Last month I spotted a coupon on Groupon (ha! whatta rhyme) for a DNA test for $20. Knowing that DNA tests are often expensive (as in the good ones will run you $300+) I decided to check it out.
The company is called ConnectMyDNA, and after checking out their website and facebook page, it appears that this is a fairly new DNA testing company that provides you with your results in the form of a “Gene Ring”, the visual equivalent of a DNA fingerprint.
Here is what they have to say about it:
“Using cutting-edge science, ConnectMyDNA ™ looks at a tiny fragment (the 1%) of your DNA that makes you unique and creates your very own personal DNA signature. We then compare it to a database of over half a million samples of DNA collected from all over the world, revealing the most amazing story and giving you a snap shot of where you fit in this new world.“
The test usually costs about $90, so it was quite the price cut. For only $20/ea, Mr.C & I could not resist! Afterall, I find genetics and genealogy to be particularly fascinating and Mr.C just started tracing his family tree – so this seemed like the perfect way to get our feet wet in the DNA testing world.
So, here’s how it works – we purchased the tests and they arrived in the mail in about 3 days. You collect cells from the inside of your cheek/mouth with a swab and then mail it in to their facility. They say that once they’ve received it it’ll take about a week to process. You use a code they give you to track your order and once the results are available they will appear on their website. Mr.C & I were a little disappointed because it took them about 3 weeks to process our order (and I had to contact their customer service twice!!) but we were both intrigued and pleased by the results.
I should note that this test is NOT an ancestry test. All this test provides you with is a visual representation of a specific 1% of your DNA and “connects” you to the populations reflected in your DNA. About 99.9% of human DNA is identical in every human being on the planet, except in the case of identical twins of course, so this one looks at the 1% that is unique to you. Their references are from “current population groups from over 60 countries and identify which country your DNA profile most closely connects to.” Since this test is not an ancestry test, the population groups with the most similarity to your DNA Profile merely represent an interesting correlation, not an indication of your heritage.
This is how the test differs from normal DNA/ancestry tests. Whereas genealogy focused DNA companies strive to find historic or ancient populations to test against, ConnectMyDNA uses current population groups. It looks at 13 specific places in your DNA and produce what it calls a DNA profile. (And upon further investigation – those specific locations, according to the Center for Genetics and Society, “are currently regarded to be “junk DNA” sites, home to non-coding genetic materials, which currently are good for nothing but identifying an individual. So basically, if you are looking to really get down and dirty with your genealogy, this is probably not the way to go (check out 23andMe if you are looking for a real reliable test to find out geneology and medical info).
However, with ConnectMyDNA you do get a neat graphic out of the deal that identifies you as an individual gene-wise! And Mr.C & I were interested (and it was cheap at the moment) so why not!
Here are our results:
**The Gene Ring (seen above) is a symbolic representation of the 13 positions of your DNA that we analyze at our laboratory (seen here in your Loci Values). The position of each green marker around the ring is in direct correlation to the numeric values in your Loci Values. These values are calculated using a standard STR DNA test. For each loci, there are number values that represent the loci passed onto you from your mother and father. If there is only one number present for a loci, your parents shared the same loci value that was passed onto you.
In the end, we were pleased with our results! Mr.C’s matches up well as he has mostly Irish heritage and mine was quite good as well, as I am Italian/Greek with some random European (Dutch? German?) mixed in.
So there you have it – a review our experience with ConnectMyDNA. Since, after all there is nothing quite like a nice pair of genes. :)