23andMe – Fear of Speaking, Hair and Other Interesting Traits

People who have taken the 23and Me V4 or V5 test (Nov. 2013 or later) qualify to receive new traits as they are introduced. Recently, I received a notification that 23andMe had introduced a ‘fear of speaking” trait.

This made me chuckle, because while I do get somewhat nervous about some aspects, such as equipment failure, I have no fear of public speaking itself. Neither did my mother who was a ballet dancer, nor do my children nor grandchildren.

Given this known history, I was curious to see what 23andme had to say.

Since I was taking a look anyway, I decided to rank the first two pages of my traits based on whether they were accurately predicted or not. I’ve marked them as correct or wrong.

By the way, I view these traits as “just for fun” but keep in mind that health predictions can be just as subject to inaccuracy. Genetics generally predicts possibilities and predispositions, with a few notable exceptions. For the most part, genetics is but one of multiple factors. There are likely genetic factors we haven’t yet discovered and when dealing with disease, personal lifestyle, environment and perhaps simply luck play a part too.


Let’s take a look at what 23andMe has to say about my traits. My evaluation is in the center.

23andMe traits.png

23andMe traits 2.png


I was uncertain about my hair texture being wavy versus curly.

Roberta Estes hair trait

Here’s my hair a few days ago, not curled by me – in its natural state – as I was preparing for filming a documentary. Fear of speaking not in evidence, but fear of makeup running in the heat and hair frizz was real!

At 23andMe, you can click on the links to any of these traits on your own results page and view the criteria, so let’s look at hair traits and what they have to say. Then I’ll let you decide about mine.

23andMe hair prediction.png

My Hair certainly isn’t straight, so we can rule that option out.

Next, they show the results of other participants with similar genetics.

23andMe prediction results.png

I think we can eliminate everything except wavy and big curls which leave us split between the blue wavy which they claim I am more likely to have and the red “big curls” which they claim I am less likely to have.

23andme calculation.png

23andMe explains how they arrived at my results. I think it’s very interesting that 75 locations in the human genome are involved in determining hair curl. It’s likely that even more will be discovered in the future.

23andMe hair variants.png

According to this graphic, 30 of those 75 locations are irrelevant to my hair.

Given this scattering, it’s impossible to know which parent I inherited my hair curl from.

The Verdict

Now it’s your turn.

What do you think, based on my photo?

  1. Is this trait predicted accurately and I have “wavy hair?”
  2. Is this trait predicted inaccurately and I have “big curls” instead of “wavy hair?”

Let me know your opinion in the comments.

23andMe Products

If you want to purchase a 23andMe test for ancestry alone, meaning genealogy matching and ethnicity but no health, medical or traits, you can purchase that here.

If you want to purchase a 23andMe test for ancestry PLUS health, medical and traits, click here to order.

MyHeritage Test

MyHeritage recently introduced a product that also provides you with ancestry PLUS health information. I’ve ordered that test and will review the results as compared to 23andMe when the results are in. You can order the MyHeritage DNA Ancestry plus Health test here.



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34 thoughts on “23andMe – Fear of Speaking, Hair and Other Interesting Traits

  1. Hi Roberta, I am the lady from NGS who took your picture with the dog statue, and was so interested in your trip to Ireland with your “tour guide.” You have the most gorgeous hair I have ever seen and it surely isn’t straight. You are correct it is your trademark. Also I have no fear of speaking except for equipment failure, but got the same result you did – fear of speaking. Thanks for the great blog and it was super meeting you. I will be seeing Ken Parks in my home town next week and will say hi to him for you. Karlyn Shedlowski

  2. I think it’s likely curls. The length of the hair often pulls curls out so the longer the hair the more wave like and less curl like. The tightness of my curls depends on the length of my hair. When my hair is your length – it looks like yours. When mine is cut short (between shoulder and chin) I get ringlets. No matter what the label – your hair looks fabulous!

  3. I’d say big curls BUT if you are having trouble figuring out what kind of hair you have, isn’t it likely that the people self reporting (how they inferred this data in the first place, I would guess) also had trouble? I think it is more likely that people report on a continuum. I guess straight is straight, but even tight curls can be difficult. I USED to have tight curls (when I had hair), but it definitely is affected by age, length and humidity.

      • Some things are clear. Cilantro does not taste like soap to me. However, even eye color is a bit mushy. My son’s eyes are not always the same color. Sometimes they are blue and sometimes hazel and other times I have no words to describe them! I have no idea how they characterize ear wax! How would I know if it is wet or dry?

  4. Just a note….but why is every article you have ever written getting sent out to those who subscribe to your blog. It starts with the 2015 ones and is filling up my mail box. I have tried to block the address but no luck.

    K. Robinson

    • I received over 50 emails late last night. They date from July 30th 2019 and go far back as 2013, well before I was a subscriber to your blog. Did you update your website recently? Because something went really wrong.

      • Yes, I deleted those, messages then changed my mind and when I moved them from the deleted folder, WordPress resent them. I’m sorry and quite embarrassed.

        • He, he! It goes to show that no matter how computer savvy one is, it’s impossible to know the ins and outs of every system…

        • I’m glad that’s all it was, I was worried your site was having issues. I work in IT and know that’s no fun for the site owner. I also have a WordPress site so I’ve learned something new about it from this. Seeing some of your articles for the first time was actually a good thing, there’s some really good reading there.

  5. Wavy hair will just have some curves, but it will be close to or on a 2D plan, like the edge of a lasagna pasta printed in a sandbox.

    Curly hair will do actual spirals, like the handrail of a spiral staircase.

    So I would say big curls.

    *Disclaimer, English is not my first language and I was barely passing the matter in back high school. xD

    • Some hair, like mine, have a combination of frizz, spirals, and curls of various sizes. My background is French, First Nations, Black and Jewish. I know this without the DNA test, however the DNA test backed up my knowledge. In my case, depending on genetics, you can end up with all degrees of curls on your head. My father has a head full of dead straight, blue black hair, more along the lines of our Migmaw (Micmac) ancestors and I am a basket of fuzzy curls. Go figure 😏

  6. I was amused at the same questions. Your hair is big curls, in my opinion.
    I just got my 23&me results. I find they go into much more detail than Ancestry.
    My identical twin did hers on Ancestry and i used this one so we could compare results. Also because they had the price of the more extensive one at $99 and I wanted to see whether we were descended in part from Neanderthals. (yes, more than most)
    I am managing hers because she is not into genealogy except when reported to her by me. I found the break down for places instead of being generalized to be much better.
    I also found a first cousin’s daughter immediately. Even though it was only initials and not the given name I knew it had to be her because I know where all the other many cousins are. She answered within an hour.
    On many of the traits they were wrong on their estimate of my preferences and traits. Yes, I like asparagus; I like cilantro; I have thick wavy or big curl hair; no bunions, but arthritic big toes; not afraid to speak in public and no freckles. Yes, I am afraid of heights.
    Anyway it was fun, and I find I may not be passing on as many bad genes as I thought. Good news.
    And as far as I know I still have no Miller connection.

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