IN MY DNA: What GeneLife Generations Told Me About My Ancestry Through Genetics Testing


The variation among human faces has always intrigued me: how is it possible that all human faces look so different from one another since the beginning of time in spite of the fact that everyone is born with the same face parts? Furthermore, we seem to be able to distinguish the ethnicity of people – even those of similar skin colour – just by looking at their facial features, especially the eyes (or the windows to the soul as some would call them).

Three pair of female Asian eyes: can you tell which ethnicity they belong to just by looking at their eyes? (picture decolourised as the differing picture quality may be a distraction)

Three pair of female Asian eyes: can you tell which ethnicity they belong to just by looking at their eyes? (picture decolourised as the differing picture quality may be a distraction)

Three pair of male eyes belonging to both Asian and non-Asian of similar skin tone: can you tell which ethnicity each of them belong to?

Three pair of male eyes belonging to both Asian and non-Asian of similar skin tone: can you tell which ethnicity each of them belong to?

But in many instances these days, there tends to be more to one’s ethnicity than meets the eye due to global migration, an increasingly common phenomenon. While it would be obvious that a person is of mixed lineage if he/she was born out of an interracial relationship, it wouldn’t be an easy feat for those who are unable to trace their family history (either because they were adopted or surviving relatives simply haven’t the slightest clue of it) to determine if there is indeed foreign DNA in their blood.

The furthest back I could trace my lineage was my great-grandparents who hailed from China (of which I had no idea where exactly), and that barely told me anything about my ancient ancestors. Since then, that fire of curiosity had been burning within me – who actually am I? Discontented with the limited information available about my family tree (which is strange given how unusual my Chinese surname is), I turned to yet another at-home DNA testing kit from GeneLife in an attempt to unveil the mystery of my ancestry.

Click here to read about my first D.I.Y. DNA test experience!

Why GeneLife Generations?

My interest in DNA testing was first piqued by larger players in the market such as AncestryDNA and 23andMe. But reviews on these firms revealed that they were mostly caucasian-centric with a relatively small Asian pool that lumps all Chinese into a single category (i.e. Chinese would be generalised as Han Chinese), so reports generated on any Asian ancestry would not be as comprehensive as hoped.

Apart from that, those residing outside the states or countries where these firms have offices would have to engage a forwarder to import the kit. That’s not all – outside help (via Airfrov, for example) might also have to be enlisted to mail the DNA sample to the laboratory from the same country stated in the order. All of these point to considerable additional expenses that the user has to incur on top of the cost of the kit – in US dollars. Hence, I had been sitting on the fence about getting a DNA ancestry test until GeneLife finally rolled out their own in July. In fact, Singapore is one of the two countries (the other being Taiwan) selected for this soft launch! Yay!

Image courtesy of GeneLife.Asia

Specifically developed for the Asian population, GeneLife Generations aims to bring users on a personal journey through time to discover what their DNA reveals about their ethnic mix and lineage. Their reports will shed light on the origins and possible migration routes of both their maternal and paternal lineages from approximately 150,000 to 270,000 years ago, as well as comprehensively predict the shared genetic composition of their ancestors. Ethnic groups in their database include, but are not limited to: Chinese Dai, Northern/Southern Han, Singaporean Malay, Vietnamese Kinh, Filipino, Thai, Japanese, Korean, Indonesian, Punjabi, Taiwanese, etc.

View the complete list of ethnicities your DNA would be tested for!

The collection process and steps involved in processing the sample for this ancestry-focused test kit are the same as its predecessors (e.g. Genesis 2.0). You would first need to create a GeneLife account on their website (for first-time users) and register your kit (which returning users would only need to do after logging in).

