The Long Tail of 23 and Me

I have heard a bunch of crazy stories of people who have found out that their father wasn’t their father until after he died when they got their 23 and Me. They found that 50% of the DNA came from another man, who happened to be their neighbor.  Another one where she knew her single Mom used a sperm donor who ended up giving sperm to many women.  She found that she had an extended family of 20+ half-siblings who she found and connected with.  Many random similarities that make one think a lot about the power of DNA.

Every couple months or so I get an email from 23 and Me showing me a variety of people who I share DNA with.  Most of them are fourth cousins or third cousins to a second cousin.  It is fascinating.  My family is small.  Both of my parent’s parents cut off relationships with their siblings so I wouldn’t even know them if they walked in the door.  My aunt, who died when I was a child, had two children that my father has had no relationship with since I was 6 so again, no idea who they are except that they were two boys.

It is not top of my list to go out and explore these shared relations but I do find it fascinating.  Data gives us information that we sometimes don’t expect.  The powerful part is that in many ways we are all connected.  Who we think we are is not necessarily who we are.  For instance, maybe I am part African or Asian or European but never realized I had roots from those areas of the world.

Not exactly sure where all this information is going but there is something that really fascinates me every time I get an email from 23 and Me.

Comments (Archived):

  1. awaldstein

    I found this interview with their CEO pretty fascinating:https://content.production….Wish i understood where and how their massive data repository can start to help with genomic matching in supplements which is a topic I really care about.

    1. Gotham Gal

      Great question. They are amassing so much data.

  2. Pointsandfigures

    I did it and confirmed a lot of family stories. I am a lot more Scandinavian than I thought I was. Also Scotch/Irish, German and some American Indian. True mutt. I wasn’t worried about some of the things they can test for like dementia and Parkinson’s, but it turns out I don’t have the genes for them. So, when I get old and crazy I need to find something else to blame. A friend of mine who was also a co-founder of Hyde Park Angels did a more thorough test with a startup company in California. He found out some things and they used cell based science to advise him how to try and use diet to decrease the risk of getting them. He now is intermittent fasting and avoiding sugar/non-complex carbohydrates. It’s made a huge difference in his health. That’s kind of cool.

    1. Gotham Gal

      That is extremely cool.

    2. TanyaMonteiro

      Incredibly cool

  3. jason wright

    In the modern world are ‘tribes’ based on genetics? It more about ideology and the bottom line.