Interpreting 23andme data (mostly for free)

Introduction

23andme is a personal genome mapping service. You send them your saliva sample and get a (partial) map of your SNP genotype. We have tried the service and the whole experience was very smooth and satisfactory. The results took about 10 weeks (compared to standard 6-8 weeks), but we received a notification email apologizing for the delays.

Once your profile is analysed you get on-line access to your reports. Unfortunately, after a FDA ruling, 23andme can’t provide health related information to its customers. Therefore you only get basic information, your maternal haploid group (parental too if you are male) and a few other ancestry related test.

I would not recommend purchasing the test just for this information. Fortunately, you can download your raw data for further interpretation.

So thanks to FDA’s infinite wisdom, instead of having your genetic data in a single place you end up sending it nilly-willy to dozens of web services trusting their security and ToS agreements. Sounds like a good plan.

Most services can either directly connect to your 23andme profile or you can upload your data set (just read the instructions, some want the zip file and some the plain txt file).

Some of the services are paid, many are free. Here is a quick rundown/mini-reviews. The services are ordered in a rough, subjective utility.

Obviously – all disclaimers related to health data, security and privacy apply. You are on your own responsibility.

Codegen.eu: free

codegen is a free service and I recommend it as the first station. You get a quite exhausting report with human readable annotations thoroughly linked to SNPedia.

The focus is mostly health related – so this is your main station for all the “good” news about your cancer, diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer’s/Parkison etc. risk factors.

The site is in beta, so not everything is quite top-notch. But from the services we tried this was the best one.

Foundmyfitness: free

Rhonda Patrick is one of the most helpful people on the planet. Her nutritional / nutrigenomic reports are worth to read and the podcast is also highly recommended. She also launched a free 23andme interpretation service with a focus on nutrigenics (it seems micronutrient and fat metabolism are currently covered in most detail). The services is in early phase, but already now is very useful. You’ll also receive some nutrition advice along the interpretation.

Geneticgenie: free

Geneticgenie provides a free methylation and detox report. The methylation report is quite detailed, but the detox one is just a table with no interpretation. For now I only saved the result, because they will require a bit more work.

There is a significant overlap here with foundmyfitness and livewello (below).

Interpretome: free

Interpretome is a free educational javascript application (so – for a change – your data won’t leave your computer). The focus are educational applications, but there are interesting diagnostics for type 2 diabetes and the “longevity gene”.

There are also several specialized pharmacology related screens – potentially interesting if you are taking the pharmaceuticals listed here. For example, they provide a Warfarin dosage calculator based on your health data (age/health/weight) plus your genetic profile. This gives a taste of the near-future, genetically personalized medicine.

livewello: 20$ one time payment

livewello was the only commercial service we tested. The fee is 20$ one time, for a battery of reports or a monthly subscription for personalized health report emails. The focus is again nutrition.

Compared with the other services the design of the pages is nicer, but I found the reports lacking – there was large overlap esp. with foundmyfitness and geneticgenie, yet a few important markers were missing at livewello.

It’s likely that the service will improve with time, but at the moment I’d say it is not really worth the investment.

Untested

I’ve researched a few other services, but didn’t test them yet. Here are my research notes.

Promethease: 9$ one time payment

For a one time payment of 9$ you seem to get a very detailed interactive report from Promethease. Based on the preview video, its academic pedigree is very obvious – the tool seems to be quite technical and very detailed.

I’m fairly certain that I’ll get this report in the future, but for now decided to wait a bit, since I have quite a lot to chew on already.
But definitely have a look.

Enlis: free

I also wanted a nice visualization tool for the data and preliminarily Enlis seems to fit the bill. This is mostly for educational purposes, not for direct interpretation per se.

I haven’t tried it yet, and I plan to explore a few more options. The downside here is again the need to upload the data. There has to a local vizualization tool, right?

Atheligen

Atheligen does “athletic profiling”. They have their own kit (really expensive), but can also take 23andme data. I haven’t tried the service yet, because the page didn’t work for me. Will try later.

Summary

I definitely recommend 23andme. I think we received some important information for the future. The situation with the interpretation is a bit unfortunate and takes a bit more work, but it is also educational and you can learn a lot.

As always – please remember the statistical nature of the data and the non-genetic factors!

Do you have any favorite services or tool?

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9 thoughts on “Interpreting 23andme data (mostly for free)

  1. Pingback: Interpreting 23andme data (mostly for free) – My Imaginary Enemy

  2. I would also suggest Strategene and nutritiongenome, though I haven’t seen the free ones you list yet. I have been told of livewellow and promethease by fellow physicians, I haven’t used them yet for comparison, but the nutritiongenome seems to be the most useful ($99) and more understandalbe than Strategene and be more functionally useful than GeneticGenie – even when put together with Amy Yasko’s book. The issue with all of them as that they are basing the info off your raw DNA, the blueprint, and not all the epigenetic changes you have added on over your and your parent’s lifetimes. I have yet to look into it, but I have been told the best at putting both these together (DNA blueprint and epigenetic changes) is another group (which I thought i had the name of with me, but don’t – I will have to find it at home and remember to update my reply.

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