Parents who accuse their teenagers of being lazy for indulging in a lie-in may only have themselves to blame.
That’s because whether you enjoy a nap is not only down to how long you stayed up watching Netflix the night before – but also your DNA.
A DNA test kit from Ancestry promises to reveal behavioural traits that are determined by your genetics, including whether you are introverted or a risk taker.
It also gives insights into your physicality, like whether you have the ‘sprinter gene’ or if you like the taste of coriander.
But does it get it all correct? MailOnline reporter Fiona Jackson tries out the kit to find out.
A DNA test kit from Ancestry promises to reveal behavioural traits that are determined by your genetics, like whether you are introverted or a risk taker (stock image – not reviewer!)
But does it get it all correct? MailOnline reporter Fiona Jackson tries out the kit to find out
As part of me did anticipate pipettes, Petri dishes and microscopes to be left on my doorstep, the test kit seemed surprisingly humble when it arrived.
WHAT CAN THE DNA TEST TELL YOU?
- How much caffeine you are likely to drink
- If you’re likely to remember your dreams
- Whether you detect a distinctive smell when you urinate after eating asparagus
- Whether you sneeze when exposed to bright light/sunlight
- Your levels of omega 3
- Your level of sensitivity to savoury (umami) flavours
- How much of a risk-taker you are likely to be
- Coriander aversion
- Whether you are sensitive to sweet food
- The speed of your heart rate recovery
The box was small enough to fit through the letter box, and contained only a set of instructions, a sample bag and a plastic tube with a funnel.
The first step was pretty messy, as it involved generating enough spit to fill up the tube by about half a centimetre.
After a few revolting minutes and a big glass of water, the deed was done.
I was able to secure the funnel with the cap, bag up the tube and send it to the lab in a prepaid mailing box.
Just under three months later, the Ancestry geneticists extracted my DNA from the saliva sample, and analysed it at over 700,000 locations.
These special locations are called ‘markers’, and are known to be different for different people.
Laura House, a DNA expert at Ancestry, told MailOnline: ‘Scientists have found that some markers are associated with specific traits, like hair colour or attached earlobes.
‘We analyse these markers to reveal your unique traits.
‘A single trait – like your ability to remember dreams – may be influenced by hundreds or thousands of DNA markers.’
Some of the codes can even indicate a person’s ancestry if they are common among a specific, known population.
My DNA results were presented to me through my Ancestry online account, and included my ethnicity breakdown, traits and any relatives who had also taken a test.
It turns out that I am 100 per cent European, with 78 per cent of my DNA originating in England and Northwestern Europe.
The first step was pretty messy, as it involved generating enough spit to fill up the tube by about half a centimetre
My DNA results were presented to me through my Ancestry online account, and they included my ethnicity breakdown, traits and any relatives who had also taken a test
I also had five people who share between one and four per cent of it with me, making them my second or third cousins, but that was as close as any relatives got.
|Introvert or extrovert||Extrovert||Yes|
|Morning or night person||Morning person||No|
|Remembering dreams||Most likely to remember dreams||No|
|Risk taking||Avoid taking risks||Yes|
|Taking naps||Equally likely to be a napper or non-napper||No|
|Alcohol flush||Face unlikely to flush||Yes|
|Caffeine intake||Drink an average amount||Yes|
|Tolerating dairy||Likely tolerate dairy||Yes|
|Cleft chin||Have a cleft chin||No|
|Skin pigmentation||Light to medium skin tone||Yes|
|Eye colour||Light eyes||Yes|
|Earwax type||Wet earwax||No|
|Hair colour||Blonde hair||Yes|
|Hair type||Wavy hair||Yes|
|Hair strand thickness||Average hair thickness||Yes|
|Finger length||Index finger longer than ring finger||Yes|
|Wisdom teeth||Likely develop all four wisdom teeth||Yes|
However, there were some larger surprises when it came to the 41 behavioural and physical traits that my DNA suggests I should have.
Ancestry determines behavioural traits by surveying people who have had their DNA analysed, and finding correlations between their genes and responses.
My genes suggest that I am extroverted which, as someone who chats to people for a living, probably stands up.
I am also apparently risk averse, which my lack of broken bones and the number of to-do lists in my Notes app would attest to.
However, my genetics are also associated with self-described ‘morning people’, despite the fact I am someone fiercely dedicated to my duvet.
