Does 23andMe provide accurate results for people from India?
The South Asian especially India has nearly 4 times the ethnic diversity of Europe. However 23andMe does not break this down into subpopulations or ethnic groups. Rather they report back a broad representation. Something that you would know even without a genetic test. This is because the accuracy of an ancestry analysis depends on on the availability of robust reference populations. At present this is not the case with 23andMe’s reference population for India or South Asia in general.
Is it worth getting 23andMe if I am from India?
No, it is not. 23andMe has a very small South Asian sample size. So if you know that you don’t have any ancestors from outside South Asia for at 5-6 generations back, then it is not worth getting the 23andMe ancestry genetic test.
Where Do Ancestry.com And 23andMe’s Source Datasets Come From?
Ancestry DNA and 23andMe are both located in the United States. Their services are available only in a handful of countries like the USA, the UK, Australia, Canada, Mexico and a few other countries. This has led to the accumulation of a population reference database that is skewed towards the Western hemisphere.
How reliable is the genetic test from 23andMe for Indians?
As pointed out in the earlier paragraph the 23andMe reference dataset predominantly consists of genomes from the European population. This leads to a broad representation in your report. For example you might get back a results that says “100% South Asian”. This is something you may have already known and does not require a genetic test. To get a more detailed break-up of your ancestry you can explore the Ancestry genetic test from Xcode Life.
23andMe Health Test in India
The 23andMe health tests were banned by the FDA in 2013. After it revoked the ban in 2017, they have released a stepped-down version of their genetic reports on specific genes like APOE and BRCA. Their health reports also contain heritable traits (like widow’s peak) and the carrier status of some genetic conditions. However these services are not available in India.
To get your genetic report on more than 50 health predispositions you can opt for Xcode Life’s health report. It covers the following health conditions:
| Type 2 Diabetes |
Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects the way glucose is processed by the body. 27 million people suffer from diabetes in the U.S, with more than 86 million in the pre-diabetes stage. The symptoms of this condition are normally very mild, in fact, 8 million people in the U.S are suspected to have diabetes but they don't know about it. People of certain genetic types are at a higher risk of developing diabetes.
| Vitiligo |
The skin gets its colour from the pigment melanin. The immune system of individuals with vitiligo attacks the body’s own melanocytes in some areas of the skin, which is evident as white patches. In a study, it was found that the risk among related individuals was 18 times higher than in the general population. There exists an inverse association between vitiligo and melanoma (skin cancer), with studies suggesting that an increased immune surveillance may exist against melanoma for people who are at high risk for vitiligo.
| Alzheimer's disease
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder, constituting 60 to 70% of dementia incidences. Approximately 200,000 Americans younger than 65 years of age have early onset Alzheimer’s disease. People of certain genetic types have a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and may exhibit symptoms like: difficulty in remembering, confusion, disorientation and speech difficulties.
| Heart diseases |
Heart disease includes coronary heart disease, congestive heart failure, myocardial infarction and heart attack. The different types of heart diseases are identified by a variety of signs and symptoms and only a cardiologist is qualified to diagnose these conditions, definitively. People of certain genetic types are at a higher risk for heart disease.
| Ulcerative colitis|
Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease, characterised by the inflammation of the rectal and the intestinal mucosa. According to The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are between 37 to 246 new incidences per 100,000 persons every year in the U.S. People of certain genetic types have a higher risk of developing ulcerative colitis.
Anxiety disorders are characterised by feelings of fear and anxiety. This disorder affects more than 40 million people in the U.S every year. People of certain genetic types are at a higher risk of developing anxiety disorders and may exhibit symptoms like: excessive worry, sweating, hypervigilance, nausea, poor concentration or trembling.
| Hypertension |
Hypertension is a medical term for a condition that is characterized by a persistently elevated blood pressure in the arteries. The normal blood pressure for adults at rest is between 100–140 millimeters mercury (mmHg) systolic and 60–90 mmHg diastolic. A blood pressure at or over 140/90 mmHg is considered high blood pressure.
| Stroke |
Stroke is a medical condition in which blood flow to specific regions of the brain is cut off resulting in cell death. Stroke symptoms can be identified only by a qualified cardiologist. People of certain genetic types are at a higher risk for stroke and should watch out for signs that include: face drooping, weakness in the arm and speech difficulty.
| Age related macular degeneration
Age related macular degeneration is a condition in which there is blurring of sight or loss of central vision. According to the Centres of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) , there are 1.8 million people with AMD. People of certain genetic types are at a higher risk of developing AMD.
