the IT city, the I.T. Baby


Beyond 23andMe to Promethease


As I mentioned I felt fairly let down by 23andMe. Both in customer service and also the genetic disease reports.

The traits it claimed I had probable chances for were sort of hit or miss, the genetic history wasn’t particularly shocking. I didn’t get that “wow” factor and I’d spent $180 for that genetic report that said nothing they check for was wrong.

I mean it was neat, but it was $60 neat.

This was cool and all… I have a list of 40 things I’m probably not going to die of and some interesting notes on my genetic history but I felt a little… meh.

Then an editor over at Pocketables Ben dropped me a line about Promethease. As long as you’ve got your 23andMe login and even just the ancestry report you can log in with Promethease and pass the genetic dump on for $5 and get an amazing report.

I know enthusiasm doesn’t carry in written text, but this was the insightful report I was hoping for from 23andMe.

Within 10 minutes I had a fairly detailed genetic backstory for why I have a lot of the issues I do.

gs191 problem metabolizing NSAIDs – my doctor kept prescribing them as painkillers and inflammation control, they don’t do anything for me in human doses.

gs127 = potential interaction with warfarin – nice to know

16 different markers calling me fat

gs296 – lower heart attack risk than normal

Multiple genes the cause me to be one of the 2% of people who suffer the weird side effects of medication. Several genetic components that make most of the sleeping medication I’ve been prescribed ineffective.

Genetic disposition to not get addicted check.

Might benefit from 5HTP – interesting, try that out. As a note, it didn’t suggest this, I’m inferring it.

All sorts of interesting things that kept me up until well after midnight saying “uh huh, that’s why that medication didn’t work” and “that’s why I’m so good at video games” and “that’s why kid1 has that trait, kid 2 that”

Kim decided the next day to see if she could get hers. She’s done the $60 no genetic report version at 23andMe (I think they were having a sale when she got it,) and it worked. It looks like the current pricing on it is $79, so you might want to wait for a sale.

She delved into genetic articles from the NY Times that we’ve wondered about but before never had the tests to say “oh yeah, that’s why kid 1 acts this way” –  mean, it’s not all genetic, but there’re some kid answers we got that are useful.

The $5 report from Promethease is overwhelming. The zip file they sent me was over 5 megabytes compressed. There’s a little local web browser javascript thing that will allow you to search through all your data on your computer rather than having it hosted on the web (which they will do for 45 days before deleting your info).

So yeah, download that data and save it, you’ll want it in two months. You can view it locally on a computer.

The only downside to the $5 report is it’s not particularly pretty. You may have to do some research. It might scare you if you don’t understand that if you have a 7x risk of developing X disease, but only one in a million people have X disease, you’re probably looking at odds of 7 in a million (1 in 142,857).

You can see a sample report here.

Promethease can take reports from multiple locations as a note. More reports to comb through cost a little more. I’m not exactly sure what the deal with the pricing is, but considering these reports take between ten and twenty minutes to generate chances are there’s some computing power being done in the background to look up the several million bits of info.

Promethease can take genetic data from a variety of sources, so you’re not actually locked into the 23andMe option. It’s just what I used so what I’m writing about.

I think I would have been happy with 23andMe at $60 like Kim got. The basic ancestry package. I’ve not been impressed with the extra hundred dollars to run the genetic tests

So anyway, thanks to Ben for pointing me at Promethease. If you’re wondering more about the genetic makeup of you I’d advise plunking down $5 even though their website looks like it was designed by someone in an intro to website building class.

23andMe – for genetic ancestry test

Promethease for $5 genetic report

4.5 / 5 stars     

Paul King

Paul King lives in Nashville Tennessee with his wife, two daughters and cats. He writes for Pocketables, theITBaby, and is an IT consultant along with doing tech support for a film production company.