* Easy-to-use DNA test with ancestry and health options
* Millions of years of history, written in a drop of spit
* You can even tell if you’re part Neanderthal!
Even with apocalyptic-sounding science news piling up faster than you can say “The Day after Tomorrow,” there are still some aspects of our technological and cultural moment that are kind of exciting and maybe even profound.
Our rapidly growing ability to understand genomics, for one thing. DNA “testing,” or genotyping, can give you real insights about not only where your distant ancestors came from but also health and wellness issues you may have been wondering about your whole life. The Kardashians, naturally had a bit where they all took the ancestry test.
The truly amazing thing about DNA is that this fragile little molecule has preserved information longer than any stone inscription. It can tell us about amazingly distant times, bears a record of human population movements and social lives older than the pyramids. It can tell you a story about crossing the Himalayas or the Bering Strait, and yet it’s so close that it’s literally inside you. You don’t have to go digging under monuments to find it; all you need to do is spit in a test tube.
DNA can help us understand not just our personal ancestry, but our shared history as humans. It can tell us, among other things, why we may never be morning people, why we prefer certain kinds of exercise over others—and what sort of exercise, diet and wellness routines might be best for us, and just how inbred European royal dynasties were. (Very. Very inbred.)
One thing we’re especially learning is that people have always been moving around and mixing with one another. The story of the human genome is one that has exploration, exile and diaspora written into it.
In fact, we can now see that historical happenings like the conquests of Genghis Khan, the genocide of the Americas and the bubonic plague have left a mark on our DNA. So, too, did the mysterious, apparently vanished human species like the Neanderthals and Denisovans.
If you want to get in on it and learn about the amazing history that’s written in your own cells, 23 and Me offers both an ancestry-focused and an “Ancestry + Health,” personal genotyping kit, and the health version has FDA approval as well.
Plus, it gives you access to the raw data, which is really cool, and it has a feature that lets you share your results with other users. The ancestry part includes over 1000 distinct regional populations now, not just continents or countries.