You got the gift of Helix for the holidays. What’s next?
To the many people who received our DNA kits as gifts over the holidays, first of all, welcome! We’re delighted to have you with us, and we look forward to helping you seamlessly explore your DNA through products in the Helix Store for years to come. If you’ve already started your journey by sending in your sample to our lab, you’ll be getting your results soon (if you haven’t already).
Understandably, getting those results—no matter which DNA-powered product you received—can raise some questions. At Helix, we want to make sure that when it comes to your DNA, you’re always equipped with all the information you need to make the choices that are right for you.
You may be wondering, what do DNA results mean for me? No matter which product you received, the most important thing to remember is that DNA isn’t necessarily destiny. Our DNA plays some role in all of our traits—and our health (more to come on that topic in future posts). Sometimes the impact is small, and sometimes it’s bigger. So whether you’re learning about the product that was gifted to you or looking through your own results, it’s important to realize that genetics is one part of a much larger story that involves other factors like our environment and lifestyle. Combined, these factors are what make you you, and while each is important, none stand alone.
Let’s explore a few examples. If a result in a fitness product that you receive says that you’re more likely to excel at power sports than endurance sports, that doesn’t mean you can’t develop into an Olympic marathoner. Likewise, a result that says you’re less likely to enjoy the taste of cilantro certainly doesn’t mean you can’t like cilantro. Our team of scientists also has a way of quickly and simply explaining this concept for all our products. Look for the Science section on each product page, where we explain how much of a product’s traits are determined by genetics versus other factors (like your lifestyle and environment) on every product page. Here’s an example from embodyDNA by Lose It!:
Basically, these insights are part of your story. They can arm you with more information to help you make decisions, and ideally lead a healthier, happier life. Some of you may have received a fitness or nutrition product that combines these genetic factors with your lifestyle habits, and even a fitness trainer or health coach. These products integrate all this information so you can make decisions that make sense for you based on what you’ve learned about your genetic traits. Unlike fad diets—a hot topic right now with New Year’s resolutions in full swing—your DNA doesn’t change, but the products in the Helix Store can give you insight into (and control over) the choices you make.
Or perhaps you received one of the ancestry products like Geno 2.0 from National Geographic or Neanderthal from Insitome. There is a wide range of insights you can learn based on your genetic ancestry, and not all ancestry products have the same purpose. For example, one product may look at different regions of your DNA to reveal where your ancestors lived at different periods in time—an amazing chance to dig deep and see where your DNA has traveled throughout the world (not just in recent generations). Another product may tell you how much of your DNA was actually passed down from Neanderthals, while another gives you a glimpse into whether you are genetically adapted to be a hunter or a farmer.
It can be fun and educational to explore all of this history, adding to what you’ve learned from relatives, genealogical paperwork that you may have, and other sources. But it’s equally important to know that your family’s history is more than just your DNA. Your results—whether expected or surprising—do not define you. Instead, they add to and enrich your personal story. Interestingly, because of the way DNA is passed from generation to generation, ancestry results can differ within a family—even between biological siblings—so having your family members get tested along with you may paint a more complete picture of your family’s history. (And you may want to throw a party to reveal your origins in spectacular fashion, too.)
Finally, don’t forget to have fun! In many contexts, DNA can (and should) be a serious topic, but with Helix it can be entertaining, too. This is especially true if you received a product like Vinome’s Wine Explorer, which can help guide you to wines you’ll love based in part on genetic clues about your taste and smell preferences and partly on what you like to eat and drink. It’s this combination of genetic and other factors that make up your “genetic palate”—a little DNA and a lot of fun (I mean, it’s wine!). And Dot One’s fashion accessories—each designed specifically for your DNA, with colors chosen by you—include booklets that you can fill out to help you learn about the genes and associated traits that these products use in their designs. You might find that the booklet is just as exciting as the rest of the gift—just ask the Helix employees who’ve been filling them out at their desks in recent months!
We are passionate about providing you with the resources you need to enjoy your Helix journey. For further reading, please have a look at this article written by my colleague, Johnathan Bowes, where he lists some questions your family may have for you about your DNA results. (The article is holiday-themed, but the advice within applies year round.) You can also find our FAQs here. Don’t hesitate to reach out to our fantastic Customer Care team, which can either help you with your questions or point you in the right direction depending on which product you’ve received.
From everyone here at Helix, we sincerely hope you enjoy your gift. No matter which product you received, we have much more in store for you in the months and years to come, and we’re absolutely thrilled that you’re part of it.
Helix is the leading population genomics and viral surveillance company operating at the intersection of clinical care, research, and data analytics.