Spit and ye shall receive

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By Vicki Scott

Earlier this week my husband Alan and I received a 23 and Me ancestry kit that tests ancestry and genetic traits as well as health risks. Years ago, we discovered our heritage through Ancestry.com, which was when I found no trace of native American my genetic makeup. Later on, I was told to get another more accurate test since family told me that I had Cherokee blood. That’s when I researched 23 and Me, which tests for many carrier traits, two of which are important to me. The BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are associated with breast cancer and the apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene associated with Alzheimer’s. From my understanding, 23 and Me tests for both traits.

Before purchasing the kit, no one I knew had used 23 and me. Most everyone was against me taking the test. My daughter Eva told me to act like I took the test and take preventive measures for my health anyway. She took a food allergy test and said it was money well spent. 23 and Me does food sensitivity as well. With the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, it was cheaper than Eva’s test, and I will find out other things as well. Alan heard and endured most of my decision-making process, bless his heart. He even offered to take a test with me.

When our tests arrived, we registered and downloaded our 23 and Me apps. I do not know what I did, but Alan took about 30 minutes answering questions, which was perfect for him. We were not to eat or drink for 30 minutes before spitting in a tube. He finished, spit, popped the lid, shook the tube, sealed it, put in the box to mail and sealed the box. His process took about 30 seconds.

Meanwhile, my process took longer for some reason. I was still answering questions, and an hour later it took me 30 minutes to produce enough spit to fill the tube to the appropriate line. During this time, Alan was free to direct my path and critique when he felt it was necessary. Nice guy. I do not know if I did the test correctly.

We mailed our boxes and are waiting to see what happens. Alan said that it does not mean anything. It will not say we are going to get anything. It is not a diagnosis. He fussed through the questions and answered some of them on the phone that it was up to them to find out the answer. It just amazes me what one can find out about oneself just from spit. I wonder if I’m still 86 percent British.

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