23 and Grok

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Michael Ondrasik is attending the annual Home Video Studio Advanced Training sessions. The studio will be closed until Mar 5th. However he is posting his daily blogs from the field.

While I await the arrival of other Home Video Studio owners from across the country, something unexpected also arrived. I received my results from the 23 and Me DNA testing kit.

Yes, my wife gifted me with the DNA service last Christmas. I dutifully spit into the tube, sent it to the lab and we have been waiting to hear back. And today I did.

My wife will be pleased to know that I am 100% European. I am a combination of Northwestern European (British/Irish) and Eastern European (Poland/Hungary/Czech), with a smattering of Southern European (Iberian/Balkan peninsulas) thrown into the mix.

She’ll also be happy to know that I did not test positive for any of the variants associated with some of the scarier diseases facing mankind. (Offering up a prayer of thanks to my ancestors for their contributions to this element of my DNA).

I’m not sure however how she’s going to react to this next piece of rather surprising news. I have been informed that my DNA contains 288 variants belonging to Neanderthals. That is a number higher than 67% of the 23 and me customer base.

What does that mean, you may ask? Don’t ask me, I’m part Neanderthal.  How would I know? Fortunately, I have evolved enough to learn how to Google. Here are 10 possible Neanderthal traits I may have “inherited.”

  1. Elongated skull.
  2. Space behind the wisdom teeth.
  3. Broad, projecting nose (thanks a lot!)
  4. Little or no protruding chin. (again, thanks!)
  5. Rosy cheeks
  6. Wide fingers and thumbs
  7. Straight, thick hair
  8. Insulating skin
  9. Fair skin and freckles
  10. Red hair.

And according to my 23 and Me report, at least one of the 288 Neanderthal variants found in my DNA is associated with height. I’m 6’ 3”.

So what does all this mean?  Well, for one thing, when my wife tries to scold me for leaving a dirty dish in the sink by saying, “We’re not animals!” I can smile back and think to myself, “Maybe you aren’t…”

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio of Mount Dora specialize in the preservation of family memories. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit www.homevideostudio.com/mtd.

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Blood Relations

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I love the fact that my customers are comfortable enough with me to share their stories and memories. Some make me smile, some make me laugh, and then there are some that just leave me dumbstruck with awe and amazement. This newest story belongs in the latter category.

A client came in with an audio transfer but that is not really part of the story. Before she left she asked me if I had the capability of converting a .pdf file to a .jpg file. I said I could and she presented to me a usb drive with a .pdf file on it so I converted it as she waited. Upon completion, she asked me if I minded if she told me the story behind it.  “Mind?” I thought… “I don’t mind at all!”

Her story was amazing. About six months ago, her husband gifted her with an ancestry.com DNA test. She was mildly curious but did not expect the results she received. She had always known she was adopted. But after the tests came back and were compared against other DNA samples that had been processed it turns out that she has a brother who had been looking for members of his biological family for decades and that he lives a mere hour away from her.

They’ve met numerous times since and are sharing their stories and histories and it is uncanny how similar their tales are; how much of him she sees in her children; how much they have in common in appearance and personality. My client admitted that it is a joy to have discovered a brother but it pales in comparison to what her brother is experiencing because not only did he find a sister, but nephews and nieces and a host of other family members – members that he had been searching for as long as he can remember. His cup overfloweth.

The .pdf file that I turned into a .jpg? It was artwork that will be imprinted upon t-shirts for people to wear at an upcoming “family reunion.” I am sure it will be an unforgettable time.

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio of Mount Dora specialize in the preservation of family memories. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit www.homevideostudio.com/mtd