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.
The traditional (and highly expense) route was to order a DNA test through your physician. Then a company called 23andMe began to sell an autosomal DNA test online that included a genetic health report. My wife and I found these reports fascinating and well explained.
Then on November 22, 2013, 23andMe was forced to suspend the health analysis part of its DNA test pending FDA approval.
Nearly two years later, on October 21, 2015, 23andMe was able to relaunch their service with FDA approval.
The 23andMe service in the US now includes reports that meet FDA standards for being scientifically and clinically valid. New customers will receive personalized genetic health reports that include carrier status, wellness, and trait reports.
The 23andMe test includes several additional features beyond health testing. Their DNA Relatives feature 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.
Another feature of the 23andMe test is their Ancestry Composition report. This shows you the relative percentages of your ancestry that came from different parts of the world.
This report breaks 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.
If you're only interested in genealogy, finding biological relatives, and measuring your ethnic ancestry, you should look into Family Finder at Family Tree DNA and the AncestryDNA test. Each is about half the price of 23andMe.
If your DNA reveals 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
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 23andMe DNA test is now available directly to people in the United Kingdom and Canada.
The health reports have been accepted by the regulating bodies there. So users get both ancestry and health reporting features.
To see those country-specific web sites click here. Then scroll all the way to the bottom to select the country.