1840: Genetic Testing Results

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Jump to: navigation, search
Genetic Testing Results
That's very exciting! The bad news is that it's a risk factor for a lot of things.
Title text: That's very exciting! The bad news is that it's a risk factor for a lot of things.


Ponytail continues Cueball's medical checkup with a genetic test. Genetic tests show people genetic diseases that they might be at risk for and/or give them insight into their ancestry. In this case, the genetic results are extremely obvious: His genes are part of a long line of genes stretching back to some of the earliest life forms to have genes. This information is universally true - every known organism has such a genetic history - which makes it so vague as to be useless for either medicine or ancestry.

In epidemiology, a risk factor is a variable associated with an increased risk of disease or infection. The title text says that this is a risk factor because being a living organism is, trivially, associated with every disease that exists.


[Cueball is seated on an medical examination table while Ponytail stands dressed in a doctor's coat holding a file in her right hand.]
Ponytail: Your genetic test results are back. Apparently you're part of an unbroken lineage stretching back billions of years to the early Earth!


  • Randall has previously joked about what should be the obvious results of genetic testing in 830: Genetic Analysis.
  • Randall makes a similar joke in the title text to 674: Natural Parenting: "On one hand, every single one of my ancestors going back billions of years has managed to figure [having kids] out. On the other hand, that's the mother of all sampling biases."

comment.png add a comment! ⋅ comment.png add a topic (use sparingly)! ⋅ Icons-mini-action refresh blue.gif refresh comments!


Add in comment on joke between Genetic and Generic? The results are very generic, as all humans are from an unbroken line going back thousands of years. Perhaps add in a comment about what unbroken lines are typically in relation to, rather than how they are used here? 14:36, 22 May 2017 (UTC)

Life is the single most important risk factor for death. Nialpxe (talk) 14:52, 22 May 2017 (UTC)

Oooh... is this comic going to be a series? --JayRulesXKCD what's up? 16:56, 22 May 2017 (UTC)

I initially thought that the image of today's comic was a repeat of the first panel of the previous comic. Thanks to image overlay [1], I know it's not true. Xenos (talk) 02:24, 23 May 2017 (UTC)

I may be off base here, but I feel that the timing of this comic is relevant, as it ties into the recent influx of internet ads for AncestryDNA's genetic test service on platforms like YouTube. Their ads boldly claim to track your entire genetic lineage for $100, and this comic could be lampooning this latest trend (they have usurped Audible and Squarespace)as the go-to YouTube sponsor. If so, it may warrant reference in the explanation to explain the timing and possible inspiration for the comic. 19:20, 23 May 2017 (UTC)

Imho the current explanation is sufficient. Long is not equals good. Vote for removing the incomplete tag. Elektrizikekswerk (talk) 07:15, 24 May 2017 (UTC)