The packaging

The packaging

Expires roughly 1 year from month of purchase

Expires roughly 1 year from month of purchase

The unnoticeable seal

The unnoticeable seal

Unboxing the kit

Unboxing the kit

Everything in the box

Everything in the box

All the paper work

All the paper work

On the box

On the box

Once the aforementioned steps are done, spit in the test tube provided until the secretion reaches the black mark indicated on the instrument before shaking it. Finally, enclose the sample (sealed in a small ziploc bag provided) in the pre-addressed prepaid envelope with the completed consent form and post it out to GeneLife headquarter. Easy peasy lemon squeezy 😝

The cap at the bottom would be used to close the tube later on

The cap at the bottom would be used to close the tube later on

After spitting into the test tube..

After spitting into the test tube..

Mixing my saliva with the solution

Mixing my saliva with the solution

Ready to mail!

Ready to mail!

Lo and behold, my DNA results are in!

As anticipated, GeneLife constantly updated me on the progress of my sample via e-mail throughout the four-week wait. However, my results could only be viewed on the GeneLife 3.0 app this time ’round.

Some disclaimer you’d have to sit through before being able to access your results

More disclaimer..

What greeted me the moment I accessed my results! *shocked Pikachu*

What greeted me the moment I accessed my results! *shocked Pikachu*

The majority of my DNA - couldn't say I wasn't surprised! I'm pretty sure most Singaporean Chinese fall under this category too.

The majority of my DNA – couldn’t say I wasn’t surprised! I’m pretty sure most Singaporean Chinese fall under this category too.

My minority DNA. Any other Dai Chinese around? Hit me up!

My minority DNA. Any other Dai Chinese around? Hit me up!

More information about my ancestors' possible migration route

More information about my ancestors’ possible migration route

The "maternal" tab showed a rather detailed write-up about where my ancestors could have potentially travelled

The “maternal” tab showed a rather detailed write-up about where my ancestors could have potentially travelled

Oh, bummer! Perhaps my Dad could take the test.. 😆

Oh, bummer! Perhaps my Dad could take the test.. 😆

To be honest, a tiny part of me had wished that there was mixed blood somewhere in my family heritage (because exoticism is so cool) so the results were rather disappointing to say the least. Oh well, facts are facts, and I now fully embrace my pure Chinese DNA!

That said, since testing with different genetic companies can yield contrasting results (as they depend on how extensive the customer bases of these companies are), perhaps using multiple kits would offer fresh insights into my genealogy and origins (#neversaydieattitude😝). Therefore, if the opportunity arises for me to take other DNA ancestry tests, I will not hesitate to go through the process all over again.

Get GeneLife Generations

Keen to learn more about your ethnic roots through GeneLife Generations? Great news! GeneLife has kindly offered a special rate of S$129 (U.P. S$199) for my readers! Simply enter fionaseahgs as the promo code upon checkout to enjoy the discount 🤩

And because holding back awesome deals isn’t something I’d do, here’s another way to score GeneLife Generations at an even lower price (sort of at my expense because I don’t get any benefit out of this. But meh, good deals are meant to be shared!) – from GeneLife’s store on Shopee! Be sure to keep a lookout for it at the Flash Sale section and utilise the shop vouchers 😉

What are your thoughts about GeneLife, or any other at-home DNA test kits for that matter? Let me know your views (and how accurate your results are if you’ve taken one) in the comments below!

Thanks for reading!

GeneLife Generations is available on GeneLife.Asia and SHOPEE.
Product was supplied by GeneLife.Asia for my editorial consideration. All opinions expressed are my own.

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6 thoughts on “IN MY DNA: What GeneLife Generations Told Me About My Ancestry Through Genetics Testing

  1. Now about the eyes, most “Euroepans” can’t tell one Asian from the other. I normally can tell Chinese from Japanese form Korean, Malay, but I was born in the East.
    Conversely, I imagine most Asians can’t tell Europeans for the other, though I can tell French for german from English from Southern Europeans.
    Again thank you for a fascinating post. Xie xie, Kam siah and all that.

    Like

  2. Indeed. It is human nature: the eyes “train” themselves since we are babies. And we learn to “segement” all relevant details: Hah! That’s my mother. Comes the aunt who hasn’t visited in a while: “who is this?” and the baby cries.
    Hope all is well with you? 🙏🏻

    Like

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