*Photos: Terry Gates
We always felt fortunate to be twins and not just twins but identical twins. Twins are either born dizygotic (fraternal); 2 separate fertilized eggs or monozygotic (identical); 1 fertilized egg divided into 2. There is a very special bond we share and so special it is sometimes difficult to elucidate with words. Often we think just how lucky we are that decades ago a fertilized egg naturally selected by chance to split into two.
The formation of two embryos from one is not hereditary. In fact the explanation of why one embryo splits into two is still a mystery which led us to many unanswered questions. As close as our bond is with each other, the road to our ancestral roots and our family history was similar to one embryo splitting into two…a mystery. So we teamed up with 23andMe to discover more.
23andMe exists to help people access, understand and benefit from the human genome. The name, ‘23andMe’ comes from the fact that human DNA is organized into 23 pairs of chromosomes. This was our first DNA testing together, and we were excited to find out just how alike our DNA was and the origins of those chromosomes.
Unlike other DNA services that offer only Ancestral findings, 23andMe not only offers Ancestry Service, but their “Health + Ancestry Service” examines your genes to tell you about your ancestry, health, traits and more. 23andMe has helped more than five million customers worldwide to analyze, compile and distill the information extracted from DNA through a saliva collection kit. Their genetic analysis service helps you better understand who you are, where your ancestors came from, and what your family story might be. You’ll also gain health and genetic traits insights.
23andMe’s “Personal Genetic Service®” , was created to help people understand their DNA. You’ll be able to see which regions around the world your ancestors come from and learn how your DNA can influence your facial features, hair, taste preferences, sleep quality and much more.
23andMe allows you to experience your DNA in a whole new way. You’ll learn about your ancestry, traits and health through genetic analysis. See how your DNA breaks down globally, discover how much Neanderthal DNA you inherited, explore genetic similarities with your relatives, and connect with people who share DNA with you.
Learn more about our results below and our experience with 23andMe as we discovered parts of ourselves we were unaware of even as identical twins.
For such a detailed ancestry report you might think the 23andMe DNA kit involves extensive instructions. Quite the opposite! We didn’t know what to expect before receiving the DNA kit; however, the moment we opened the box we could instantly see the process would be easy!
All you need to do is to provide a sample of your saliva. A tube is included in the kit. Simply use the tube to place your saliva in, register your kits online and voila you’re done!
What is next? Seriously voila you are done! Except for sealing up the package (no postage required and kit is included in the very same box you will use when ready to ship) and walking to your mailbox. The entire process is quick even when you factor in the time it takes you to walk to your mailbox…depending on how far but you get our drift.
Now the waiting game begins…
So the results are in! We are identical twins. Ok all jokes aside results are in and results include not only your ancestry breakdown but traits, (explores the genetics behind your appearance and senses) how wellness (find out how your DNA may affect your body’s response to diet, exercise and sleep) and much more. As identical twins it wasn’t surprising to see our ancestry reports are nearly an exact facsimile of each other. It was surprising to see that, albeit nearly identical, they did slightly differ.
So yes very, very, very similar but slightly different!
Particularly interesting is our genetic muscle composition which is common in elite power athletes. Watch out Serena and Usain…yes, go ahead and laugh. They blatantly have nothing to worry about; however, all jokes aside muscle composition is something we never would have pondered until viewing our results.
CONNECT WITH RELATIVES
You can also opt to connect with relatives that share the same DNA as you.
A FEW HELPFUL THINGS TO KNOW
23andMe takes your privacy very seriously and gives you control over your
genetic information. They let you decide how your information is used and with whom it is shared.
23andMe also enables you to opt-in to genetic research and link your data to study topics from ancestry to traits to certain diseases. Your contribution helps drive scientific discoveries — more than 80% of customers opt-in to answer research surveys. On average each person’s survey answers help with over 200 research studies.
The 23andMe Health + Ancestry Service contains reports that meet FDA standards.
To date, 23andMe has published more than 45 peer-reviewed studies in scientific journals.
We have to admit this was a rewarding experience receiving our 23andMe ancestry reports and viewing how we differ slightly in our ancestry breakdown. Anyone who is curious about their genetics should definitely give this a try as you may be surprised. (or may just confirm what you already know) However, even if you already know, you can view your genetics broken down in percentages and which are higher or lower than you may have expected. Either way you could be pleasantly surprised!
Want to try and discover your own story? Order your own 23andMe kitHERE
*Special thanks to 23andMe for sponsoring this post.
*Photos: Terry Gates