and Your Health
Personal Genomics is a new form of genetic testing that uncovers the personal health traits that you inherited from your ancestors.
Specifically, these DNA tests can measure your inherited risk for genetic disorders, your carrier status for diseases you could pass on to your children, and your likely response to certain drugs.
Home Test Kits
Several personal genomics companies sell testing services online. After placing your order, they send you a “spit kit.” Following their directions, you provide a saliva sample in a tube and mail it back to the company for analysis.
When the results of your personalized DNA test are ready, you can see them online at a password protected web site.
Keep Results in Perspective
Personal genomics companies provide a wealth of information on each condition. Plus, most offer free genetic counseling by telephone to help you understand your results.
If your DNA reflects a higher than average risk for a certain disease, there is no need to panic. Genetics only accounts for part of the risk. Other factors such as diet, exercise, smoking, and obesity have a major influence for many conditions.
Just knowing you have that higher genetic risk can help you take more control over your health. Lifestyle changes may offset your genetic risk. Plus, personal genetic information allows you and your physician to choose and schedule screening tests more appropriately.
Likewise, you should not allow a lower-than-average risk to create a false sense of security. Again, genetics is only part of the big picture. But it’s an important part that you should know.
The Best Health Testing Company
The genetic health testing company I recommend is the one I have used for myself and my family. 23andMe is the leader in this field and they do an excellent job of explaining each medical condition and the impact of your personal DNA results.
The 23andMe test includes several additional features beyond health testing. Their
compares your DNA with others in their database to produce a list of genetic cousins. It's a popular feature with genealogists researching their family trees and adoptees searching for biological relatives.
Since 23andMe allows you to download your raw data, you can transfer it to the Family Finder database at genetic genealogy leader
Family Tree DNA
to uncover even more matches.
Learn About Your Ancestry
Another feature of the 23andMe test is their
report. This shows you the relative percentages of your ancestry that came from different parts of the world.
This report is the only one to break down European ancestry into sub-regions. Plus, it can spot Native American and Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry.
The test also reports your Y-DNA and mtDNA haplogroups, so you can see the ancient ancestry of your paternal and maternal lines.
Overall, it's a great package of DNA information. Furthermore, the company is heavily subsidized by investors to attract as many participants as possible.
Follow this link to the
web site to see the current price and learn more.
NOTE: Laws in a few states, e.g. New York and Maryland, restrict your ability to order a medical DNA test without going through a physician. Therefore, the 23andMe test kit cannot be delivered to or returned from addresses in those states.
I have heard that people with friends or relatives in other states are finding ways to get around those restrictions.
Alternative Health Testing Companies
If you want to check out some alternatives before making your decision, the following companies are all reputable.
only sells test kits to physicians.
is many times more expensive than the 23andMe test.
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