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It’s in the genes!: My review of the CircleDNA DNA test service

I saw it randomly as an advertisement on my Facebook feed and out of curiosity (and maybe boredom), I clicked to find out more. I’ve always been intrigued at the idea of using DNA material to unlock information about health and diseases, especially since I have relatives with hereditary diseases like cancer, diabetes and stroke.

While I still think there is something a tad Black Mirrorish about the idea of using DNA to organize society, (can DNA test for intelligence? If yes, should these results be used to determine access to universities and other privileges?) it cannot be denied that genetics can help us access information to benefit our lives. In my case, the information I wanted to learn most about was the health risks we might have managed to pass on to Jan Andres.

And as you’ll find below, was I glad I did!

So I bought two Premium kits for me and my son (husband didn’t want to lol), paid for it at the website, and waited for the kits to come. You can choose from around 3 options with various price points but I got the premium one because it seemed to be the most bang for the buck with 500 reports in 20 categories.

It only took a few days before I got the kits sent to me via FedEx (price is all-inclusive) and I opened the boxes immediately to to extract the DNA. It was a straightforward process of swiping the provided cotton swab in one’s inner cheek and then putting the swab in a vial with a solution. You then seal the vial and put it in the FedEx bag (also provided) with a pre-paid stamp to send back. In my case, I sent it back the same day through the fedex guy. You download an app and wait 3 weeks for the results.

The results came a bit earlier than the date on the app and I excitedly downloaded them. Will share some interesting things from our results.

For my son, apparently he’s 53% European and 47% — something that my European husband is chuffed about because, in his words, there’s more of “him” ( I carried that boy for 9 months, was bedridden for one month, and apparently that doesn’t matter?? 😫🤣).

We were also quite intrigued upon learning that his European side is predominantly Eastern European. Considering his Dad is Dutch, it must mean that their European ancestors migrated from Eastern Europe, close to Russia. According to his results and mine, I am also more East Asian than Malay — another bit of surprise.

The entire document they send you for the premium kit is quite a long PDF file with several categories, of which ancestry is only one. You get diet and lifestyle, behavior, health and disease, family planning, and drug response.

For behavior, for example, my results say I am not so agreeable. (I’m not sure I agree! Haha!)

I’m only going to post a small sample of our results to give an idea of the information that can be retrieved via DNA testing. (I will also not post any results on intelligence and aptitude, particularly of my son.)

I also found very helpful the portion on sports and fitness because they tell you what workouts are optimal. As you can see, my fatigue resistance is below average and I should go for high endurance workouts.

The disease risk was what was very important to me, and you get to that after a LOT of information — including mosquito bite risk (apparently I’m at high risk for mosquito bites. 🤷🏻‍♀️). They start you off with the common diseases. These are my common disease risks. I have 7 common disease risks out of hundreds of common diseases so I guess it’s not so bad.

Then they go to the big guys. Luckily, my son and I tested negative for cancer-mutating genes. Thirty five types of cancers were tested and we were negative for each one. But the test was quick to remind that there are non-genetic factors as well.

But here’s the biggest part — we learned something big and concerning in Jan Andres’s test results. We found out that he is a cystic fibrosis carrier. As you can imagine, it was quite distressing for us, but especially for my husband who had two relatives who passed away from cystic fibrosis.

The fact that the test was corroborated by real-world evidence (ie, the deaths in my husband’s family) spoke to its reliability, at least in the testing of disease risk. I frantically did Google research and found out that an individual only develops symptoms if BOTH parents are carriers. Since I tested negative for CF in my own results, it reassured us that my son will not develop symptoms. However, his future partner will need to be tested to ensure they don’t pass it to their kids.

So for that piece of information alone, the cost of the test was worth it.

Do I recommend the test? It depends. If you’re like me and want to be prepared for any contingency, like if you want to know if you have the cancer gene to maybe prepare financially for it in the future, then go ahead. Our DNA never changes so you can get your kids tested and it will be relevant information even two decades from now.

But I also have friends who say they aren’t emotionally prepared to be confronted with unpleasant information and prefer to live life unburdened — I totally get that too. I also know people who don’t want to know if their kids will be genetically good in Math, Languages or the performing arts because that encourages a fixed instead of growth mindset, and I kind of agree so yes, I took that information with a giant grain of salt. The reason I’m not even posting it here because I can’t risk my son seeing it 10 years from now.

Overall however, the health and disease aspect is immensely valuable for me.

For those with no kids, you can also get the test to help your lifestyle and wellness goals. I think the cheapest variant of the test gives you insights on workouts, nutrition and overall wellness and maybe that’s important too.

If you want to know more about CircleDNA and get a 30% discount on kits, you can use my referral code by clicking here. 🙂 https://ambassador.circledna.com/l/1JAYEBEKEMA71/

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