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The genotyping test offered by 23andMe can reveal genetic quirks ranging from earwax type to Alzheimer's disease risk, notes Elizabeth Murphy at Fast Company. Murphy writes under a pseudonym as she recounts getting herself and her daughter tested by 23andMe.

For herself, Murphy learns that she is at slightly elevated risk for a few diseases, though a genetic counselor warns her that a 10 percent increased risk for a disease like diabetes may not amount to much. "Increasing your risk 10% is a completely useless thing to find out, because the amount that variants contribute relative to lifestyle, diet, exercise, and weight is tiny," Laura Hercher, a genetic counselor, tells her.

However, for her daughter, Murphy discovers a more serious susceptibility; her daughter carries two copies of the APOE-4 variant, which is linked to Alzheimer's disease risk. "A vanishingly small number of [23andMe's] results fall into that category where you can say, 'Oh, all right, I'm going to get this disease or I'm not,'" James Evans from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill says. "The APOE-4 approaches that."

Anne Wojcicki, the 23andMe CEO, tells Murphy that she now has a chance to be proactive, engage her daughter, and focus her more on exercise, math, and brain games.

"Everyone's going to die and everyone's going to get sick at some point," Wojcicki says at the start of the piece, talking about her own family. "But I do believe that there are choices you can make in life that will make you as healthy as possible."

HT: Blaine Bettinger at the Genetic Genealogist