23andMe is a personal genomics company offering reports on a number of different types of DNA findings. They use a specific type of DNA test called a SNP ("snip") microarray. A SNP test doesn't include testing for your entire genetic code, just a tiny portion of it.
23andMe recently received FDA approval to return a set of reports that provide an adjusted risk assessment for certain conditions. The ten conditions on the "approved" list are:
- Parkinson's disease
- Late-onset Alzheimer's disease (*support & information for e4 carriers here)
- Celiac disease
- Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency
- Early-onset primary dystonia
- Factor XI deficiency
- Gaucher disease type 1
- Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency ("favism")
- Hereditary hemochromatosis
- Hereditary thrombophilia
I think we can expect the list to grow longer over time.
If you're planning to order a 23andMe test (or if you've already ordered one in the past and will open your new reports when available), spend a little time learning about these conditions beforehand and how the information might help you.
Go through the mental checklist below before you view your results:
I understand this test cannot DIAGNOSE me with any of these conditions, rather they show that my chances for developing them may go up or down.
I understand there are online resources, including reliable websites and support groups, that can help me if my report shows the presence of a genetic variant for one or more of these conditions.
I understand sometimes genetic technologies, and the people running them and interpreting the data, can make mistakes.
I am the same person with the same DNA that I was yesterday. Nothing about me changes solely based on a DNA test.
I understand genetic counselors want to partner with DNA test takers to help them understand and adjust to their results and I can find one through various sources including findageneticcounselor.com, Genome Medical, and Watershed DNA.
* I will be adding more resource and support websites to this blog post and the resources section of my website over time.