data? Here is a chance to find out, we will first explain what DNA is, how testing is done, why it is done, and what you can do after you receive the bulk data following your test. Keep reading because some of these insights may surprise you and impact for the better your health, understanding of where you come from, and how best to achieve to the full of your capabilities as defined in your genes.

What is DNA?

DNA is a molecule composed by two chains that coil around each other to form a double helix. There are two DNA strands which are composed of simple monomeric units called nucleotides and, each nucleotide is composed of one of the four nitrogen-containing nucleobases:

  • cytosine (C)
  • guanine (G)
  • adenine (A)
  • thymine (T)

These bases are tied together by a sugar and a phosphate group.

These two strands store the biological information that the organism needs to develop, live and reproduce. These instructions exist in every cell.

Without getting too technical, but should you wish to do so you can further read here and here. DNA is a blueprint of you.

Things to know: How is genetic testing done?

You may have heard that you can have genetic testing done, which is a type of test that identifies changes or mutations in genes. These type of tests can help you know if you have a genetic condition, or if you have a chance of developing one. Of course, this is just the basics of the benefits you can reap out of genetic testing.

It works fairly simple, you need to provide a sample of blood, hair, skin, amniotic fluid, saliva or other tissue. Most of the direct to consumer genetic tests are based on saliva samples, you receive a little kit in the privacy of your home and then you just deposit a little bit of saliva in it and mail it back. Then, you wait....and wait....for about 6 weeks usually depending on the laboratory which runs your test.

Afterwards, you will receive an email/some form of notification that your results are in and you can access them to know everything there is to know about you.

In use there are currently about 2000 genetic tests and many more are being developed. So, as you can see, genetic testing is fairly simple to do at home and sometimes budget friendly as prices keep going down (those of you that know a bit about this may know it was prohibitive some years ago).

It is an incredibly useful way to know if you may be the carrier of a disease and also to determine which dose or type of medicine would be best for an individual…..but read on to discover a score of other less known benefits of genetic testing.

Will it make you a better version of you? What can you do with your DNA data?

Firstly, you can know what is your predisposition to certain diseases, of course, the fact that you have a predisposition towards a condition doesn’t necessarily mean you will develop it, so don’t panic if you see a very serious illness in your results. This is one of the reasons why people avoid genetic testing, they fear what they may find out.

The whole point is, however, to know there is a small risk, and what lifestyle changes you need to make to prevent it. As this link here describes the results should be taken with a pinch of salt, they are extremely useful and you should go to the doctor to check if you see a serious gene mutation for breast cancer for instance, however, they are oftentimes incomplete and this is why science is continually advancing.

Most people started with tests from 23andme, ancestry.com, MyHeritage and so on, finding out about their ethnic background but now comes the fun part, you can download your data from these sites (you can see how in the specific section below) and you can do a lot of things with this raw data.

So, after completing your family tree, finding out about distant cousins in Papua New Guinea, what next, you ask?

Here are some great websites to take into consideration:

Athletigen: they give you a report on performance, exercise plans, nutrition, wellness and recovery. Their main focus is on sports and they work with several athletes and aim to help mostly sportsmen, so, if you a fitness fanatic maybe this is for you.

CH3enko: -health- you can purchase a personal genetic report for methylation pathways for $19 by uploading you raw DNA data, so therefore it is useful if you have this genetic condition.

Codegen: -FREE- a personalized DNA search engine you can read about genotype-trait associations in over 2000 diseases, about nutrition and fitness and so on

DNAfeed: for free you can upload your data and research findings summary, for some $ you can discuss with a genetic licensed counsellor understanding the health risks.

DNAfit: you upload your raw data and get advice on how to lose weight, build muscle or live healthier including food sensitivities and intolerances and injury response. They also have a 30 days money back guarantee which can come in handy if you are not pleased with the results.

DNAGedcom: simply more information on family tree and background.

DNA.land: you find out where your ancestors may have lived, you get some physical and wellness traits prediction and you can connect with your relatives. This is also a nonprofit and run by academics affiliated with Columbia University and the NY Genome Center.

