Friday, April 15, 2011

Happy DNA Day! Celebrate with 23andMe unboxing!

I'd like to start by wishing all of you a happy DNA Day! That's right, it's already April 15th again, which can mean only one thing: DNA Day is back! (...because it's not tax day in 2011, so you can celebrate DNA Day and get back to filling out your taxes tomorrow.)

Anyway, I got myself a gift for DNA Day, which arrived yesterday (and which you might be aware of if you read my last post). That's right, my 23andMe package arrived! So I thought I'd share the unboxing in case you were curious what you get in the mail when you order 23andMe.

It comes in a box a little bigger than a CD jewel case that looks like something from frog design. Very nice. The box is actually plastic wrapped with a sticker having your name and serial number on it (removed prior to taking these pics).

Opening it up, there's a set of instructions that look like something from Ikea explaining how to use the kit and send it back. (That's not a bad thing--they clearly put effort into making it dummy-proof.)
Savvy observers may have noted that the kit is a simple Oragene saliva kit. Spit in the tube. Close the lid. Remove the top. Screw the cap on and shake. (Again, dummy-proof instructions inside the plastic box containing the vial.)

Very straightforward. And I think the design is very well done. The box is the same one you send back to them. Just put the vial in the biohazard bag, put it in the box, re-seal it and throw it in the mail (it's postmarked already). The Oragene box does contain an instruction booklet with details in it for those interested.

You probably noticed in the second picture that they want you to go to their site to register. I did indeed do that. Pretty standard set of consent documents to go through.

I did find it interesting at the bottom of their consent form, they have three options about consent. One is to consent for yourself, one is to consent for another adult, and the third one is to convey your child's consent and authorize it as the parent/guardian. There goes my plan to genotype my children before they're old enough to deny me! (Kidding, kidding.)

You also get to choose whether to allow them to Biobank the sample. I said yes, of course. Then you provide a few other general details (DOB, sex).

Took no more than five minutes! The caveat is that you can't eat or drink for a half hour before spitting in the collection vial. So I will be doing that in, oh, about a half hour.

I'll update more on my 23andMe experience as it happens. Coming up next: Surveys and more surveys. They seem to have a ton of phenotyping through surveys, which I think is fantastic.


  1. Waiting for the UPS human to deliver it to me today!

  2. I'm from Palo Alto too and just got my 23andMe kit today! :D

  3. Quickly with the spitting, Nils! You need to get it back to the post office post-haste. (Yep, I went ahead and said that.)

    Natalie, high five Palo Alto genotype friend!