Tuesday, February 1, 2022

TellMeGen Review

New DNA companies with the option to upload raw DNA data from other companies keep popping up, and honestly, it's hard to keep track of them. But recently, I tested one called TellMeGen out of curiosity. They offer reports on disease risk, traits, wellness, ethnicity, and even offer matching with other testers, all for free. But you know the saying, "you get what you pay for"? That's a little bit true here.

I can't really complain about the health and traits reports, they are easy to understand but also include the technical data if you want to explore that. They include reports on a lot of common health issues people want to know about, like cancer and heart problems. They correctly identified me as probably lactose intolerant, and having decreased levels of vitamin D. There aren't many Monogenic Diseases included, but that may just be because I uploaded from another company, so the data may not be there for some reports. It's always best to test with the company when they offer their own kit, but I can't afford to be buying all the DNA tests available out there.

But what we're focusing on is the ethnicity report, and I have to say it was not very consistent with my known ancestry at all.

 French 43.7%
 Scandinavian 37.7%
 Turkish, Caucasian and Iranian 9.5%
 Bedouin 4%
 Egyptian, Levantine and Arab 3.2%
 Basque 1.1%
 Sardinian 0.5%
 Ashkenazi Jew 0.3%

The only location/population here that's accurate is Scandinavian. I do have Norwegian ancestry, but it is not this high - more like 12.5% (one great grandparent), and other companies usually peg it even lower than that, suggesting I may have gotten than expected from my Norwegian great grandfather. I'm guessing that my inflated Scandinavian percentage includes my British ancestry, knowing there is genetic overlap between them.

I do have some very early colonial French Huguenot ancestry too, from the 1600s - but it amounts to less than 1% of my tree, so I do not consider it relevant to DNA ethnicity reports. Probably, the high amounts in France are coming from my neighboring Germanic ancestry.

Adding up the Middle Eastern results, I get 16.7%, which I can only imagine is coming from my Italian ancestry, though why it didn't come up Italian, I can't say. But even adding the Basque and Sardinian results in for 18.3%, it still doesn't add up to my expected amount of Italian ancestry, which I've detailed here many times as being about 32%. 

Although the 0.3% Ashkenazi is small enough to just be noise, knowing how endogamous the Ashkenazi population is and how reliable results in this category normally are, and should be, getting any results at all in this population when I have no known Jewish ancestry and get no results for it at any other company, is just another point against TellMeGen.

In short, my results simply do not make much sense. While it's not totally unreasonable to get some results in neighboring regions, this is a bit extreme, and if I have to jump through hoops to make sense of my results, it's not a reliable report.

No comments:

Post a Comment