I also don’t believe I have ever remembered any of my dreams and despise naps, but my results insist otherwise.
Ancestry does make it clear that our DNA tells only part of the story when it comes to our behaviour and personality, and environmental factors can play a larger role.
Genealogist Ms House told MailOnline: ‘Traits results are more of a peek inside our DNA than a definitive prediction about personalities and behaviour.
‘Environmental factors and life choices can affect the presentation of a trait, even if your DNA strongly suggests a different presentation.
‘If your Traits results say you likely have curly hair, but your hair is straight, this suggests that environmental factors had more impact on your trait than your genes.
‘Most of your traits are influenced by many genes – some of which we haven’t yet discovered.’
Ancestry determines behavioural traits by surveying people who have had their DNA analysed, and finding correlations between their genes and responses
Some of the things that our DNA controls did surprise me, like the amount of caffeine we consume.
There are genes which determine how quickly the body processes the drug, and those that break it down more quickly will tend to drink more coffee to keep their energy up.
They can even control whether you like brussels sprouts, as they determine your sensitivity to the bitter chemical they contain, called phenylthiocarbamide.
Genes can also determine your sensitivity to sweet and savoury flavours, as well as your opinion of arguably the world’s most divisive herb; coriander.
While some enjoy its fresh, citrusy flavour, haters pertain it tastes soapy, and its all to do with your responsiveness to the chemicals inside it, called aldehydes.
This is determined by genes OR10A6 and OR10A2, and fortunately mine allow me to enjoy my guacamole nice and herby.
The Ancestry DNA test kit can also predict your sporting abilities, due to the presence of a particular ‘sprinter gene’. Studies have found that elite power athletes are often born with a genetic variant in the ACTN3 gene, that is related to muscle composition
Some of the things that our DNA controls did surprise me, like the amount of caffeine we consume. There are genes which determine how quickly the body processes the drug, and those that break it down more quickly will tend to drink more coffee to keep their energy up
The Ancestry DNA test kit can also predict your sporting abilities, due to the presence of a particular ‘sprinter gene’.
Studies have found that elite power athletes are often born with a genetic variant in the ACTN3 gene, that is related to muscle composition.
This variant causes muscle cells to produce alpha-actinin-3, a protein that causes fast-twitch muscle fibres to rapidly contract.
Explosive events like sprinting and shot put require greater levels of fast twitch fibres in the muscles that contract quickly and offer short bursts of power.
My results suggest that I have both the ACTN3 gene and the three DNA differences commonly found in elite endurance athletes.
While I didn’t think I was particularly talented at sports, I’m now wondering whether the Paris 2024 applications are still open!
It may not come as a huge surprise that our DNA determines certain aspects of our appearance too.
My Ancestry kit suggests that I have a dimple in my chin, freckles and, horrifyingly, wet earwax.
While evidence suggests these three are not true, the test was able to correctly tell me I have blonde, wavy hair, light-coloured eyes, attached earlobes and all four wisdom teeth.
It’s interesting to find out how much of who you are is determined by your genes, but not everything is set in stone from birth.
Ms House told MailOnline: ‘Understanding our DNA can help us to understand ourselves and everything that makes us who we are.
‘Your Traits results can provide an explanation for why you have certain behavioural characteristics, from being a morning lark or night owl to how much of a risk-taker you are.
‘It’s also a fascinating way of connecting with family and friends – AncestryDNA + Traits gives you the opportunity to compare your traits with the important people in your life to see where there are commonalities and differences.’
The dog DNA test that could save you THOUSANDS in vet bills: MailOnline reporter’s pooch, Sully, trials genetic cheek swab – with fascinating results
Many dog owners know their beloved pooch better than their closest friends and family, from their favourite toy to their strict nap routine.
Some things, however, are impossible to know no matter how much time you spend together – like exactly what’s in their DNA.
A dog’s genetic information is unique, and can tell you its breed as well as why it came to have its adorable huge ears or love of howling.
But a new DNA test from The Kennel Club promises to check if they are susceptible to heritable diseases which can cost thousands to treat or manage at the vet.
MailOnline recruited Sully, a one-year-old Cocker Spaniel, to give it a try.
Read more here
A new DNA test from The Kennel Club promises to check if they are susceptible to heritable diseases which can cost thousands to treat or manage at the vet. MailOnline recruited Sully, a one-year-old Cocker Spaniel, to give it a try (pictured)