Lifestyle

DNA circa 2017 now as easy as your ABC

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July 15, 2017

Riverine Herald editor Andrew Mole with his DNA sample. Photo by Luke Hemer.

THERE’S no turning back now.

It might not have been as dramatic as having someone run a cotton bud around the inside of my cheek in a police interrogation room, or as frightening as a dirty great needle stuck in my arm in pursuit of some of my reluctant blood.

In fact when we realised I had to dribble saliva into a tube photographer Luke Hemer refused to have anything to do with it.

So in the end you get to see me slipping a pre-sealed tube of spit into its carry case for postage.

And it has been posted, so there is no turning back.

I am about to find out exactly what I am made of. No, I don’t have to step into the boxing ring, or get a seat on Chaser.

This test, with ancestryDNA.com.au will definitely prove what I really am – it will produce a DNA profile for me and then crossmatch it with the massive database at its disposal (the most recent count makes that more than 20 billion historical records).

Its parent, ancestry.com.au has more than two million paying subscribers and user-generated content tallies to more than 90 million family trees and subscribers have added more than 200 million photographs, scanned documents, and written stories.

If there are any warts, wankers or weirdos hanging around on my family tree (and I am going to assume even at this early stage there will be) the truth is about to come out.

I ticked all the appropriate authorities when activating my test on the ancestry.com.au website and no, just like you I did not scroll through pages of terms and conditions.

Then it was time to open the discreet package that had arrived that morning and I filled the little tube – to the black wavy line as instructed – with the very essence of my genome. Bearing in mind you cannot eat, drink, smoke or chew gum for 30 minutes before producing your sample.

And it was slightly less complicated than the government provided bowel screening test which also gets home delivered.

Then you screw on the top and the magical blue liquid mixes with your sample, you shake vigorously for five seconds then pop it in the return box, pop that in the letterbox and wait.

To save you the trouble I have checked out the key FAQs on your behalf and those answers are:

■AncestryDNA is an autosomal DNA test that examines your unique genetic code for clues about your family history. The company then uses genetic science to determine family relationships within its database of AncestryDNA members and your ethnicity origins. AncestryDNA extracts your DNA from a small saliva sample.

■The AncestryDNA test analyses your entire genome – all 23 pairs of chromosomes – as opposed to only looking at the Y-chromosome or mitochondrial DNA (which makes other types of tests gender specific). Your autosomal chromosomes carry genetic information from both your parents that’s passed down through the generations.

Hope that’s clarified things for you as much as it did for me.

But I won’t sweat the details, I’m an executive summary kind of guy and hope that’s what will be coming when the email bobs up and tells me my DNA details are available online.

And unless I have had to skip the country or (in the most anticipated but unlikely of scenarios) have discovered I am a long lost family member with a massive inheritance waiting, I will get back to you in the next few weeks with the goodies.

It takes six to eight weeks to get it all back (not 20 minutes a la Law & Order) so stay tuned and we can all share the mystery at the same time.

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