ConnectMyDNA Coupon Code

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of ConnectMyDNA.com for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

For those of you interested in learning a bit more about how you relate to other people throughout the world, specifically who you relate most to based on certain non-ancestral genetic markers, you might want to check out ConnectMyDNA™ and use this coupon code:  IZEA290512  which knocks the price down for a test from $89.95 to $29, so quite a drop.

It should be emphasized before you order the kit that ConnectMyDNA is not trying to look at your DNA and tell you your ancestry.  Rather, they use 13 loci to determine your DNA profile, just like what is done in paternity tests and in court cases to find DNA matches based on a DNA profile (though I believe those typically use 16 points, but the same idea and methodology). ConnectMyDNA then use this information to determine which countries your profile most relates based on a genetic database containing DNA data collected over the course of the last 10 years.

So you won’t learn your ancestry from this DNA profile data.  Rather, you’ll get the specific loci values to compare with friends and family; then a “Gene Ring”, which is more or less your genetic “fingerprint” made into an unique image by ConnectMyDNA based on your loci data, but in such a way as to not be decodable by others to protect your security if you want to display it around and compare it to other peoples (this image is provided in a variety of formats large and small, in case you want to make a poster or the like); and you’ll also learn the top 10 countries that your DNA profile matches most closely with, based on the Hardy-Weinberg principle.

For those of you who might be concerned with sending a sample of your DNA off to some company to analyze (I was), it should also be noted that neither ConnectMyDNA nor the labs they contract with store your DNA nor the data they pull from it any longer than they need to in order to get your results to you.  Once they run the tests, this data is wiped from the lab’s system and your sample destroyed.  Once you receive your results, the data will also be subsequently wiped from ConnectMyDNA’s system too.  They also do not sell or share this data with anyone else but you.  It’s strictly for your eyes only via the barcode provided with the kit.

And don’t worry, you needn’t draw blood or anything invasive like that to give them what the labs need to run the test.  The kit simply includes a couple cotton swabs, an envelope, and a barcode.  You use the barcode in the registration process to connect your kit to your account.  You then rub the two buccal swabs in your mouth on your cheeks (one for each cheek).  Then put the swabs in the provided envelope and pop it in the mail box.

These swabs then are whisked away to an AABB-accredited, ISO-certified lab where they are tested using extremely strict protocols to ensure the security and privacy of your DNA sample and data.  ConnectMyDNA then compares your profile results to a database and gives you a list of countries that currently most strongly match you based on those markers (again, not an ancestry test, but comparing your 13 DNA profile markers to people around the world today).  This all happens within 7-10 days of you mailing your test off.

For me personally, my DNA profile results matched up closest to people in Macedonia, oddly enough, and particularly seemed to be most strongly similar to DNA profiles from people in countries around the Mediterranean.   My unique “Gene Ring” is the one shown at the top right of this article. Kind of interesting to look at and I found the specific loci values fascinating, though I’d very much have liked ConnectMyDNA to also have done ancestry tests at the same time and perhaps other genetic indicators, more or less creating a full genetic profile.  However, obviously these types of tests would cost a heck of a lot more than $29, so I can see why they forgo that in favor of just offering the much cheaper DNA profile to make it accessible to the common man.  But it would be cool if at some point they offer that sort of thing as a more expensive package, with the price presumably going up the more extensive profile you want.

Now if you are interested in learning more about your ancestry, based on your DNA, you can check that out at such places as Ancestry By DNA or DNA Ancestry Project (who did not sponsor this post in any way). However, as you’ll see if you follow those links, if you want that kind of data, it’s going to cost you a heck of a lot more than $29 and even they don’t seem to offer quite as extensive set of tests as I’d personally like.  I want all the data! 🙂

Bonus Facts:

