23andme for adoptees

There has been plenty of coverage of [23andme](http://23andme.com), lately[^1]. Like any self-respecting nerd (I took three years of biology in high school) I had my own DNA analyzed. If you’re not aware: you send a spit sample which is reviewed for known DNA markers to help identify traits, your propensity towards certain diseases and ancestry.

While I agree the ability to learn more about diseases (as an individual and the scientific community at-large) is an amazing step, I’m also interested in learning what was previously dismissed as un-knowable. Having been adopted at birth, I’ve only had a superficial understanding of my ancestry. Not knowing my biological family, I’ve had no insight into any history of diseases or traits, either.

For many people, they can say “grandma had Parkinson’s, and her sister did, too” and understand there is a chance they’re pre-disposed to this disease. Or people can look at their father and say “well that’s where these freckles came from.” Though incidental, these are experiences and conversations I’ve never had throughout my life.

It’s interesting to me how 23andme has closed a gap that some might not even be aware of. It’s helped shift knowledge back to the individual.

[^1]: I always point people to the WIRED article about [Sergey Brin’s search for a Parkinson’s disease cure](http://www.wired.com/magazine/2010/06/ff_sergeys_search/).