What can you learn from your DNA?
What do a twin size mattress, Bruce Willis, and your DNA have in common? All of them are roughly the same height! Most of the cells in your body contain an enormous amount of DNA which, if the DNA in just one of them was laid end to end, would measure about six feet long.
Embedded within all of that DNA is a rich story about human history, present-day humans, and… you. Thanks to technological and scientific advances, the story that is held within your DNA is more accessible than ever. But you might be wondering: What can this story really tell you? Is there anything in there that can be helpful? This is where Helix can help.
Many people are first introduced to genetic testing through ancestry DNA testing kits. These DNA tests help you learn about your ancient relatives by analyzing markers in your DNA that have been passed down from previous generations. Using these tests, you’ll learn about the migration paths of your distant ancestors—and you might even come to find there’s some Neanderthal in your veins. Whether you discover links between your diet and the founding of agricultural society, or simply learn that you and your siblings have different genetic ancestry, these tests can be a fun place to start.
For some, caffeine is more than an ingredient in coffee—it’s a way of life. But did you know that your DNA may influence how caffeine affects you and your sleep? Some people have variants in their DNA which cause them to break down caffeine faster than others. This means they’re less likely to feel the full effects of coffee, or at least they’ll feel it for a shorter period of time. Could DNA explain why some people drink coffee before bed with no issues? Luckily, DNA tests are available to help you get to the bottom of this mystery. (If nothing else, you can get to the bottom of your coffee while reading your results and have some fun learning about human genetics in the process.)
Eating well and exercising are very personal endeavors—you do the work, you reap the benefits. So why not take a personal approach to them? It turns out that your DNA can have small influences over how your body processes some foods and how your muscles are built. Many of these tests are designed to help you use your DNA test results to understand metabolism and how your body likely responds to sugars and fats. Others let you take a look at exercise and how your DNA may be influencing your body’s response. From analyzing potential food insensitivities to helping you determine your odds of sports related injuries, DNA tests can be an engaging and personal way to approach wellbeing. Plus, you don’t just get insights about your DNA; these products can also come with an array of resources to help you learn about fitness and take the next step towards your wellness goals.
When you think of DNA testing, your mind might immediately turn to health—after all, many health conditions have a genetic component to them. The vast majority of variants in your DNA have no effect at all, but there are some that can affect your health. DNA tests can be used to evaluate your odds of developing certain diseases like rare forms of diabetes or familial hypercholesterolemia—a condition that causes chronically high levels of cholesterol. These tests are accompanied by numerous resources to help you understand your results and take the next steps towards living a healthy life.
Your DNA is a treasure trove of information, and new treasures are still being found. Around the world, scientists are making findings that uncover new aspects of the human story. The great thing about Helix is that you only have to be sequenced once no matter how many DNA-powered products and insights that you choose to buy—today, tomorrow, and beyond.
Helix is the leading population genomics and viral surveillance company operating at the intersection of clinical care, research, and data analytics.