Fact or Fiction Blog

Gaming for Noobs

August 1, 2018

My boyfriend introduced me to World of Warcraft. I didn't know anything about the different WoW classes so I took his advice when he told me to play a healer.

He thought a healer was a good fit for me because I work in healthcare. Also, maybe he hoped I would be the supportive girlfriend healing him from the sidelines while he'd be the attacker wielding damage.

He was wrong.

The playing style of a healer didn't fit me. I quickly became bored and wasted many frustrating hours. It wasn't until I played a Hunter that I really got into WoW.

It turns out, my genetics could have predicted this:

Hunter's Play-style Trait Genes that Predict Trait My DNA has:

Hunters are a good solo class.

WSCD2, PCDH15 3 out of the 4 "introvert" variants

Hunters are a damage class.

COMT 1 out of the 2 "aggressive" variants

Hunters attack from afar.

BDNF, DRD2/ANKK1 2 out of the 4 "coward" variants

Once I started playing a Hunter, everything fell into place. I'm an introverted solo player that likes to aggressively attack from afar.

You (or your WoW playing partner) may not be aware of certain aspects of yourself -- that's where genetics can help.

DNA Fiction now has World of Warcraft to see what class matches your genetics. There are two types of genetic matches:

  • Game play match: Game play is how good a player you'd be for this class. For example, if you want to play a spell-caster, it helps to have good memory.

    Screenshot from "Game play match" in World of Warcraft

  • Role play match: Role play match is good for cosplay. If you were living in Azeroth, which class would be the best for your survival? For example, if you have the genetics for violent behavior, you'd make a great warrior, jumping head first into battles.

The Class Browser shows your genetic match for both game play and role play combined. This is your best overall match.

Screenshot from "Class Browser" in DNA Fiction's World of Warcraft

If you're struggling to find the WoW class that's right for you, your DNA can suggest what classes are the right fit. So you can start enjoying the game right away.

Of course, genetics is not a perfect predictor of your personality; your upbringing plays an important role in who you are. Still, DNA Fiction could help save a couple of frustrating game sessions.

Having fun with your DNA while keeping it safe

May 12, 2018

Sharing your DNA online can have consequences for you and your relatives. Investigators found the Golden State Killer by using a genealogy website. [Ref]

How do we protect your DNA?

It's important to understand how FBI and police detectives use DNA databases.

To find the Golden State Killer, investigators searched the DNA of the individuals was publicly available. They searched genealogy websites where the DNA was searchable by everyone and anyone.

We don't make your DNA publicly available. Go ahead, look anywhere on our website. You won't be able to find anyone's DNA records-- they're stored behind secure firewalls. In fact, we're more secure than genealogy companies because hypothetically, the police could pretend to be a customer and submit the perpetrator's DNA sample to a genealogy company. With the genealogy results, the police could start investigating based on the ancestry matches. But here at the DNA Fiction, we never provide matches with real people, instead we give you matches to fake people.

Since our results are make-believe and theoretical, the police will never find you or your relatives on our website. The police could get basic physical characteristics like skin, eye, and hair color off this website, but that's too broad to identify you or your relatives. So even if the police submitted DNA to our website, all they'd get is that the DNA is similar to Ramsey Bolton from Game of Thrones, which would be of no help to them at all.

How does DNA for ancestry work for fantasy worlds?

May 11, 2018

How can we take your DNA from DNA testing companies to predict characteristics like intelligence, creativity, and kindness?

You might have taken your DNA test because you were curious about your ancestry or your health. Most DNA tests examine your SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms, pronounced 'Snip'). A SNP can tell you where you come from. It can also reveal if you have disease risks or certain traits.

What is a SNP? DNA is composed of A, C, G, or T's. A SNP is a location in the DNA where there are two possibilities for the DNA. For example a SNP could mean that a C or an A can be found at the location. Because you have inherited DNA from your mother and your father, you can inherit a C or an A from your mother and a C or A from your farther. So your SNP could be a CC, AC, or an AA.

Here is an example of SNP rs1426654, which has 2 possible values, a G or an A.

Credit: HGDP browser

The figure shows that A's are found in Europeans, while G's are found in non-Europeans. Hence, if we looked at your DNA and found 2 A's (AA), we would conclude you're from Europe. But if you're CA or CC, you're likely not from Europe, but maybe from Asia or Africa. This is at a continental level, we need more SNPs to increase ancestry resolution at the country level and family level.

This particular SNP also plays a role in skin pigmentation. People with the A allele have lighter skin color, while people with the G allele have darker skin pigmentation. This SNP explains why Europeans have lighter skin color [Ref].

DNA testing companies can use this SNP to infer what continent you're from (Europe, Asia, Africa, etc.) DNA Fiction can use this SNP to infer your skin color. There is a lot of overlap between DNA testing companies and the DNA Fiction characteristics.

Credit: Thomas Shafee CC BY

The overlap between DNA testing companies and genetic characteristics is because everyone uses the same technology (microarray platforms made by companies Illumina and Affymetrix), and its this technology overlap that we're exploiting. The SNPs used by the DNA testing services are also studies and well-characterized by researchers. SNPs are used in research studies to study disease (cancer, heart disease, diabetes) and traits (height, intelligence, fight-or-flight response).

So as a consequence, when a researcher finds a variant that increases alcoholism or any trait we're interested in, we can include it in our predictions.