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I don’t know if anyone has info on this or not, but here goes. I’ve looked through the internet and couldn’t find anything. Does anyone know if taking lithium can affect. DTC (direct to consumer) DNA testing (Ancestry, etc.)? I’ve read some chemo meds may affect it,  and that things such as denture adhesive can affect the quality but not change the test. What about lithium? 

Just asking since my results do show DNA matches at 2nd-3rd cousins on both maternal and paternal lines and way beyond but nothing on people closely related to me who’ve also tested. I’m certainly related to my parents given other DNA matches but even a maternal full uncle shows as a cousin and a paternal full uncle (dad’s paternal twin) and his daughter (my first cousin) don’t show at all, although I have matches with all the people  who’ve tested a couple more generations back. Weird. 

Can’t find anywhere if lithium (all I currently take for BP) is doing something weird to my DNA showing less cMs or if I just am an anomaly. Lol.

*correction: oops - I meant dad’s FRATERNAL twin.

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I wouldn't think that lithium would have any impact.

Chemo meds have an impact because they affect cells in their division process which requires copying of DNA.  

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Lithium can affect the expression of your own genes but it doesn't actually change them.

However, I am an avid genealogist as well, and I can say that with ancestral genetic testing, it's still not perfect. Remember that when two people have a child, their DNA is randomly recombined. It is actually technically possible to be more closely related to a maternal uncle and not a paternal uncle if your mother won out in the recombination process. For example, my mother shows as having 9% Norwegian ancestry, but of me and my two half sisters (who I share a mother with) only my one sister got Norwegian ancestry on her results, whereas I and my other sister got none.

Alternatively, looking at just my half sisters and what they got from our mother and from their father, one sister is much more heavily linked genetically to my father but looks more like my mother's side of the family, whereas the other looks more like my father's side of the family but ended up with quite a bit of Scandinavian ancestry from my mother. It's totally random.

However, the one major way you can improve your own test results and those of your relatives is to have more relatives get tested, particularly ones that are close in relation to you. The larger the reference pool of data, the more accurate results become. So I've gone on a mission to get my relatives tested. I've done myself and two of my sisters as well as my mother. My adoptive father and his parents also did the test, which did improve my sisters' results.

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Keep in mind these labs that test DNA for consumers sell your genetic data to whoever wants to buy.

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On 4/4/2019 at 6:05 PM, notloki said:

Keep in mind these labs that test DNA for consumers sell your genetic data to whoever wants to buy.

Totally agree....that's why I've never done these.......I always advise people not to do it....

I don't want my most personal, private information (my genetic code) sold to who knows what company....Once you do it, your private genetic code might be used in ways you'll never know.

If you are considering doing it, I recommend watching the movie "Gattaca" first.....It is a science fiction movie that came out in 1997.......A pretty dark movie, but has a ray of hope at the end.

Edited by CrazyRedhead
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1 hour ago, CrazyRedhead said:

Totally agree....that's why I've never done these.......I always advise people not to do it....

I don't want my most personal, private information (my genetic code) sold to who knows what company....Once you do it, your private genetic code might be used in ways you'll never know.

If you are considering doing it, I recommend watching the movie "Gattaca" first.....It is a science fiction movie that came out in 1997.......A pretty dark movie, but has a ray of hope at the end.

I also agree. Although I'm intrigued by the ancestry DNA tests, I will never do it because I don't want my DNA code out there. There needs to be tougher laws mandating that DNA samples and all information regarding a person's DNA be destroyed after the purpose for taking the DNA has been resolved.

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Well I mean you do have to consent for your DNA to be used for research. And if you do consent, then yes you should expect that your DNA will be sold. 23andMe for example is selling to pharmaceutical companies like GlaxoSmithKline.

