If you've ever wondered why you have red hair, or why everyone in your family is lactose intolerant, then you might find it interesting to trace your family's history with a genetic testing kit such as 23andMe. These types of tests can help you uncover the genetic secrets of your past. Or, at the very least, tell you a bit more about the genetic traits associated with your ancestry.
"Essentially what happens is you receive a kit, and it is a 'spit kit,' so you just provide a saliva sample. You mail that off to our labs and the lab will analyze the DNA that’s found in your saliva," Alisa Lehman, Senior Product Scientist at 23andMe, tells Bustle. And that's when the fun begins.
"When we get that DNA information back, what we can do is analyze it and see how that might link and predispose you to certain traits," Lehman says. "What we have currently in the product is mostly the physical traits, maybe some that might be considered behavioral. So, for example, we have trigger points that tell you whether you’re more likely to have either blue eyes versus brown eyes, a cleft chin versus not having a cleft chin. We also have ... a sweet versus salty report. That report tells you basically whether you’re predisposed to prefer sweet snacks versus salty snacks."
It's important to remember, though, that just because your ancestors were from a certain part of the world doesn't mean you're guaranteed to have the traits common to that region. "We cover a lot of those [genetic] variants, but we can never capture everything," Lehman says. "Just because you’re more likely to have something doesn’t necessarily mean that it’ll be true for you. So just because you’re more likely to have a cleft chin or more likely to be lactose intolerant doesn’t necessarily mean that’s the way it’s going to work out." Here are a few behavioral and physical traits associated with certain parts of the world, according to 23andMe.