Obesity is a condition in which there is excessive body fat, increasing the risk for various metabolic conditions. Obesity is generally measured using the body mass index (BMI), which is obtained by dividing the weight of a person (in Kg) by the square of the person's height in meters. A person with a BMI over 30 kg/m2 is considered obese while a BMI between 25–30 kg/m2 is defined as being overweight.
| Osteoporosis |
Osteoporosis is a condition in which bones become fragile and prone to fractures. Currently over 200 million people across the world suffer from osteoporosis, with over 30% of postmenopausal women in the United States and Europe with osteoporosis. People of certain genetic types are at a higher risk of developing osteoporosis with symptoms that include: back pain, stooped posture or loss of height over time.
| Chronic Kidney Disease
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a gradual loss of kidney function. According to The National Kidney Foundation, 10% of the global population suffers from chronic kidney disease. People of certain genetic types have a higher risk of developing chronic kidney disease and may exhibit symptoms like : fatigue, loss of appetite, malaise, weight loss, itching, insufficient urine production.
| Parkinson's disease|
Parkinson's is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects the central nervous system. This condition is found in 1% of adults over the age of 60 years. People of certain genetic types are at a higher risk of developing Parkinsons and may exhibit symptoms including: tremor in one hand, stiffness, loss of balance, sleepiness during the day, incontinence.
| Osteoarthritis |
Osteoarthritis is a disorder which is characterised by breakdown of the joint cartilage and the underlying bone. According to the Global Burden of Disease 2010, the prevalence of hip osteoarthritis was 0.85% while that of knee osteoarthritis was 3.8%. People of certain genetic types are at a higher risk of developing osteoarthritis.
Thrombosis is the development of blood clots in a blood vessel, resulting in obstruction in the flow of blood. The prevalence of thrombosis among adults is about 1 in 1000 people. People of certain genetic types are at a higher risk of developing thrombosis and may exhibit symptoms like: pain, swelling in the affected region, tenderness or immobility.
| Migraine |
Migraine is recurrent headaches that range from being mild to severe. The global prevalence of migraine is 14.7%, which is 1 in 7 people. People of certain genetic types are at a higher risk of developing migraine and may exhibit symptoms including: ‘drilling’ headache, nausea, sensitivity to sound and light.
| Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease |
Non alcoholic fatty liver disease is a type of fatty liver disease which is characterised by deposition of fat in the liver due to causes other than alcohol. The prevalence of non alcoholic fatty liver disease has risen in the United States from 18% in 1991 to 31% in 2012. People of certain genetic types are at a higher risk developing non alcoholic fatty liver.
Autism includes a range of disorders which are associated with challenges with speech, social skills, speech, repetitive behaviour and non-verbal communication. According to Centres for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC), in the U.S, 1 in 68 children surveyed were found to have autism spectrum disorder. Heritability of autism ranges from 40 to 80%.
Fracture is a medical condition in which there is damage to the continuity of the bone. Every year, over 700,000 people with osteoporosis, fracture their vertebrae and suffer from chronic pain. Among people with osteoporosis, 300,000 people have hip fracture and more than half of them will not be able to walk without assistance.
| Depression |
Depression is a serious yet common mood disorder which affects the way an individual thinks, feels and handles daily activity. According to WHO, nearly 4.4% of the global population suffers from depression. People of certain genetic types are at a higher risk of developing depression.
| Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis is an autoinflammatory debilitating disease that affects the brain as well as the spinal cord. The prevalence of multiple sclerosis in the U.S is 90 per 100,000 population and it affects 2.5 million people worldwide. People of certain genetic types are at a higher risk of developing multiple sclerosis.
|Bone Mineral Density (BMD) |
Bone mineral density (BMD) is the amount of bone mineral in bone tissue. The higher the bone mineral strength, the stronger the bones are. BMD is highly heritable according to many research studies. People of certain genetic types are at a higher risk of low bone mineral density and thereby at risk for osteoporosis or fractures.
