Discussions May 5, 2018

What My Mom And I Have In Common

I’ve always had an incredibly close bond with my mom. As a single parent who worked full-time when I was young, she somehow managed to not only fill the role of one parent, but two. She was always there for us and beyond, creating the most loving, kind and nurturing home for my sister and me. Looking back now that I’m older, I know it must have been incredibly difficult and challenging, which makes me even more grateful for everything she’s sacrificed and provided for her children. She will always be my role model, my rock and my best friend. Late last year, she actually relocated to Charleston and we’ve been able to spend more time together than we have since I was in high school (the last time we lived in the same city). I now love being able to treat her and take care of her, to show just a small bit of my gratitude for her years and years of selflessness.

It’s always so interesting to see how traits are similar between family, or often different- it’s something we actually talk about often. A few weeks back my mom and I decided to do the 23andMe Health + Ancestry Service and it’s been so fun going through the results together! It was super quick and easy, and a really great way to dig deeper into our family history, reflect on old stories passed down from great grandparents and talk about positive differences.

What is 23andMe? 23andMe gets its name from the 23 pairs of chromosomes that make up human DNA. From what I understand about DNA, we can learn a good amount from it, so as more people complete DNA tests like 23andMe, more can be studied. The more that can be studied, the higher the potential for breakthroughs in connecting DNA to potential health risks. The test process is super easy. In fact, the hardest part was to remember not to eat or drink anything for 30 minutes before giving the saliva sample. You start by registering your kit in their easy-to-follow website, you produce your saliva sample, then you ship off your saliva sample in the pre-paid shipping box that 23andMe provides. We took the Health + Ancestry Service kits, and after mailing back, received our reports pretty quickly (processing takes approximately 6-8 weeks).

My ancestry composition report showed that, I have 44.6% British & Irish ancestry, which makes me appreciate my love for gardens, a proper cuppa tea and PBS Masterpiece shows.  The other big percentage of my ancestry is French & German, 27.4%. While the remainder of me is mostly different types of European, I was very surprised to find out that a distant relative was West African, most likely living there between 1720 and 1810. Some other fun things I learned about myself are that I have a genetic muscle composition common in elite power athletes (does this explain my freakishly strong thighs?). I wish someone would tell that to my body when I’m struggling to get through a workout class! I’m also likely to consume more caffeine than average, which the ladies at my favorite coffee shop can attest to, though it doesn’t say the likelihood of having a higher than normal almond milk to coffee ratio. Just looking at my own reports was interesting, but these reports become even more fun and informative as you add more family members. The dashboard allows you to build out and connect with your family and other relatives . The more extensive it gets, the more you can see how certain genes were passed down throughout the history of your family. There’s so much to explore once you get connected with family! You can even discover DNA relatives through their DNA Relative tool (so crazy!!!). You can also directly compare yourself to a family member, which I did with my Mom.

While my mom and I have so many similarities, since half my DNA comes from her, we also have some differences. My mom has more British & Irish Ancestry than I do , while I have a higher percentage of French & German ancestry. We had a laugh talking about my likelihood of having a unibrow, which after using the comparison tool, my mom was quick to point out “did not come from her”. If you’re looking for a unique gift for mother’s day this year, I highly recommend doing this together! If you’d like to order your own kit follow my link!

Thank you to 23andMe for sponsoring this post.

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