  • About 99.9% of human DNA is identical in every human being on the planet, excepting in the case of identical twins of course. Despite this fact, on the whole racism is still quite prevalent in the world.  What a funny group we humans are!
  • While identical twins are genetically identical, they don’t have identical physical fingerprints  Read more here: Identical Twins Don’t Have Identical Fingerprints, Even from Birth
  • One of the major contributors to a hangover, acetaldehyde, also has been shown to damage DNA.  Acetaldehyde is produced when alcohol is converted within your body by the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase to acetaldehyde.  Besides DNA damage, it also can cause abnormal muscle development when it binds to proteins, among other negative side effects.
  • The first DNA profiling or “genetic fingerprinting” technique was developed by Sir Alec Jeffreys while working at the University of Leicester.  His technique was subsequently used to create many of the national DNA databases in the world today, very possibly even the one ConnectMyDNA uses given that they use buccal swabs.
  • While overall DNA profiling has proved to be a boon to exonerating the innocent, helping to convict the guilty, and determining paternity, it isn’t always 100% accurate.  For instance, there are known cases where properly performed DNA profiling tests have indicated that certain women were not the mothers of their biological children.
  • The fact that DNA profiling isn’t always 100% accurate for various reasons is a major point of contention in using it in criminal cases where optimally we’d like to never falsely convict someone nor let someone go who did commit a crime.  Why this has recently become an even bigger issue is that it is extremely easy using modern techniques to artificially modify human DNA such that, using DNA profiling methods, DNA evidence could incriminate anyone you like.
  • Israeli scientists in 2009 used these simple methods to fabricate blood and saliva samples with falsified DNA which after being modified indicated they were from a different individual than the person who the DNA actually came from.   Combined with DNA databases, anyone even with moderate expertise in the subject and access to the necessary equipment common to any molecular laboratory could easily provide false DNA evidence to match any profile in the database.  You wouldn’t even need to get a sample of their tissue in this case.  Even without the person you want to create a DNA match for in the database, a simple search of their garbage for some choice items would get you what you needed.  As Dr. Daniel Frumkin, the lead author of this paper, stated, it’s so simple  “…any biology undergraduate could [do] this.”
  • Another case of faking a DNA test was a little more low-tech and happened when Dr. John Schneeberger raped a patient while she was sedated.  His semen was later found on her underwear.  However, Dr. Schneeberger’s DNA from a blood sample didn’t match up with the DNA in the semen sample.  The police were sure it was him who had raped the woman, so tested it three times, each time it came back negative.  It was later discovered that he had used a Penrose drain placed in his arm and filled with blood that was not his own before having a sample of “his” blood taken.
  • In another famous case, police thought they had stumbled on an incredible crime spree including murders, burglaries, and robberies, spanning Austria, Germany, and France all committed by the same woman based on DNA profile tests.  Eventually they discovered that all the cotton swabs used in these crime scenes to collect DNA samples had come from the same factory in Austria and they had been contaminated by someone’s DNA before being packaged and shipped.  The detectives had failed to understand that something can be sterile, as these swabs were, but not DNA-free.  Police force ignorance of things like this obviously can have a huge bearing on the outcome of a case, due to the fact that most people, in this case jurors, tend to think DNA profiling is fool-proof and wholly accurate.
  • Another botched DNA conviction was the case of Darryl Hunt who was convicted of raping and murdering someone in 1984.  The problem was that he didn’t do it.  After 18 years in prison, a simple search in a DNA database discovered that someone else had a near identical DNA profile to Hunt, Willard E. Brown.  Police questioned Brown about it and he confessed to the crime and Hunt was released.  A further investigation revealed that Hunt’s DNA profile testing wasn’t the only botched by police around that same time with three others also wrongly convicted based partially on DNA profile evidence.
  • In the U.S., it is perfectly legal for the police to collect your DNA without a warrant.  This is because it is legal for them to search your garbage without a warrant and plenty of your DNA can be found in your trash.
  • David Vasquez was falsely convicted of rape and murder and became one of the first people in the world to have his conviction reversed based on DNA evidence.  It was shown that in fact the woman he supposedly raped and murdered was actually killed by Timothy Wilson Spencer, a serial rapist and murder who was executed on April 27, 1994 for these crimes.
  • Kirk Bloodsworth almost had it worse than any of the above.  He was convicted of murder and sentenced to die.  Before he was executed, though, DNA profile evidence exonerated him and he was released.  I guess his blood was worth a lot, in this case… ba-dop-ting… *crickets*
  • In the UK, the longest sentence to date served by someone falsely convicted and exonerated based on DNA evidence was Sean Hodgson who spent a full 27 years in prison for supposedly killing Teresa De Simone.   27 years after his conviction, judge Justice Sheldon (if that isn’t a perfect name for a Judge, I don’t know what is) had to eat his words as he had told Hodgson when he was convicted, “I have no doubt whatsoever that you were guilty of this appalling, horrible crime of killing that girl.”  This was despite the fact that Hodgson had previously admitted to over 200 crimes he had not committed, including this one, which is why his defense team wouldn’t let him take the stand in court.
  • Unfortunately for Hodgson, his mental problems he had before entering prison didn’t get better with time behind bars, convicted rapists typically not having it the best in prison, and he has since been diagnosed with schizophrenia and extreme depression and he also developed a drinking problem.  Just one year after being released, he found himself back in prison for supposedly raping someone for real this time, a 22 year old mentally handicapped woman.  He denied raping her and stated he simply touched her in a sexual manner.  Since there was no actual evidence of rape, the charges of rape were dropped, but he has remained in custody, being deemed “dangerous”.  He would be allowed to leave if he’d agree to complete a court imposed psychiatric order, something he refuses to do, due to his distrust of the legal system.

References:

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