Is Your DNA Your Destiny?

DNA tests tell us a lot about what we can expect

DNA tests can tell us a lot about what we can expect in our future

The old “Nature vs. Nurture” argument has been around since Gluk the Caveboy started playing around with flint to the consternation of his cavemother and cavefather. Lately though, the argument has been tipping towards the nature side with the breakthroughs piling up in genetic research.

One BBC Reporter decided to do a genetic test and have his results analyzed. Here’s what he found:

Up pops a list of grisly conditions – most of which are familiar to me, indeed some of them lurk in my family history.

And it’s the ones that have touched my life that I am drawn to first. I click on Heart Attack, bypass the warm-up “introduction” to the condition, and head straight for my own “risk summary”.

I’m told: “According to the selected literature, the relative genetic risk calculated from your genotype for males of European ancestry is 0.90.

“This corresponds to a 44.2% lifetime risk of developing heart attack, which is 10% less than for males of European ancestry in general.”

So far so good, I suppose, but that’s still a high risk and I’m not celebrating with a full English breakfast yet.

I scan the list of 25 traits again and settle on Crohn’s disease. Here I’m told the research indicates that I have a lifetime risk 1.42 times the average. Not so good. But for Diabetes, types 1 and 2, better news.

Pretty neat! Read more from the above link to see what else the test told him about himself and then click on this link to see how the deCODEme site gives its users a genetic snapshot. 

And while you’re at it, check out George Church and his attempt to get 100,000 volunteers who’ll let his laboratory map 1% of their genetic code. It’s all part of The Personal Genome Project that Church is leading. He’s not a nobody, that’s for sure. Church is director of the Lipper Center for Computational Genetics at Harvard Medical School and in the spirit of openness he’s posted all of his personal details. Fascinating stuff.


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