Friday, January 18, 2013

DNA Me: A Good Spit Is Hard to Find

Well I'm off on my DNA adventure! Before the holidays I selected 23andMe to do my DNA test and just after New Year ordered the kit. It came in less than a week and it had been sitting on the table waiting for me to do something with it. Finally the little box was opened and I got on with it.

The first step, as instructed by the lid of the little plastic box in a box - and must comment that the packaging is well designed - is to register the test kit as yours. So off to my browser and input the unique code for my kit. I made note of the code in a safe place in case it's needed later.

After registration, there is the terms of agreement to read, and check off as read and agreed to before completion of registration. After reading recent comments about terms and how one should read them to be sure you are not really buying a timeshare or committing to monthly billing, these terms got a special going over. And it was attention grabbing because it concerned the possible sharing of my survey data, if I decided to participate in their surveys, which I have not done.

The one survey I looked at was all about medical information and I'm not sure quite yet that I want that floating about in a data base. Must confess that I'm not usually one to read terms of use but I will from here on out. Plus, it was encouraging that it gave the choice to opt out. I opted in, just in case I change my mind and do want to share medical data for their research later. Honestly, if I answered the medical survey questions first before getting the test results I might not feel that the results were entirely honest... but that's just me.

Next, spit! Some kits want a cheek swab, but 23andMe wants plenty of spit, or saliva. You can not have had anything to eat or drink in the 30 minutes prior to spitting in the tube. Sounds easy, right? Then why, oh why, is it that if you tell me I can't have anything to drink that is the very moment I'm as parched and dry as desert? But I waited like a good girl and then started to spit.

Now here is the really hard part: you have to spit enough to fill the tube up to the line. Oh, golly! It must have taken me five full minutes to fill it up, but fill it to the line on the tube I finally did. I do envy people who spit copiously. It wasn't until well after I mailed the package back that I noticed on the email confirmation at time of purchase the suggestion that you rub your cheek a couple of minutes to increase saliva. Would have been a helpful addition to the package, and a good tip for anytime you want to drum extra spit;)

The lid comes down on the tube proper and that releases the liquid in the lid. Then take that lid off and screw on a cap, shake for five seconds, and put the tube in a plastic peel-and-seal bag. Back in the box it goes. Done! It really was easy.

The box has an address in Los Angeles on it but the 23andMe web site says that it could take up to two weeks for the lab to receive the sample. Because LA is just north of San Diego where I live, it will be interesting to see how long it does take to get first word back.

As I wait I'll keep on reading and looking at information about DNA for genealogy. I have so much to learn. But I've learned this already... it's really hard to spit that much!

Photo of the day from Aunt Betty's Archive:

Wouldn't they marvel at the wonders of DNA testing?
That's my GGF, Daniel Williams and his family.
Pictured are:
Daniel Williams, 1852 - 1920
Charles Williams, 1899 - 1979
William Williams, 1884 - 1964
Jane Williams, Daniel's wife, 1862 - 1939
Grands, Dan, Lillie, Hilda, and Bessie

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