10 Things I Learned From My 23andMe Results (That May or May Not Be True)

Illustration for article titled 10 Things I Learned From My 23andMe Results (That May or May Not Be True)
Photo: Panama Jackson

Since I got my AncestryDNA results back, I decided I was going to check out the other services and find out as much information about me, myself and I as possible. I finally got my results back from 23andMe, and they’re interesting, to say the least. Full disclosure: I paid for this test out of my own pockets at the full price of $199 for the Health and Ancestry service.


For those interested, 23andMe goes to great lengths to tell you that you basically can’t hold them accountable for shit that shows up. It’s all just spades-level possibles. However, these niggas DO tell you that if you find out about your health characteristics (I did), you may have to divulge that information to insurance companies.

So let me get this right: The tests really don’t mean shit, but if the feds ask, I need to tell them what’s reported EVEN though the company doing the testing and reporting points out that you might, could but not necessarily be afflicted with anything and why are you doing this test anyway? Yeah, OK. I see you, boo.

Anyway, here are some interesting things I found out from my 23andMe Ancestry and Health report:

1. According to 23andMe, I’m not as African as I am according to AncestryDNA. Just barely, though. I went out and bought me a Cameroon jersey and everything, so I hope that holds. True story.

23andMe doesn’t give you the country breakdown like AncestryDNA—at least not for Africa. According to 23andMe, I’m 36 percent African, and Ancestry pegged me at 39 percent. The European percentage is still the same at about 60 percent. So what is the difference? 23andMe has included some Native American DNA that was unaccounted for in the previous test. Maybe my dad wasn’t making that up after all. We still have some questions in my family, though.

2. 23andMe is kind of rude. I don’t know how else to say this, but they are. So they provide information on a litany of wellness traits, or how your DNA may affect your body’s response to diet, exercise and sleep. Cool? Cool. One of those wellness indicators tests your “muscle composition.”


I may get flamed for this for eternity, but 23andMe quite rudely told me that my muscle composition was “uncommon in elite power athletes.” Nigga, I know. You could have said that nicer. It ain’t like I DON’T know this already. 23andMe might cost you insurance coverage and doesn’t give a fuck about esteem. Got it.

As a point of note, there are a few traits common to elite power athletes. About 95.2 percent of folks of African descent who have used 23andMe have those traits. It’s about 80 percent for colonizers. I feel so much better now (I don’t at all).


3. Thankfully, for all of the genetic health-risk variants they test for (cancer, late-onset Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, etc.), my DNA results detected no variants for any of them. Take that, life insurance company!

4. But in order to FIND that out, I had to read through slide after slide offering me resources for grief counseling; they even asked me if I really wanted to know, and that just because it might say you DO have variants doesn’t mean that you will end up with that particular affliction because other factors affect everything.


You know that feeling you get when you privately check your credit after you haven’t for a long time and the suspense kills you while you wait to find out if you are going to have to pay a deposit to get cable or a a cellphone? That’s what the labyrinth of pages I had to click through felt like. At some point I started to question if I really wanted to know.

5. 23andMe ran the jewels on genetics behind my appearance and senses. One of the results said that my ring finger is longer than my index finger. Who knew that was some genetic shit. Turns out it is. But it also said I’m not likely to have dimples, and I do have dimples. Can’t win them all.


6. Interestingly enough, and ENTIRELY rude and troll-like, 23andMe indicated that my skin pigmentation was “likely darker skin.” OK, boo! You did that! Except, when I clicked on the details, it was like, not really darker skin, just darker than white people. Fifty-nine percent of folks with my genetics have light-brown skin. I was so ready to start telling folks I was dark-skinned. I was about to get my Rachel Dolezal on and sell calendars or something.

7. Sixty percent of people with my genetics prefer salty over savory snacks. There’s some truth there; I don’t have a sweet tooth per se, but I do enjoy a good doughnut. But I’m not always looking for the pastries and cakes and whatnot. I also don’t like salty pretzels, but I do hate how fast-food establishments in the hood don’t put salt on fries. Sharing is caring.


8. Here’s a fun one: The combination of my genetics indicates that I’m not likely to have a bald spot.

Real cute, 23andMe. Real cute.

9. This one is interesting. Apparently, after eating asparagus, I’m able to smell the asparagus odor in my urine. And survey says that shit is true. It’s why I don’t eat asparagus because it’s just not right. OK! It’s just not.


10. According to my DNA, if I drink caffeine, I’m likely to overdo it, I’m a light sleeper and I’m lactose tolerant. Two out of three ain’t bad. I wouldn’t call myself lactose tolerant, though—I don’t have to drink Lactaid or take pills to eat ice cream, but one milkshake from Checkers and everybody’s paying for it, is all I’m saying!

All in all, I find my results interesting and useful, and I’m amazed at how they drilled down on some things. Learning about yourself is mad interesting. Especially knowing that smelling asparagus when I piss is genetic. Who knew?


Next up, African Ancestry, where we’ll see if I bought that Cameroonian jersey prematurely!

Panama Jackson is the Senior Editor of Very Smart Brothas. He's pretty fly for a light guy. You can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking all her brown liquors.


kidelo (i have a tiktok)

I had my results done by both Ancestry and 23 and Me, and thought it would be nice to gift my father a test too. He dragged me all over the place because he had zero Neanderthal DNA and I had a tiny bit (my mother is White), and I was like you MARRIED that Neanderthal, old man!