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*The Hereditary Fructose Intolerance carrier status test is indicated for the detection of 3 variants in the ALDOB gene and is most relevant for people of European descent. The test can be used to determine carrier status in adults, but cannot determine if you have two copies of the genetic variants. The test is not intended to diagnose a disease, or tell you anything about your risk for developing a disease in the future. On their own, carrier status tests are not intended to tell you anything about the health of your fetus, or your newborn child’s risk of developing a particular disease later in life.

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Everyone has a story. It's as unique as your DNA.

These are the stories of 23andMe customers. Your experience may be different since everybody's DNA is unique.

Winnie Smith

76-year-old woman finds her birth family after a 40-year search

When Winnie was born, she was given up for adoption by her 17 year old birth mother and adopted by loving and nurturing parents. Her large adoptive family provided her with a wonderful life and many opportunities for which she has always been most grateful. But Winnie felt that a piece of her life puzzle was missing, that of her genetic roots. Her birth mother went on to marry and raise a son and three daughters, but took the secret of her first born daughter, Winnie, to her grave.

After a geneticist/genealogist recommended that Winnie test with 23andMe, she was matched immediately with a genetic relative who turned out to be her half nephew. Additional testing by 23andMe confirmed that his mother was Winnie's half sister. Winnie had found her birth family at last.

Winnie's biological family never knew about her, but following a tearful meeting, have welcomed her into their family with total love and acceptance. Her newly found family has provided her with answers about her birth mother's life and her genetic family history.

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Greg Parekh

Father's carrier status* proves to be a clue to son's health condition

When Greg and his wife introduced solid foods to their third child, they noticed he would push away anything with fruit in it. As he grew, his reaction was not just to fruits, but anything sweet. He even threw up when he had cough syrup. Greg and his wife spoke with doctors, but all of them seemed to shrug off their concerns.

Greg was personally interested in genetic testing and decided to do 23andMe for himself. Right away Greg noticed something in his reports. It said he was a carrier of a variant for Hereditary Fructose Intolerance.* This is a rare disorder that leaves a person without the protein needed to break down fructose (a sugar found in fruits and other sweetened foods). Undetected, it can cause liver and kidney damage.

"It was like a light bulb clicked. I thought, "I've got to get his doctor to test him." His son was 7 at the time. With testing, doctors diagnosed Greg's son with the disease. The couple's other children did not inherit the condition. The diagnosis has meant a vast overhaul of their son's diet, but Greg is relieved to have found out what was wrong with him. "We're just happy that he got diagnosed a lot younger than people normally do."

*Our tests can be used to determine carrier status in adults, but cannot determine if you have two copies of the genetic variant. Each test is most relevant for people of certain ethnicities. The tests are not intended to diagnose a disease, or tell you anything about your risk for developing a disease in the future. On their own, carrier status tests are not intended to tell you anything about the health of your fetus, or your newborn child’s risk of developing a particular disease later in life. The Hereditary Fructose Intolerance carrier status test is indicated for the detection of 3 variants in the ALDOB gene and is most relevant for people of European descent.

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Erika and Kristin Beers

Twins suspected they were identical - they were right

"When my sister and I were born, the obstetrician told my mother that we were fraternal twins because we had separate amniotic sacs and placentas." So the Beers sisters were brought up as fraternal twins. Their mom worked hard to make sure they could develop separate personalities—they were never in the same classes as children and were never dressed alike.

But Kristin always felt deep in her heart that they were identical. They looked so much alike that it was hard even for them to tell themselves apart in photos. So after many years of wanting to find out the truth—but a little nervous too—they both did a 23andMe test. Their results confirmed their suspicions, "you have an identical sister."

"For the first time in forever I was speechless. Being a twin is unlike a typical sibling relationship. You share a womb. It is a bond that is difficult to describe. It is your identity." What Kristin felt all along—a deeper connection beyond the aesthetics—was true. They are thrilled to share 100% of their genome.

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Alix Han

Understanding food intolerance helps a mom make a change

As far back as Alix can remember, she's had stomach pain. "When I was little, my father would make me drink cow's milk even though I would complain of pain immediately after." He was proud that he could afford to provide milk in Taiwan in the 1970s.

At age 40, Alix decided to look into genetic testing to see what she could learn about herself. She was working fulltime and raising a toddler, and she wanted to be healthier. After a friend recommended 23andMe, Alix saw that she had a genetic likelihood of being lactose intolerant—everything made sense.

After consulting with her doctor, she is now on a lactose-free diet, and Alix feels healthy and energetic, and is enjoying life with her young daughter and husband again.

Disclaimer:
23andMe is not intended to diagnose any health condition. You should consult a healthcare professional before making any major lifestyle changes.

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Megan Runge

Adoptee finds out about her background after 19 years

As an adoptee, Megan didn't know anything about her biological parents or family history. For years she would get questions about her background—questions she couldn't answer. "I wanted to know about ME." So Megan ordered a 23andMe kit.

