What are some of the most interesting things people learn from having their DNA sequenced?


DNA sequencing has been monumental in accelerating medical and biological discovery and research. Due to this reason, I have always wondered what interesting things people learned after getting their DNA sequenced.


The world of DNA is extremely interesting. Researchers have been studying them to understand the history of humans, diseases, and enhance genetics to name a few. I found an extremely interesting fact after going through The On Personalized Medicine by Francis Collins, the Director of National Institutes of Health (NIH). As he was worried about getting prostate cancer, he used Navigenics, deCode, and 23andMe to conduct tests. He found out that his chance of getting cancer ranged from low to more than 40% greater than an average male. However, after closer examination, he realized that each company tested different Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs), which was the reason behind the varying results. Taking a look at all of them, his risk for prostate cancer was below the average for males.

Tero Kesi-Valkama made his entire profile from 23andMe available to the public so that anyone can go through his data. I find it quite amazing that you can get a lot of information from these tests. However, I wouldn’t know what to do with this data as you can’t always make the most of them. For instance, from his profile, you can see that the chances of him suffering from multiple sclerosis are 0.47%, whereas it is only 0.34% for an average male.

I found another story where one person found out that he was related to his current girlfriend. When the couple took the test from 23andMe, they got to know that they were fourth cousins. He also discovered that he was carrying a rare genetic condition that killed his grandfather. The condition increases the iron content in his blood gradually. As he is only the carrier, he can take the necessary steps to keep his children safe.

One of the most interesting things I came across was the discovery of an individual’s half-sister, which was not known to their family for 55 years. After getting to know this mind-blowing information, he was happy to have another sibling.

One of the participants from the Personal Genome Project (PGP) found that she had European ancestors, as she didn’t have genes responsible for freckles. She got medium brown hair from her genes, which only gives non-black coloring. Her genes made her more vulnerable to the negative effects due to the lack of sleep. Also, she got to know that it was harder for her to wake up in the night, because of her genes. However, she was unable to find out why she disliked smoking and bitter food.

Although each of these tests has extremely interesting results, you should keep in mind that most of them were only from a single company. If you were to follow in the footsteps of Francis Collins, you would get slightly different answers due to their testing techniques.