DNAmatch4iPad: only for family trees, what it does is to facilitate the establishment of associations between test results and so helps or can help you find family members.

DNARomance: this states that it is online dating based on science, basically a platform where they match people based on their DNA and personality compatibility as calculated using the Myers-Briggs test. They also cite on the website the key research papers on which they base the concept of DNA dating.

DNAtoZ: they offer a health analysis and also talk about nutrition, vitamins, allergies, drug intolerance, physical traits, ethnicity and intelligence. Some of their services can be quite pricey. Quite interesting is that they have a service called Mymatch where you can compare your DNA tests before saying ,,I do”, therefore determining the potential genetic risks of the offspring.

Dotone: this is for design, so basically you can get colourful scarfs, tee, tartan, print, socks etc, all with the design of the 0.1% of your DNA that makes you unique.

Enlis: it analyses your DNA data but this is intended for biologists and clinicians.

FamilyTreeDNA: they offer a test allowing you to know the breakdown of your ethnic and geographic origins and connect with distant relatives.

Found my Fitness: uploading the raw DNA file you can get a report for only $10 where you can learn how your genes affect your metabolism of vitamins, fat, carbohydrates, sleep, excretion of substances, cholesterol etc. Although it is not comprehensive it can be useful taking into account the very low price.

GEDmatch.com: you can find out more information on your genealogy, some of the tools provided are free.

Geneknot: -FREE- this is pretty interesting, you can upload your data and compare your DNA with people with similar disease risk. Up to the user to decide if such a comparison is useful or just a tad bit fearmongering.

Genomelink: you can find out about physical traits, nutrition, personality, intelligence fitness, and some of these insights you can get for free. On their website they say: Go beyond genealogy and learn how your DNA shapes your nutrition, fitness, personality and intelligence traits. Instant access to 25 genetic trait reports upon sign up.

Genome.One: based in Australia, it offers whole genome sequencing, and it analyzes inherited conditions that cause 31 cancers, 13 heart conditions and 5 other conditions, including how your body responds to 220 medications, the only downside - it is quite pricey, namely $3.200 for a whole genome analysis and $2.200 for a whole exome analysis

GENOtation: clinical, sports, traits, ancestry- but it is not very detailed in what it provides concerning health risks. However, when it comes to genealogy, you can get your genome analyzed to determine your global ancestry and your result will be displayed on a global map and you can also see how much you inherited from the Neanderthal man. This tool is mostly intended for educational and research purposes and it has been created by experts from Stanford University.

Golden Helix: this is a professional website for clinicians and biologists or other researchers that provides them with different software tools necessary when doing or analysing genetic testing. This one should be of no interest unless you are a researcher in the field.

GeneHeritage: you can get a report on the genes you inherited from a parent or grandparent, traits (and these include eye color, lactose intolerance, taste and smell sensitivity etc) and ancient origins (are you from Europe, Asia, Africa or Eurasia?). A report is $12.

GeneticGenie: -FREE- for detox and methylation analysis, it’s not that easy to understand if you are a newbie at this but since it’s free you can give it a shot.

Genomapp: an app for IOS and Android only for health and it offers a very extensive list of conditions giving you a report that associates your genotype with a list of conditions, either complex or inherited, blood groups and traits.

Genetrainer: you can use it for fitness, they create for you personalized training plans and workouts, it also integrates Fitbit, Runkeeper, Withings scale and so on. You can check your progress, weight loss, fitness improvement, heart rate etc

Ginihealth: this is a mobile app offering optimizing diet/nutrition solutions, advising you what to eat and what habits to form.

Habit: only for nutrition, after you complete the test they send you and answer some questions such as waistline, activity level, height, weight, you “get seven reports about your biology, including how your body handles carbs, fats and protein, you learn about your heart health, predisposition to weight gain, caffeine sensitivity and lactose intolerance.” You will also receive personalized weekly recipes.

Impute:-FREE- health- it is a non profit genetic analysis site, they aim at providing more data on millions of additional genetic variations that were not measured by your original data. However, it can be quite daunting for a consumer to understand this technical report.