"I counted down the days until the reports came in, and when they did I almost cried," said Megan. "After 19 years of not knowing anything, and then just from spitting in a tube, I have a pile of information all about me."

In the beginning, she would look at her reports every day, multiple times a day. "When I was younger everyone just assumed I was Hispanic." But now Megan knows she is part Irish, part Scandinavian and part African. And she has some Native American ancestry as well. When asked how she felt about finding out her genetic makeup, she said, "I thought it was so cool."

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Francisco Caravayo

Raised Christian, man uncovers family's Jewish ancestry

Francisco grew up in a Latino neighborhood. His family was Portuguese and attended a Lutheran church, but something about his culture never felt quite right to him. His grandmother lit candles on Friday nights, she told him that dairy and meat didn't mix, and she told him to avoid shellfish. Christian holidays like Easter and Christmas were not celebrated with joy, but with obligation. Even when his father passed away, there were no clergy present at the burial, and no Christian iconography was put on the tombstone.

In college, Francisco had a discussion with a Portuguese professor about his last name. His surname was taken by Portuguese Jews, many of whom had been forced to convert to Catholicism during the Inquisition.

With 23andMe, Francisco found his paternal haplogroup was shared with 20 to 30% of Sephardic Jews. He traced his ancestors' migration, and he found his family escaped persecution by hiding their religion.

"I finally had evidence," he said. Francisco celebrates his new-found cultural identity.

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Daniella Romano

Reporter discovers a new bond with her dad before he dies

Daniella, host of a local TV show in NYC, purchased a 23andMe kit for a story she was doing on genealogy and ancestry. Daniella also purchased her father a kit. She knew her dad would be fascinated by it since he was a chemical engineer, and she thought it would be a good diversion from the treatment he was undergoing for terminal cancer.

Together, they linked their accounts and compared their DNA—finding commonalities and differences. The experience prompted her dad to tell Daniella in detail about his childhood and family ancestors and even to bring out an old slide show of the extended family. It was a shared experience between a father and daughter, one that helped them get to know each other in a new way.

Daniella's dad passed away a couple of months later. "I'm so glad to have shared this experience with him, and hopefully it gave him some greater sense of the context of his life."

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Jonnie Ramsey Brown

Bringing family together through DNA

Jonnie's family moved from Mississippi to Detroit in the mid-1930's seeking a better life. As her dad told her "life was not very pleasant at the time for a black man in the South." Then the family moved to Los Angeles when she was a child. She grew up surrounded by very few relatives—just her immediate family and an aunt and uncle. She often asked, "Why don't we have more relatives?"

As an adult, her father took her to Mississippi to meet their extended family. On her mother's side of the family, the story told was that a great grandfather was a Caucasian man named Littlepage.

Jonnie began to research, but she had limited success linking her family to the Littlepage family using local census records. A death certificate, however, provided a full name.

After she got her 23andMe results, Jonnie was matched with three second cousins, one of which had the last name Littlepage. Jonnie screamed when she got the email. "This is the Littlepage family I've been looking for." Since finding Littlepage descendants, she has made special family connections. "DNA testing, as my case suggests, can be critical to busting through the infamous 1870 brick walls for many African-American researchers."

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Diane Silberman Berger

83-year-old reconnects with extended family lost during childhood

Diane Silberman Berger's mother and father moved across the country during the Depression for work. Her mother died when Diane was just nine. It was a profound loss. Diane lost contact with her mother's close-knit family on the East Coast. Despite decades of trying, Diane never found them.

Then one day, her daughter Barrie had some news. "Mom, are you sitting down?" Barrie asked. "I found them."

Barrie had tested with 23andMe and was able to reconnect her mother to her first cousins, Rebecca and Miriam. Soon after, they planned a family reunion in New York, and she filled in gaps about her family and took lots of pictures. Barrie shares, "My mom is the happiest I've seen her in years, and she's so overjoyed to not only find her family, but also to close so many gaps and answer so many questions in her life."

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Adriano Ferrari and Jessica Lafleur

Lactose intolerance & physical endurance is in their DNA

Adriano and his wife Jessica did 23andMe just after their son was born. Jessica wasn't surprised at all when Adriano's reports showed a genetic likelihood for lactose intolerance. The signs had always been there. Now they could put a name to it. It made sense.

Jessica, who always thought of herself as a slow runner who avoided running as much as possible, learned about her muscle composition. She learned that her genetics made her less likely to be a sprinter and potentially more fit for long-distance running. It clicked. As Adriano says, "She may not be fast, but she has tremendous endurance. Knowing that is all it took for her to go from never running (or getting regular exercise), to becoming an avid runner!"

Jessica has lost the weight she gained during her pregnancy and is feeling great.

Disclaimer:
23andMe is not intended to diagnose any health condition. You should consult a healthcare professional before making any major lifestyle changes.

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Susan Clark

Genetics discussion group inspires learning and friendship

Susan was amazed by 23andMe and began telling other people. This led to more friends experiencing 23andMe, and ultimately they created a group to gather and discuss their results and to share stories and tips.

