Cover Photo: This is an image of multi-well plates (small test tubes) in a row. Inside each tube is a dark substance with glowing colorful circles of matter floating inside. The floating matter are images of genes which have been artificially superimposed on the multi-well plates.
Image by National Cancer Institute/Tom Misteli/Sigal Shachar/Murali Palangat/Unsplash

Uncovering the Secrets of My Chromosomes Through Genetic Testing

I couldn’t fight off the sense that there is a certain absurdity to getting tested for a disease for which there is currently no cure.

To begin, an incomplete list of things I have inherited from my mother: light-red hair that is neither curly nor straight, an intense love of mustard that borders on the obscene, an obsession with cable medical dramas of the early aughts, a propensity for getting food stuck in the exact same spot between my left incisor and canine, an embarrassing affection for the music of Faith Hill, an antique crystal perfume dropper handcrafted in Yugoslavia, a lifelong aversion to the taste of meat, the keen ability to level a person with a single devastating glance, and, maybe, though this I can only assume, certain aberrations in my genetic code that may one day cause the rogue cells in my body to mutate and relentlessly divide.


a 2018 studyand

The Bell CurveGattaca

Good for you

Your test results are now available on our online portal!

set a tone



If not now, when?Gattaca

Marlena Williams is a writer from Portland, Oregon. Her work has appeared in the Yale Review, Electric Literature, Literary Hub, and others. She has an MFA in Fiction from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her essay collection Night Mother: A Personal and Cultural History of the Exorcist will be published by the Ohio State University Press in 2023.