24 September 2013

My Physical Self

Week 3 of the Book of Me, Written by You blog prompt series.

     At the very basic level, my physical self is determined by my genes. Sure, I can dye my hair or lose/gain weight, but the building blocks begin with my DNA.  One of the neat side benefits of 23andMe's DNA testing for genealogy, is the geneotype results (what my DNA says I should look like).   So how do my geneotype results compare to my phenotypes (what I actually look like)?

Hair Color:
- Genotype: "Typical odds of having red hair" and "Typical odds of having blond hair (vs. brown hair)."
- Phenotype: White-Blond as a baby, now a light or golden brown with blond sun-streaks. Sometimes a red tint in the sun.

Hair Curl:
- Genotype: "slightly curlier hair on average" and "Typical amount of hair curl."
- Phenotype: Shirley temple curls as a toddler, now only slightly wavy if left to dry on its own.

Eye Color:
- Genotype: "72% chance of blue eyes; 27% chance of green eyes; 1% chance of brown eyes."
- Phenotype: Light Blue, though they can appear green if I'm wearing green.

- Genotype: "Typical amount of freckling" and "Typical number of freckles and moles."
- Phenotype: Sparsely freckled all over. I assume that's "typical."

- Genotype: "Subjects averaged 0.3 - 0.7 centimeters taller than typical height" and "Subjects averaged 0.4 cm (0.16 in) taller than typical."
- Phenotype: I'm 5'4.5".  I consider myself just under average height and on the tall side of short.

- Genotype: "Typical BMI" and "On average, BMI is 0.19 units lower than typical for adults (1-2 pounds, depending on height)" and "Decreasing calorie intake and increasing physical activity through walking is associated with weight loss."
- Phenotype: I was thin as a child, a little heavy before puberty, skinny after puberty and then got heavy  after starting college.  About a year ago I started county calories and walking for exercise and I've since lost 75 pounds.  Yay!

     So overall, it seems like my genes dictated my physical appearance when I was young, but things changed as I got older.  And of course, some things are more effected by the environment than my genes.  I have a scar on my right hand between my knuckles from a car accident and one on my right knee from a fall.  I had braces in 3rd grade, which attempted to straighten my teeth (but I didn't keep them long enough for them to really help).

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