The group grew from just a few members to more than two dozen, and they now meet regularly for breakfast at a local restaurant with their iPads and laptops. They discuss their reports and new findings, and they talk about genetics and science.

"Sometimes our discussions are fun, sometimes they are serious and often they are just plain fascinating. 23andMe has really given us a bonding experience."

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Gwen Schroeder

A way to support her dad and his disease

A friend of Gwen's once told her, "Don't cheer from the sidelines if you can run the race."

So when Gwen's father was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, Gwen laced up her shoes and began running marathons to raise money for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research.

Gwen in also participating in 23andMe's research program. She has participated in a number of surveys, mostly those pertaining to Parkinson's disease and other neurological disorders. "I felt like this was a tiny step towards a greater understanding of Parkinson's disease. My participation could someday help another family...or the next generation that I will someday bring into this world."

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Jeannie Entin

Becoming Jewish—it was in her DNA all along.

Jeannie grew up in a Christian family, but had a lifelong affinity for the Jewish faith and culture. "For as long as I can remember, I've wished I was Jewish. I was named an ‘honorary Jew' in high school and attended bat mitzvahs and Passover seders, and I eventually fell in love with a Jewish man."

During her engagement to her husband, she worked tirelessly to convert to Judaism—spending long hours studying, meeting with rabbis, learning Hebrew prayers and attending classes.

Shortly before having her first child, Jeannie's mom called to say that she had discovered through her 23andMe results that she was Ashkenazi Jewish. Jeannie knew she already felt Jewish, but now it was not just in her heart—it was in her genes. As she jokes, "I could have saved a lot of time and money if I'd had my 23andMe results to show the rabbi!"

Finding out that she was genetically Jewish also had practical implications. With the knowledge that both she and her husband had Jewish ancestry, her husband decided to get carrier testing with their doctor for traditionally Jewish diseases like Tay-Sachs. Thankfully, the tests did not identify him as a carrier.

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Michael Reed

Son finds his 80-year-old father and nine brothers and sisters

Michael was raised an only child by loving adoptive parents who passed away 25 years ago. He came to 23andMe hoping to find out more about his ancestry, but a match in the 23andMe DNA Relatives tool opened the door for him to find his 80-year-old birth father and nine brothers and sisters.

Michael's first phone call with his dad ended with something he hadn't heard in a very long time, "Goodnight, Son."

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Andrea Willis

A woman finds her grandmother after never meeting her father.

Andrea grew up with a sister and a brother who were blonde and blue-eyed. She looked completely different, and she knew she had a different father than her sisters. She always longed to know who she looked like. She didn't feel the need to meet her father, she just wanted to better understand where she came from.

With 23andMe, Andrea was able to her see her ancestral background—that was thrilling. Then, with 23andMe's DNA Relatives tool, Andrea uncovered family connections and found her half-siblings and paternal grandmother.

She placed a call to her grandmother, who was lively and vibrant and wonderful. She said, "Baby, no need to be crying, you let me know when you want to make a trip to see me." Her grandmother was able to share stories and photos of Andrea's dad, who had passed away years earlier, and Andrea could finally see who she looked like.

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Christopher and Colleen Lux

Two self-described nerds in love

Christopher had been racking his brain. What could he get his girlfriend Colleen for Valentine's Day that would be a unique and heartfelt gift?

Christopher decided a 23andMe kit was the perfect gift. Colleen is quick to add that Christopher did include flowers, homemade chocolate cake and a sweet note. He described the 23andMe kit as a gift of her past, present and future since she would learn about her ancestry, her traits and some health information.

He had already shared his 23andMe results during one of their first dates, and he told Colleen how he was genetically less likely to smell asparagus in his urine. She was interested and not horrified. He knew this was someone special.

Colleen said it was not the traditional kind of Valentine's Day gift, but just perfect for two self-described nerds in love.

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Jordan Carroll

Jordan finds out a family story was a family truth

Jordan Carroll was intrigued by the stories passed down through generations that spoke of a Caucasian ancestor in his family. His entire family was African American—so this story led Jordan to try and track down the identity of this part of the family through 23andMe's DNA Relative tool.

Jordan reached out to a predicted fourth cousin online—and realized she was from a Caucasian family living in the same region of South Carolina where his mother's family was originally from. The connection kicked off a fact-finding mission. By supplementing his family's oral history with science and official records, Jordan revealed an extended branch of the family. It was not just a story or fiction, it was a fact.

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David Aguilar

A new understanding of his cultural background

As a 7-year-old, David asked his aunt about his heritage, and she bluntly told him, "You're Mexican." His response was equally direct, "No I'm not," he told her. "I will tell you one day what I am."

David knew his ancestry was complicated. His mother had Puerto Rican ancestry. His father had Mexican ancestry. David used 23andMe to help him piece together his ancestry and to find himself in the process.

"When the results came in, it felt like opening a present," he said. "I was blown away by it." He learned his heritage was a mix of European, African, Middle Eastern and Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry. For David, it all fit.

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