Infinome: for losing weight and feeling better, so helping you to improve your lifestyle. They also let you know some health risks, you can research on your own using the scientific literature they provide and you can track your health, sleep and exercise.

Lifenome: This is a B2B platform, therefore it addresses businesses, including app developers, offering solutions for fitness, allergy, nutrition, personality, skin care, hair care, dieting, supplements, wellbeing, sleep, productivity, intelligence.

Livewello: they can use your 23andme/ancestryDNA or Family Tree DNA data to generate variance and health reports for $19.95, giving you information on thousands of disease related genes. This is mostly intended for health practitioners as it can be quite daunting to read on your own but the internet is at your fingertips so you can do some research on your own.

Lumminary: The World’s Largest Consumer Genomics Store where you can get scientific insights on how your DNA impacts your health, fitness, nutrition, or simply treat yourself to a present that is completely and uniquely you!

Natural DNA Solutions: -health- you can get a report that, after describing the functioning of genes, list the possible health consequences of gene variations, including also treatment options (nutritions, supplements, detox, exercise, meditation etc.).

openSNP: -FREE- you can publish your test results and find others with similar genetic variations and traits, access the relevant literature so you can study on your own about the variations.

Oxford Statistics Phasing service: -FREE- it phases sequenced samples using reference panels of haplotypes,this service is hosted by the University of Oxford. This is mostly useful for clinicians and researchers.

Promethease: this is not a free service but it is quite cheap (12$), you can read a lot of scientific literature if you upload your data, mostly on health and genealogy.

Sequencing: the apps they have are on health (wellness and longevity, genetic counselling, detoxification, rare disease screen, vitamin balance, healthy heart etc), ancestry, nutrition, fitness, beauty, lifestyle, children, bioinformatics, clothing, art.

StrateGene: -Health- they can generate a genetic report, giving you only the SNPs (gene variants) that are relevant clinically, and they also help you understand how these SNPs play a role in health, showing the associated conditions and symptoms along with kinetic variations.

SNPedia: -FREE- this is a web page where you can do some research on your own on the effects of variations in DNA, it also cites peer reviewed publications. This is the resource that Promethease uses in order to create your personal report. What is pretty cool is that they also have a discussion board.

ToolboxGenomics: -lifestyle/nutrition- they provide diet and nutrition strategies, supplement recommendations, specific exercise strategies, lifestyle advice to overcome genetic predispositions including stress management and sleeping techniques.

WeGene: this is a Chinese company that offers genome sequencing or the possibility to upload raw data in order to generate new reports dealing with health, fitness, beauty etc.

Xcode.life: they provide reports dealing with health, nutrition, fitness, allergy skin, certain genes, traits and personality

Should I give you some advice after reading thousands of pages on the matter?

I have tried covering above all of the services, but day by day more companies, tools and apps appear, so, should I have missed any, please let us know in the comments below and also please share your experience with them.

Please also bear in mind that, even though, getting a report for only $10 can be very tempting and you feel that you get a great deal, all of the time you are getting only what you actually pay for, aka a very incomplete report detailing only certain things for instance, only the major health risks or only main fitness weight loss plans.

If your budget only allows for small amounts, or if you are just starting to dip your toes into this exciting new field that makes science accessible to ordinary citizens like you and me, then pick some of these really cheap services and try them out.

If however, you want in depth analysis that actually covers everything that interests you, take into account it can be quite pricey (not in the terms of $4000, but maybe around several hundred dollars), so perhaps rather than purchasing several cheap reports, it could be better to economies in order to get a very complete one.

What I can honestly advise you to start with, is to get a full sequencing of your DNA, this you only have to do once and then this raw data you can use on very many websites to get a lot of additional information, keeping in mind that new services appear day by day and therefore you can always get new insights.

You can try hunting for sales, but beware, sometimes, the very low price can actually be a market gimmick and may only actually give you what you pay for, so check out if that report they claim to give you is as complete as they make it sound with the bolded letters.

