Via one of my cow-orkers, a company that can tell you all about yourself at a hitherto-impossible level of detail. All you have to do is spit:
23andMe is a retail DNA testing service providing information and tools for consumers to learn about and explore their DNA. We utilize the Illumina OmniExpress Plus Research Use Only Chip which has been customized for use in all of our products and services by 23andMe. All of the laboratory testing for 23andMe is done in a CLIA-certified laboratory.
How does 23andMe genotype my DNA?
Once the lab receives your sample, DNA is extracted from cheek cells in your saliva. Your DNA is then copied many times so that there is enough DNA to use for the genotyping step. Next, the DNA is cut into smaller, more manageable pieces. These DNA pieces are then applied to a DNA "chip." The DNA chip is a small glass slide with millions of microscopic beads on its surface. Attached to each bead are "probes"—bits of DNA complementary to sites in your genome where SNPs are located. There is a pair of probes for each SNP, corresponding to the two versions of each SNP. Because two complementary pieces of DNA stick together, your DNA sticks to whichever probes match your versions of a SNP.
The service claims to do the following:
- Identify health risks based on genetic propensity (and quantify how much of the risk is genetic);
- Tell you where your family came from, and when they got there, going back several thousand years;
- Find your long-lost cousins; and
- Send you updates as new research comes in.
My colleague paired this suggested site with this TED talk about the future of human evolution.
Remember when Gattaca was just an interesting fiction? Let's hope not all of Andrew Niccol's predictions come true...