Sparklinglala: Food|Culture|Travel|Tech Blog by Lala Castro - What I Discovered From 23andMe - DNA Genetic Testing
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What I Discovered From 23andMe – DNA Genetic Testing

I know it’s been a while, but this past Valentine’s Day instead of getting more kitchen tools, gadgets or flowers, I asked the boyfriend for 23andMe, a personalized genetic service that helps you understand what your 23 pairs of chromosomes – your DNA.

The DNA genetic test gives information on everything from how much DNA you share with our Neanderthal ancestors, but also to your family, your ancestry, your traits to even how much caffeine you like to consume.  The service offers two options, the Ancestry Service or the Health + Ancestry Service.  So it all depends on how deep you want to know more about yourself or family.

Why I Took The Test

I’ve been interested in 23andMe ever since I watched a YouTube ad featuring many random people who took the test and discovered they were something more than what they thought they were.  It made me think, where do my ancestors come from?  I was born in Mexico, so I know I am Mexican, my parents are Mexican, my grandparents are Mexican, but that’s where it ends.  I know nothing more beyond that.

Obviously there’s so much history in our Mexican culture, especially when the Spaniards conquered and eventually overtook the society of Aztecs and Mayans. In fact, if we look into Mexico’s history, the country was first populated with Mesoamericans over 13,000 years ago before being conquered and colonized by the Spanish in the 16th century. One of the important aspects of Mesoamerican civilizations was their development of a form of writing, so that Mexico’s written history stretches back hundreds of years before the arrival of the Spaniards in 1519.

Wikipedia mentions the following:

From 1521, the Spanish conquest of the Aztec empire incorporated the region into the Spanish Empire, with New Spain its colonial era name and Mexico City the center of colonial rule. It was built on the ruins of the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan and became the capital of New Spain. During the colonial era, Mexico’s long-established Mesoamerican civilizations mixed with European culture. Perhaps nothing better represents this hybrid background than Mexico’s languages: the country is both the most populous Spanish-speaking country in the world and home to the largest number of Native American language speakers in North America. For three centuries Mexico was part of the Spanish Empire, whose legacy is a country with a Spanish-speaking, Catholic and largely Western culture.

So I know that majority of our ancestry would come from Spain, but what if there was more that I didn’t know?  What if I also carry other types of European genes?

The Results Are In

So after the boyfriend ordered the kit from 23andme, it arrived pretty quickly.  You basically spit in a tube and mail it back to the lab in a pre-paid package. Once they received my sample and they analyze it, my genetic reports were available in my online account. They notified me by email that they were ready.  I do have to say that it did take a while before I was notified, about 8 weeks.

So the moment of truth, what are the results?

So as you can see, I have over five generations of Native American, Iberian and what a surprise, North African.  The Native American and Iberian makes sense, since that explains the history of the Mexican culture, but definitely surprised by African ancestry.

The results also explain the breakdown of 51% East Asian & Native American.  What you won’t see is the breakdown of the type of Native American one is.  So if you think you’re Northern Native American vs Central or South, this DNA report will not tell you that.

As for the 40% European side, the report will breakdown the potential regions.  For me, it turns out that I am more than a Spaniard (31.9% to be exact).  I’m also 2.3% Northwestern European and 1.1% Ashkenazi Jewish.

Now for the surprising part, the 3.4% Sub-Saharan African result. Who knew?!  It doesn’t really indicate where from Africa, but it was a result I wasn’t expecting.  What an amazing surprise!  I’m not a history geek, but I’m sure there’s some type of connection with the Spaniards.  Those nomads traveled everywhere!

This experience has made me wonder of my ancestors journey and history, how they all connected once upon a time.  If only there was a time capsule where you could travel back into time and see how it all started.  In the meantime, 23andme gave me a little peek of that history and to me, it’s all beautiful.

If you’re curious about your DNA like I was, here’s where you can order yours: 23andme.com.

Make sure to share your results with me!  The best friend already did hers and it’s amazing to see how close we really are. Now it’s the boyfriends turn!  I’m going to order one for his birthday. Shhhh….

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About the author

Hi, my name is Lala Castro and I take pictures of my food and travel adventures (also, my friends pitch in). I love different foods from all over the world and enjoy it with a glass of wine. All though I'm a foodie, I'm also a passionate geek at heart. In fact, sometimes you'll see me covering tech segments on Univision. Follow me on Instagram if you want to know more about me: @sparklinglala

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