One more thing to take into consideration is to never believe the claims at face value, check if they are backed by science. Some of the apps/websites out there promise the impossible such as how good at volleyball will a child be, this is simply not backed by science so you should always do a little research before buying a service.

Also, even if they link to certain studies, be careful to actually read or at the very least skim through those to see if that said study actually supports their claims, or if it is simply linked to make the service more trustworthy. Unfortunately, in this field, consumer law hasn’t yet progressed to defend us, but probably in the future it will, for now, it is simply false advertising.

Everyone is talking about it: How and why should you download your DNA data?

As you may know and we have talked about this here should you have done a test with sites like 23andMe it is extremely advisable to download your data as these websites can choose to limit or terminate availability to raw data, as it has been previously done.

There is absolutely nothing that is legally preventing them from doing so and it means that, should you lose this data, you have to wait again several weeks and pay to resequence your DNA, meaning you need to take the test again from a company that allows you to download your raw DNA data

If you haven’t yet taken a genetic test or you just want to sequence (read) your DNA, you can do so here, this is the most complete way to sequence your DNA (which can be a quite hefty sum for a complete sequencing of DNA!)

To avoid this, the safest option is to go the website and download your data and we even have a video on how to for the website 23andMe and for ancestry you can read more here

In short, regardless the website, you must sign in to your account, and from the options offered find and click on Download Raw Data, which means you receive your instructions on mail on how to proceed, usually meaning they send you a link you must click on. All you have to do after, is to confirm the data download, and voila, it is on your device in text format.

Can you guess what to do with the raw data?

What you can do with raw data in terms of what you can find out about yourself is almost endless, from knowing your ethnic ancestry, far away relatives, knowing and understanding your genetic variations and so on. You can also know personalized health and lifestyle insights, diet and fitness plans, optimum sleep cycles, genetic predisposition to illnesses, and even DNA art and entertainment.

You can of course choose to store this data on your computer/Ipad/other device but the truth is, a device can break or malfunction, and you will lose it. So it is better to store it with a safe option, at Lumminary you have a DNA vault which is a free for life and ultra secure way to store your DNA data.

All you have to do is upload your genetic file into your account and just keep it there or chose to get new insights from your data, which is of course way more useful than just keeping it on your computer. After all, if you found out about your lineage at MyHeritage for instance, why stop there? A very similar service you can also find on Sequencing.com, so up to you to compare the services.

Should you be freaking out? Confidentiality

All providers of services that deal with DNA data comply with some basic confidentiality conditions, as this data, like your private information such as address, phone number, mail etc. should be private.

Depending on the country in which the provider of services is based, the laws that are applicable may differ, in the European Union for instance they may be more strict and in some countries such as Bangladesh they may be more lax. You can read more in this CNBC article. This is why it is important to always check the terms and conditions as well as the privacy policy to ensure that you are trusting very confidential information in the right hands.

Hacking is a risk which unfortunately exists, but more importantly, some of the service providers out there will sell or share your data for profit to third parties.

For instance, at Lumminary your information is not shared with third parties without your consent, the process of sharing your information is initiated by you each time and only the DNA part that is necessary for the partner to provide the service that you acquired is shared, third parties only receive the required DNA information to perform the service. You can read more about how this work in the Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions

Conclusions and what happens next

What you are probably going to ask is doing a DNA test going to be life changing for you? Is it going to be the secret to your success? Maybe not something as extraordinary as that but...

This exciting field grows everyday, space may be the final frontier for human kind but understanding how we work internally, preventing incurable and crippling diseases, and why not, preventing aging and living better overall, healthier, with more energy- that is a very exciting future which has started to unravel!

Therefore, if you haven’t done so already, sequence your DNA, scan for health risks, find out your genealogy, see what you should be eating, how you should live and so on- don’t believe absolutely everything you read and check carefully the confidentiality department of every website where you upload your raw DNA data- but overall have fun!

Keep in mind the risks, and for instance you can read more here but remember that science and bettering yourself should be first and foremost fun and exciting!

What you can uncover about yourself and family members is basically limitless, and these possibilities are increasing daily!

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