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'A Waste of Time and Money'

According to Gizmodo's Elly Hart, "23andMe genetic testing is a waste of time and money." Hart says that she chose to purchase the direct-to-consumer genetic testing firm's services last year, when it offered a discount for Gizmodo readers. Now, she says, "I kinda wish I hadn't." (This week, 23andMe announced an early "DNA Day" sale. For a limited time, customers can either order its Personal Genome Service for $0 down plus a 12-month subscription commitment of $9 per month or the testing service without a subscription for $399.)

Hart was disappointed by both her risk and ancestry results. According to her disease risk report, Hart is 1.21-times more likely to suffer a heart attack than the average person. However, upon accessing the detailed disease risk report, she found out that the heart attack risk "data is based on the assumption that I am of European ancestry, and between the ages of 40 and 79." Hart describes herself as a "twenty-something woman with mostly Asian ancestry." Because of that, Hart says her ancestry results were a bit of a letdown. "23andMe also failed to adequately inform me that there's no way to trace my paternal line because it's 'determined by the genetics of the Y-chromosome.' Maybe this is common sense to some, but it isn't to me." As such, "if I really want to know my paternal ancestry, I would have to get my dad, brother or paternal uncle to do the test and cough up more money," Hart says. As a result of her experience, Hart suggests that "unless you have a specific reason behind your motivation, don't bother with genetic testing services, especially if you're not of European ancestry and under the age of 30. … The money is probably better spent towards a gym membership, more fruits and vegetables and health/life insurance."

The Scan

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