DNAPassport: The fun, easy way to learn amazing new things about yourself
Learning about your DNA for the very first time can be daunting and confusing, but it doesn’t have to be! DNAPassport by HumanCode is a fun, easy, and unbelievably affordable way to start learning more about yourself through your genetics.
And there’s a whole lot you can learn—in fact, you’ll get insights into over 40 traits that make you who you are! What are some of the amazing things DNAPassport will reveal about you?
Let’s start with something that many of us need to start our mornings: caffeine. You’re probably familiar with the effects of caffeine—increased alertness, decreased sleepiness, and (sometimes) jitters. But not everyone reacts to caffeine the same way; some people can drink a cup of coffee and lay down for a nap right after. What accounts for this difference? Genetics! Notably, one gene called CYP1A2 is associated with increased coffee metabolism and consumption. This change in the DNA causes caffeine to be broken down at a faster rate (so called fast metabolizers) when compared to individuals with a different version of the gene (slow metabolizers). This means that people who are “fast metabolizers” are less likely to feel the effects of caffeine.
Next, let’s talk about hair loss. You may have heard that your maternal grandfather (your mother’s father) determines whether you’ll lose hair with age. While a particularly important gene for hair loss can be found on the X chromosome (which men get from their moms), recent studies have shown that most genetic influence on hair loss comes from other parts of the genome and is less directly traceable to a single grandparent. DNAPassport examines the known locations in your genome related to male pattern baldness to estimate whether your look is more Bruce Willis or Fabio.
As physical traits go, your DNA can tell you about a lot more than your hair! A combination of genes work together to regulate the amount of melanin produced within the iris (the colorful part of your eye). If only small amounts of melanin are present, the eyes will appear to be blue. With more melanin, they’ll look more brown. DNAPassport examines some of the genes involved in this process and will help you understand how your genetics contributes to your eye color.
Speaking of hair, red hair is often associated with the appearance of freckles, which are clumps of pigment producing cells that are found in some people (especially after a lot of time in the sun). These little spots arise when certain skin cells produce higher amounts of melanin—the same pigment protein involved in eye color. The exact reason some people develop freckles while others don’t is not fully understood, but we do know that it is highly associated with multiple different genes. These genes produce proteins that regulate the production of pigment proteins like melanin. DNAPassport helps you explore your DNA to see if you’re likely to have freckles.
Regardless of whether you’ve got a few freckles, a bunch, or none at all, your genetic ancestry is uniquely yours (and it might be quite different from your siblings’ ancestry, believe it or not!). We all contain a rich history within our genome that’s told through long stretches of DNA that are inherited together across generations. Over thousands of years, changes have accumulated at different times and in different places in a way that scientists can use to trace your ancestry back to early human origins. DNAPassport provides ancestry information at the continental level—North African, West African, European, and so on—to help you follow your genetic history back through time.
Our ancestry has surprising impacts on who we are—and can even impact what types of foods we can process. A small change in the DNA sequence can influence production of the protein that breaks down lactose, a sugar found in milk, and can affect a person’s ability to digest milk products. People with one genotype may be able to produce enough of an important protein that helps them break down and absorb lactose. Interestingly, the development of lactose intolerance is not strictly binary—some people will be able to consume dairy but only experience mild symptoms, or may gradually lose the ability to digest it as they get older. DNAPassport will help you explore your DNA to find out if you’re likely to be lactose intolerant, in addition to other genes related to nutrient digestion.
As you can see, there’s a lot that makes you genetically unique, and we’ve only scratched the surface. But have you ever felt like you and your friends are cut from the same cloth? With DNAPassport, you can find out for sure! By adding people to your Orbit—your social circle inside the DNAPassport app—you can compare your DNA test results with those of your friends, family, coworkers, and more. This side-by-side comparison feature allows you to compare various genetic insights, including everything from ancestry to whether you’re likely to hate cilantro.
So, ready to start your DNA journey? Check out DNAPassport today!
Helix is the leading population genomics and viral surveillance company operating at the intersection of clinical care, research, and data analytics.