There is some good that can come from this though. 23andMe did a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of a handful of people with major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder. I was one of the few thousand with bipolar disorder. According to their site, their goal is to recruit 15,000 with MDD and another 10,000 with bipolar disorder. From the first round of subjects, they even were able to produce the statistic that more than 50% of bipolar diagnoses begin as MDD. The study was a 9-month follow along with surveys of my emotions that week or month as well as monthly batteries of cognitive testing. The study was being done in conjunction with Lundbeck (who makes Trintellix with Takeda). The cognitive test was the THINC-IT test that was developed to test for improvements in cognition associated with vortioxetine (Trintellix) treatment. I figured that they were interested in me because I happened to be taking Trintellix during the study and because I was diagnosed BP2.

While it can certainly be scary being so easily identifiable, they do de-identify the data (to a certain extent). However, if your DNA happens to be in another public database where you aren't de-identified, then I suppose it wouldn't be that difficult to connect the dots.

However, if you decline consent for research and then delete your DNA data after seeing your results, you won't be able to take advantage of the fact that your results are "living" in a sense. As more people get tested, their ability to predict ancestry becomes more accurate. My results for 23andMe and AncestryDNA have both changed several times in the few years since I did the tests, and become more accurate at that (based on my genealogy research). I'm an avid amateur genealogist, so that was exciting for me to say the least.

Also, 23andMe is working pretty hard to roll out a medication health report similar to the GeneSight or GenoMind tests that will break out the various liver enzymes and enumerate how your body may handle metabolizing certain medications. Of course, those tests generally aren't good at telling you what WILL work. They're better at telling you what WON'T.

And of course always keeping in mind that even if you decline consent for research, the company still could be subpoenaed in a criminal case. But seriously, if you're committing crimes, you should probably think long and hard before you do one of these tests. You're asking for it. Just the same, if you aren't committing crimes, then what's the use in being paranoid? But I know this is a matter of opinion and is different from person to person. Not looking to start and argument. Just want to remind everyone that for every yin there's a yang.

EDIT: In case anyone is interested: https://www.23andme.com/depression-bipolar/

Edited by browri

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I found this with only a glance... yes, your spit might be tossed, but data can be stored indefinitely. https://www.businessinsider.com/dna-testing-delete-your-data-23andme-ancestry-2018-7

As jt mentioned, there need to be more clear cut laws regarding DNA. I have absolutely no reason to be “paranoid”, but I think it’s naive to believe your data is safe, and that it will indefinitely be kept safe, as if these mega corporations truly have your best interest at heart. Personally I believe this is simply too new a field to be able to confidently be assured of how private the results will remain. Credit card data breach, anyone? Hackers? I’m sure insurers would love to be able to use results to deny coverage for potential conditions. 

No, I’m not paranoid, just trying to be reasonably cautious in a rapidly changing world. 

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13 minutes ago, Rabbit37 said:

  Personally I believe this is simply too new a field to be able to confidently be assured of how private the results will remain. Credit card data breach, anyone? Hackers? I’m sure insurers would love to be able to use results to deny coverage for potential conditions. 

No, I’m not paranoid, just trying to be reasonably cautious in a rapidly changing world. 

Good points.....Hackers are a real risk, and so is a credit-card data breach..........Your DNA data could be sold to insurance companies and used to deny you insurance--that is a real possibility.

So, even if you aren't committing crimes, you are still at risk if you send your DNA to these companies, IMO....

Nope, won't do it........

Edited by CrazyRedhead

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4 hours ago, Rabbit37 said:

I found this with only a glance... yes, your spit might be tossed, but data can be stored indefinitely. https://www.businessinsider.com/dna-testing-delete-your-data-23andme-ancestry-2018-7

Yeah and what's even trickier is if you give your consent for research but then withdraw consent later and then delete your data. Too late, they definitely already sold your genetic information to another company and there's probably no getting it back.

Quote

As jt mentioned, there need to be more clear cut laws regarding DNA. I have absolutely no reason to be “paranoid”, but I think it’s naive to believe your data is safe, and that it will indefinitely be kept safe, as if these mega corporations truly have your best interest at heart.

I cannot argue with that sentiment at all, and I agree with you whole-heartedly. Lol in retrospect "paranoia" was probably not a good choice of word considering the forum I'm on. But more on this below.

Quote

Personally I believe this is simply too new a field to be able to confidently be assured of how private the results will remain. Credit card data breach, anyone? Hackers? I’m sure insurers would love to be able to use results to deny coverage for potential conditions. 