| COPD |
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a progressive lung disease which is characterised by breathlessness. This includes, emphysema, bronchitis and asthma. According to WHO, 251 million cases of COPD existed in 2016. People of certain genetic types have a higher risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Epilepsy constitutes a group of disorders which are characterised by epileptic seizures. These seizures are associated with vigorous shaking, which can last from a short unnoticeable period to longer periods. According to WHO, approximately 50 million people across the world live with epilepsy.People of certain genetic types are at a higher risk of developing epilepsy.
| Familial Hypercholesterolemia |
Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is characterised by an inability of the body to remove low density lipoprotein. The global prevalence of familial hypercholesterolemia is 10 million. People of certain genetic types have a higher risk of developing this condition and may exhibit symptoms that include: fatty skin deposits called xanthomas present on hands, elbows, knees and in the cornea of the eye, deposits of cholesterol in the eyelids and signs of coronary artery disease like chest pain.
| Beta thalassemia |
Beta thalassemia is a condition in which there is a reduction in the production of hemoglobin. This condition is highly prevalent in the Mediterranean countries with an annual incidence of symptomatic individuals being 1 in 100,000 people. People of certain genetic types are at a higher risk of developing beta thalassemia and affected infants may exhibit symptoms like: turning pale, feeding problem, recurrent fever, liver and abdominal enlargement.
Glaucoma is a condition in which the fluid pressure of the eye increases. Approximately 3 million Americans suffer from glaucoma, however, only about a half of them know that they have it. People of certain genetic types have a higher risk of developing glaucoma and may exhibit symptoms like : Blurred or hazy vision, rainbow like circles around bright lights, severe pain in the eye, nausea or vomiting.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that affects the joints. This chronic condition is found to affect 1% of the population. People of certain genetic types are at a higher risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis and should watch out for signs that include: stiffness, tenderness or swelling in the joints, fatigue, feeling of pins and needles and lumps of redness on the skin.
Asthma is a common chronic inflammatory condition of the airways of the lungs. According to CDC, 25.7 million people across the world suffered from asthma in 2010. People of certain genetic types are at a higher risk of developing asthma and may exhibit the following symptoms: wheezing, chest pain, difficulty in breathing and coughing.
| Alopecia areata
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition in which there is loss of hair in one particular part of the body or throughout. It is also known as spot baldness. The prevalence of this condition among the general population is 0.1-0.2%, with a lifetime risk of nearly 2%. People of certain genetic types are at a higher risk of developing alopecia areata and may exhibit symptoms like : hair loss, itching, anxiety and broken nails.
Atrial fibrillation is a heart condition in which there is an irregular heartbeat with increased heart rate. The prevalence of this condition ranges between 0.2 to 0.4 per 1000 people. People of certain genetic types are at a higher risk of developing this condition and may exhibit symptoms like: dizziness, increased heart rate, shortness of breath, palpitations and weakness.
Hypertriglyceridemia is a medical condition in which there is elevated levels of triglycerides. The prevalence of severe hypertriglyceridemia is about 2 in 10,000 persons. People of certain genetic types are at a higher risk of developing hypertriglyceridemia and may exhibit symptoms like: xanthomas, pancreatitis, lipemia retinalis.
Hemochromatosis is the leading cause of iron overload disease. The prevalence of this condition among people of Northern England origin is about 1 in 227 individuals. People of certain genetic types have a higher risk of developing hemochromatosis and may exhibit symptoms like: lethargy, abdominal pain, reduced hormone function, arthritis, diabetes and abnormal heart rhythm.
Hypothyroidism is an endocrine disorder in which the thyroid gland does not produce sufficient amount of thyroid hormone. In the U.S, the prevalence of hypothyroidism is 4.6%, with women being more commonly affected. People of certain genetic types are at a higher risk of developing hypothyroidism and may exhibit symptoms like: weight gain, puffy face, dry skin, fatigue, lethargy or hair loss.
Anorexia is a psychological eating disorder. The onset of this condition is during early adolescence or young adulthood, constituting 3% of all eating disorders. People of certain genetic types are at a higher risk of developing anorexia and may exhibit symptoms like: dizziness, fatigue, low blood pressure, anxiety, extreme weight loss.
Hemophilia is a condition in which there is excessive bleeding because of poor blood clotting. The worldwide prevalence of hemophilia is around 400,000 people. People of certain genetic types have a higher risk of developing hemophilia and may exhibit symptoms like: pain in the joints, internal bleeding, swollen joints and prolonged periods.
