When we were in the U.S., my husband Junkyu and I sent off our DNA (in the form of spit in a tube) to 23andMe, a genetic report company I keep seeing. I was really curious what our results would be. They not only show you your ancestry but they also give you health reports and show you the likelihood you have of having certain traits.
Our results came back and were surprising to both of us. I had taken a National Geography ancestry DNA test before, when I was in college, but it only told me my maternal ancestry path and it was very broad. I knew the 23andMe test would be way more specific and fun, so I decided to have both of us try it out.
I told Junkyu that he’d come out with at least a small percent of Japanese or Chinese DNA and he didn’t believe me, but I was pretty spot on! And I knew that my grandmother was from Germany and that my grandfather was French, but I also had suspicions that I might be Italian or something, since my skin tans easily and has olive undertones, unlike a lot of my family members who have pink undertones.
So we’ll start with Junkyu’s results:
I was right!! He’s mostly Korean but has Japanese and Chinese ancestry as well! The test got even more specific and told us dates we could expect his ancestors to have been born in:
The test told us that he most likely had a second-, third-, or fourth-great-grandparent who was 100% Japanese! Same with Chinese, just a bit further back! This doesn’t surprise me, as many Koreans can trace their last name to a Chinese relative.
My ancestry results were wild! Take a look:
I was right all along! My French/German DNA makes up the most of my percentage, but a close second is my British/Irish heritage, which comes from my mom’s side of the family. I knew I was somewhat British but I had no idea it was that much. The 23andMe test can’t separate French and German or British and Irish, since they are so similar, but I’m pretty sure I’m mostly British and German, slightly French (I mean, look at my last name) and less Irish.
However, I was extremely surprised to see that I was Italian and Spanish (Iberian). I knew from my National Geography DNA test that I was probably slightly Scandinavian, but that also surprised me. And the big shocker of course is the West African! It’s a tiny percent, but something no one in my family knows anything about! My mom did know that someone on her side claimed a Native American relative, but to be honest, most Americans do. It’s cool to see that I actually am Native American, even if only slightly.
Our health reports were just as interesting. They check your DNA to see if you have variants for things like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Celiac Disease, etc. The only thing that came up for Junkyu as “Slightly Increased Risk” was Age-Related Macular Degeneration, which is basically when you lose your eyesight as you get older. Junkyu used to wear glasses until he got eye surgery to correct his vision. However, none of us are immune to old age!
I am at a higher risk than Junkyu, though, of getting Age-Related Macular Degeneration. My result was listed as “Increased Risk” and I had the two variant genes they tested. However, I’m obsessed with having good eyesight. I’ve never worn glasses and I eat more carrots than most people probably do because my dad told me it makes your eyes stronger (though it’s been proven that this is probably a myth). One of my biggest fears has always been going blind, but apparently people aren’t usually diagnosed with this until they are in their 60s or later.
Thankfully, Junkyu didn’t have anything else that was worrying, but he was typed as “Likely Intolerant to Lactose” which doesn’t surprise me – most Asians are! He doesn’t drink much milk or eat much cheese or ice cream, though, so he already stays away from lactose. When he does consume lactose, he doesn’t show many symptoms of lactose intolerance, though.
They also had really cool results for us, like Genetic Weight (Junkyu is predisposed to weigh more than average, I am predisposed to weigh less) Alcoholic Flush Reaction (neither of us flush after consuming alcohol) and Caffeine Consumption (both of us came out as “likely to consume less” which is totally true – neither of us drink coffee or many carbonated beverages).
One really interesting result was our earwax type. Asians generally have a dry, powdery earwax, and they clean it out using a small spoon or stick. However, most Europeans have wet, sticky earwax and are told not to try cleaning it out with anything. Junkyu definitely has the dry type and I have the wet type. We were both surprised to learn of each other’s earwax types when we were dating.
They also relate the dry earwax gene to the “less body odor” gene:
One thing I was excited to see is that they told me I likely have a lot of freckles! My grandmother on my mom’s side and my dad both have lots of freckles, and when I was little, I wanted some too. I started getting freckles in elementary school, and I’ve been a freckle-face ever since!
They tested so many cool things, as well, such as: likelihood of hair at birth, cleft chin, a widow’s peak, deep sleep, sleep movement, and muscle composition. Apparently, I have the genetic muscle composition found in elite power athletes! (And Junkyu does not.)
They also test your eye color, hair color, and taste bud genes, which are all really interesting. All the test results were so fun to look at and it was equally fun to compare results with my husband. I’d highly recommend this test to anyone, as it’s a lot of fun and the results are all online, so you can look at them any time or print them out. It’s a super easy process that lets you learn more about yourself and, potentially, your partner and your family members!
There’s also a section that tells you how many of your relatives took the test and where they live. I have a very close relative who took the test, and over a more thousand distant relatives who did! If you’d like to get your DNA results, go check out 23andMe.com.