November 18th, 2018 by Nick Jacobs Leave a reply »


After putting this off for years, I sent my saliva to 23 and Me to find my health risks, my relatives and my ancestral origins. The information that I received via email yesterday was exciting, fun, and, thank goodness, it was mostly okay.

There are 1,001 relatives I didn’t know on my list, and one is impressive. That one is J. Craig Venter, the former president and chief scientific officer of Celera Genomics. Craig and Francis Collins are credited with the first mapping of the human genome. Up to this point, my only famous relatives were the ones who founded Uniontown, and cousin who owned “Gunsmoke’s” Long Branch Saloon.

The report revealed that I didn’t have the genes for Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, and that was a relief. There were no major genetic abnormalities that I’ve passed on to my kids or grandkids, and that was a relief, but there were some more interesting facts that cracked me up.

For example, I’m a tiny part Neanderthal. Today, that’s probably not something to put in your curriculum vitae, but it’s a minute enough portion that it explains some of my physical traits like straight hair and a little hair on my back. I know, TMI. Thankfully, the percentage was low enough that I’m not a knuckle dragger.

My very favorite part of the report came from the page entitled traits. This was something I hadn’t expected to find from a tablespoon of saliva. For example, the very first trait is that I have the ability to match musical pitch. Once again, what a relief. Especially since I had majored in music in college. That is a trait that I had not realized could be determined from genetics. So, when adults tell me they have absolutely no ability to match pitch, maybe it isn’t just because some music teacher didn’t want to deal with them.

Here come some of the funnier and more interesting ones that caught my attention. For example, I will not have a uni-brow. Oh, and how about this one? There are slightly higher odds that I will not like cilantro. After all these years, I finally understand.

For those of you who wonder about the unusual smell when you go to the bathroom after eating asparagus, it’s heredity! Apparently, some people don’t notice any difference, but for me? Post asparagus potty-time is clearly noticeable, memorable and well-defined.

I’m more likely not to be bitten by mosquitoes any more than the average human. I’d argue that one to my mosquito scratching grave, but hey, it’s not a perfect test.

How about this one? I’m likely to wake up around 6:58 a.m. every morning. OMG, that is soooo true. What the heck is that? I don’t want to wake up at 6:58 a.m., but regardless of the time zone, that’s my wake up time. OK, it’s not always my get-up time. When I ran hospitals and had to be at work by 6:30 a.m. for meetings, I’ll admit that sometimes I didn’t wake up during those meetings until almost 8, but who knew?

This one is a little gross, but I’m more likely to have wet vs. un-wet ear wax. Not that any of us needed or wanted to know that, but there it is. Hazel or brown eyes, no dimples, and detached ear lobes that I’m hoping won’t become too detached.

And here’s the one that’s been bugging me for years. When I get my picture taken, my hair will be photo bleached. That means I’ll look even more bald than I am. Photo bleached hair, a genetic trait? Who knew? 23 and Me, that’s who.




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