Healthy Living: 23andMe and Portia's Ancestry Search

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By NewsCentral StaffPortia Lake


Updated: Mon, 06 May 2013 01:57:43 EST

Your DNA determines much of who you are and how you live. In this Healthy Living, NewsCentral's Portia Lake takes you on her personal journey to uncover her ancestry and what her DNA says about her health. With modern science, you can now look not only into the future, but into the past. With this simple test you can now learn and share your genetic secrets with a saliva sample. 23andMe, a gene-testing company backed by Google Inc. uses your saliva to identify and interpret 1.1 million genetic markers to determine your ancestry and estimate your predisposition for more than 200 traits and conditions including your odds of developing cancer, having a heart attack or a stroke and going blind. Senior Director of Research Dr. Joanna Mountain says it is modern technology accessible to all for the first time. “The technology has made it possible to give people access to a million points in their genome, and that was certainly not possible five years ago. “ NewsCentral's Chief Meteorologist Jeff Cox and Portia Lake took the test to unlock the secrets of our past and the future. Less than a month later, we received our results. For me (Portia), I was able to paint a picture of her ancestry. Portia Lake: 76% of my DNA comes from Africa, specifically the Western part of the continent. Seventeen percent of my heritage is European and six percent is Asian. “You have ancestry from different continental regions and African Americans very often have 20 of ancestry coming from Europe, sometimes more, sometimes less. In your case, a quarter of your ancestors trace to places outside of Africa, and that is part of the fascinating history of African Americans. “ The European part of my ancestry comes from great grandparents who lived on a plantation in Greenville and Spartanburg, South Carolina. My grandfather's uncle, who had been passing as white, was able to buy more than 600 acres of land in Holly Springs, Mississippi with the financial assistance of a relative seventeen years after the end of slavery. Portia Lake: My 23andMe results also included the latest research on my proclivity to certain diseases and other genetic traits. My risk of breast cancer is higher than average, but i have a much lower chance of getting Alzheimer's Disease or Parkinson's disease. I am genetically lactose intolerant and carry a Lower than average risk for type two diabetes and Rheumatoid Arthritis. My results show that I am in good genetic health, and that I am not a carrier for any major disease. Mountain says that is valuable information for those concerned about their health. " “You can also get information on all kind of things, your response to drugs, it basically puts you ahead of the current medical system, because you can get information that is not yet incorporated into current practices. it will someday, but it is really cutting edge. “ 23andMe results are delivered online and you can choose to connect and share results with new relatives or keep them private. For More Information, visit In our Wednesday 5:30 and 10 pm newscasts we offered one hundred lucky viewers the chance to apply for free complimentary 23andme testing. All those slots quickly filled. The kits are regularly $99 and $207 but all NewsCentral viewers will now be offered an additional discount through Christmas. For More Information, visit

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