I’ve had my eye on 23andme for over a year. The idea of having someone look at my genes and predict the future is amazing to me. Unfortunately the price is also prohibitively expensive… Unless you find one of their discounts running, then it’s $991.
The last time I’d seen a discount available was back in May and I ended up being just a few days too late to take advantage of it, so when I saw that Gizmodo was running a Thanksgiving discount I immediately jumped on it.
Fast forward a few days and the kit arrived in the mail. I’d watched the video on the Gizmodo post and knew basically what you had to do, but it was particularly exciting to tear open my own box and find my very own spit tube and hazardous materials sample bag, complete with padded USPS mailer to return it in.
There was one problem, though… the instructions clearly said you can’t eat or drink within 30 minutes of giving your saliva sample. As soon as I get up in the morning I drink a pot of coffee. When I’m done with that, I try to re-hydrate by drinking water all afternoon. 30 minutes without drinking anything? That was going to be tough…
It took me a few days to orchestrate my schedule properly. After downing my afternoon Starbucks2 in record time I brushed my teeth (you know, just to be sure) and set a timer on my iPhone for 30 minutes so I knew the first instant I could start spitting.
The instructions also said that it took the average person between 2 and 5 minutes to give a sufficient amount of saliva… I started spitting thinking there was no way that’d be true. I mean, a few good loogies and you’re done, right? Well, it’s amazing how little saliva actually ends up in each spit - by volume it’s got to be at least 75% bubbles. Getting a decent sample size takes forever, especially when your mouth starts to get exponentially more dry towards the end. If you’re doing a similar test you can easily expect to spend that full 5 minutes spitting.
After registering my kit online, per the instructions in about 5 different places, it was also pretty cool to look through all the surveys they ask you to participate in. Things like your face structure, what allergies you have, joints you can bend certain ways… All things I’d never think of asking to link physical traits to specific gene sequences.
I shipped it back yesterday in its pre-paid padded envelope. Remember to grab the electronic tracking number off the label so you can track its progress back before you drop it in the mailbox. Now we wait what they’re currently estimating on their website (no doubt due to the Gizmodo sale) to be 6 to 8 weeks for the analysis to be performed.