Gout is a severe form of inflammatory arthritis that is characterised by the deposition of monosodium urate crystals in and around the joints. The incidence of gout is 2 to 6 times higher among men than among women. People of certain genetic types are at a high risk of developing gout and may exhibit symptoms like: Pain in joints like ankle, knee, toe or foot, swelling, stiffness, redness or physical deformity.
Amyloidosis is a rare condition in which there is an abnormal buildup of a protein called amyloid. One study showed that the prevalence of this condition in the UK is 20 per million. People of certain genetic types are at a higher risk of developing amyloidosis and may exhibit symptoms like: shortness of breath, weight loss, fatigue, bruising, swelling of the tongue, carpel tunnel syndrome and tingling feeling.
Cystic fibrosis is an inherited condition that affects the lungs and the digestive system. The prevalence of this condition is about 1 in 2500 among caucasians. People of certain genetic types are at a higher risk of developing this condition and may exhibit symptoms like: Abdominal pain, chronic cough with blood or phlegm, diarrhoea, shortness of breath, delayed puberty, fatigue and acute bronchitis.
Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that occurs during late adolescence or in the early twenties. The global prevalence of schizophrenia is 1% and approximately 3.2 million Americans are known to have this disease. People of certain genetic types are at a higher risk of developing this condition and may exhibit symptoms like: aggression, poor social behaviour, hostility and compulsive behaviour.
Scoliosis is a medical condition in which the spinal cord of an individual is curved sideways. This condition is prevalent among 2 to 3% of the general population.People of certain genetic types are at a higher risk of developing scoliosis and may exhibit symptoms like: Back pain, muscle spasms, muscle deformity and an uneven waist.
Crohn's disease is a chronic inflammatory disease which is characterized by inflammation of the lining of the digestive tract. In the U.S 780,000 people live with Crohn’s disease. People of certain genetic types have a high risk of developing crohn’s disease and may exhibit symptoms like: abdominal pain, abdominal bloating, diarrhoea, fatigue, cramping, loss of appetite and blood in the stool.
|Gallstone disease |
Gallstones are hardened deposits of digestive fluid that are formed in the gallbladder. The prevalence of gallstones was 4.15%, more in females than in males. People of certain genetic types are at a higher risk of developing gallstones than others and may exhibit symptoms like: Abdominal cramping or discomfort,nausea or vomiting.
|Atopic dermatitis |
Eczema (atopic dermatitis) is a common skin disease that affects a large percentage of the world’s population. Eczema can be caused due to a variety of factors like genetics, environmental factors and abnormalities in immune responses. People of certain genetic types have a higher risk of being susceptible to eczema and may experience the following symptoms: skin inflammation, itching, redness and swelling.
Bloom's syndrome is a condition characterised by an increased risk of genomic instability. Only about 265 people are believed to have this rare condition. People of certain genetic types have a higher risk of developing Bloom’s syndrome and may exhibit symptoms like : short stature, enlarged blood vessels(telangiectases) and rash on the face(cafe au lait spots) that develop during early childhood on exposure to the sun.
Cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscles. The prevalence of this condition is 1 in 500 people. People of certain genetic types are at an increased risk of developing cardiomyopathy and may exhibit symptoms like : Chest pain, fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath or weight gain.
Psoriasis is a non-contagious chronic skin condition that produces plaques of thickened, scaling skin. It is one of the most baffling and persistent skin disorders. Generalized psoriasis is an inherited autoimmune disease. Men are generally more prone to the condition. Genetics play a major role in the development of psoriasis.
|Con rod dystrophy
Cone rod dystrophy is an inherited disorder of the eye. The prevalence of this condition is 1 in 40,000 people. People of certain genetic types are at a higher risk of developing cone rod dystrophy and may exhibit symptoms like: poor clarity of vision, color vision problems, night blindness and loss of peripheral vision.
|Glycogen storage diseases |
Glycogen storage disease is a condition characterised by deficiency in enzymes associated with glycogen synthesis and glycogen breakdown. The prevalence of this condition is 1 in 20,000 people. People of certain genetic types have a higher risk of developing glycogen storage disease.
Anemia is a condition in which there is insufficient healthy red blood cells. According to WHO, the highest prevalence of anemia is among pre-school children and the lowest is among men. People of certain genetic types are at a higher risk of developing anemia and may exhibit symptoms like: fatigue, malaise, palpitations, brittle nails and shortness of breath.