No, I’m not paranoid, just trying to be reasonably cautious in a rapidly changing world. 

 

4 hours ago, CrazyRedhead said:

Good points.....Hackers are a real risk, and so is a credit-card data breach..........Your DNA data could be sold to insurance companies and used to deny you insurance--that is a real possibility.

So, even if you aren't committing crimes, you are still at risk if you send your DNA to these companies, IMO....

Nope, won't do it........

I actually work in the IT field as a systems engineer for a large web hosting company, and I just happen to have specialized in cyber security in college. So I do act as a security specialist a good portion of the time. I've been witness to some pretty crazy hacks, and I get to be one of the people who cleans up the mess. It's not fun, and it happens WAY more often than you think. Companies generally aren't obligated to disclose breaches if they don't accept credit cards or handle personally identifiable information like social security numbers or health information. So anything outside of that, you generally don't hear about. Simple stuff like full names with email addresses and a password......people tend to use the same password for many of their different accounts. You compromise one password and it only takes a little digging to compromise a wide variety of other things.

So imagine that the same password you use to log into one of those DNA testing services, you use for another, low-level, insecure site that gets compromised and passwords are gleaned. A hacker can simply log into your Ancestry or 23andMe account and download your raw data, then sell it on the black market. Sure, they both require you to request it and then they send you an email with a link to download the raw DNA data, but chances are if the hacker compromised your password, they compromised your email too, and yeah, YOU'LL see the email, but at that point they've already seen the email and downloaded the data. You're more likely to have your data stolen and used illicitly this way (i.e. having an insecure password or using the same password even at insecure sites) than you would be by having a hacker actually directly enter the servers of these services and have the data "lifted" out of the datacenter. Disks could be physically removed from servers, but the data on them is striped across several disks (i.e. you would have to know which of the 12 to 75 disks you have to take with you to ensure you have any usable data) and in-place encryption is pretty much default nowadays in modern day storage arrays (i.e. you took all the right disks and have all the data, but now it's all encrypted...darn).

I say this, but I also have worked with several companies with names anyone would recognize and I've seen them take dangerous shortcuts that compromise the security of their server environment. It's not just the little guys who are doing this to save a buck, it's the big guys too because there are so many servers to remediate against vulnerabilities and it's such a hassle to do it on a regular basis. If your data is ever compromised in a breach of a high-level company, it was for one reason and one reason only, laziness.

But laziness goes both ways. Just as companies need to take the security of their customers' data more seriously, we as consumers also need to effort to protect our data if we do put it out there.

I'm definitely not defending these companies, and ever since I did these tests and these services started to pick up steam, I've always been a proponent of necessary legislation/regulation of these companies to ensure that your genetic data can't be held against you, say, when you go to purchase health insurance. Hell, even in the case of psychology, if we ever got to a point where bipolar disorder could be identified from genetic code, what's stopping auto insurance companies from charging those people an arm and a leg because they're more likely to be more impulsive? Sure, maybe it's a stereotype that doesn't apply to the entire bipolar population, but what's stopping them from generalizing?

That being said, security professionals in the IT industry are always talking about the appropriate balance of risk and benefit. We want to remediate ALL of the vulnerabilities and mitigate against ALL risk, but by doing so, you've now cut off 50% of your users from accessing the service or you've taken away a lot of things about the service that make it great. So perhaps by having my DNA on both 23andMe and Ancestry and consenting to research in both places, I'm certainly exposing myself a lot more and I'm gambling on the off-chance that comprehensive legislation is coming for this industry but has yet to come to fruition. In return, they provide me a product with continuously improving value as more people use their service (at no additional cost to me), and my bad genetic load (comprised of psychiatric, neurological, and cardiac issues) can be used to the advantage of others via research. Some people aren't willing to take that leap. And it is a matter of opinion. It's just not an issue for me personally. More than likely because I'm desensitized to the lack of security in the industry so I know no matter how hard I try to protect my info, it's definitely going to get out somehow.

Edited by browri

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