Tuesday, November 25, 2008

i heard it through the grapevine

while watching diggnation (a podcast on news related items) last week, they brought up one of their sponsors which is this company called 23 and me. it sounded like a really cool idea so i looked into it. basically, it's a genetics company trying to help others learn more about themselves through dna. when you sign up for a kit ($399), they send you a package and you spit in this tube and send it back to them. then they analyze the dna in the saliva and send you a report (online) telling you all sorts of information including:
  • if you have genetic markers for certain diseases such as diabetes, prostate cancer, breast cancer, bitter taste perception, parkinsons disease, etc. you can find the whole list here.
  • in addition, it gives you information on your ancestry - which areas of the world your dna comes from and where in the US are a lot of people with similar dna.
  • another thing that they can do is if other people you know sign up, you can all link your accounts and share information (the high level ancestral stuff). it sounded really really cool so my friend elaine and i were looking into it.
this is getting more popular because new technology makes it cheaper for them to analyze dna. before, the tests used to cost about 1000 bucks. i talked to some people, however, who thought it was a horrible idea "a scam" and "do the best with what you know." i disagree. i think it would be really interesting to know all that information. what do you think?

in similar news, i decided while i was in berlin to try and trace my family history back to germany (erdmann is a deutsch name meaning man of earth - how ironic). i sent an email in english to this organization that helps people trace their german ancestry and this woman wrote back in german. i get the gist of the email "without a name, it's not a fun search to look for people" so i have to find more about my greats and get back to her. i found Erdmanstrasse in Berlin (Erdmann Street) but forgot to go take a picture of it while i was there - just another reason to go back! it seems i'm all about the past these days...


  1. hmm

    DNA stuff is interesting, but some folks always want to use info that points to a disposition FOR something as a bonafide REASON for behaviours A, B, C. so i hate mostly.

  2. ok... but would you want to know if you were genetically pre-disposed to get say... prostate cancer?

  3. i heard it through the grapevine was not originated by the California Raisins (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_California_Raisins), but was made most famous by marvin gaye.