Leading ‘Direct to Consumer’ genetic testing companies

Direct to Consumer Genetic testing

From allergy to alzheimers, cancer to coeliac disease,  we can blame everything on our ‘Genes’.  These genes spread across our 23 pair of chromosomes and remains more or less the same throughout our life (leaving aside environment induced changes).

So it would mean if we are able to understand our problematic Genes well before, we would be able to combat our disease better or even prevent it from expressing by making lifestyle changes or even going under the knife (preventive double mastectomy done by Angelina Jolie)

We never heard of it in earlier days

2003 was a landmark year for geneticists. The very first human genome was completed in 2003 as part of the Human Genome Project, which was formally started in 1990. This costed a whopping $2.7 billion. This gave scientist new hope and with time and coming in of newer technologies the whole procedure became simpler. Now it’s possible to sequence entire human genome in a couple of days with less than $10,000. This does not mean everybody has to shell out so much. It’s possible to analyze a small stretch of genes (already mapped to diseases through research studies) to predict the possibility of developing disease like cancer or cardiovascular problems.

 Define Genetic Testing

Genetic testing is a type of medical test that identifies changes in chromosomes, genes, or proteins. The results of a genetic test can confirm or rule out a suspected genetic condition or help determine a person’s chance of developing or passing on a genetic disorder. There are mainly seven types of genetic test and over 2000 tests are available.

Can a simple medical test tell whether my child or myself will develop chronic illness?

Anne Wojcicki, co-founder of 23andMe

Anne Wojcicki, co-founder of 23andMe ran a swab across the inside of her baby boy’s cheek, and tested her daughter’s amniotic cells. She did this to get a glimpse of her children’s genes and determine whether they contain certain kinks that increase the risk of developing anything from gallstones to multiple sclerosis. “As a parent,” says Wojcicki, “the most responsible thing I can do is get as much information about my children as possible so I can then think through how I can make them as healthy as possible.”

Should I go to my Physician

Sequencing, or “reading,” a person’s genome has grown into an industry by itself.  Now one can even order these tests online from the comfort of their home, without any prescription from healthcare professional. This new age companies are called ‘Direct-to-Consumer’ genetic testing companies. They just need blood sample, cheek swab or saliva (based on the test selected) to perform the tests. The results are then send across through email or uploaded to personal account. The tests either confirm or rule out a person’s chance of developing a disease, or indicate a person as a carrier for a particular disease. The result often include dietary advice to prevent the onset of the disease, which is very valuable.

Define Direct-to-Consumer genetic testing companies

Direct-to-consumer genetic testing refers to genetic tests that are marketed directly to consumers via television, print advertisements, or the Internet.

Direct-to-consumer genetic testing refers to genetic tests that are marketed directly to consumers via television, print advertisements, or the Internet. This form of testing, which is also known as at-home genetic testing, provides access to a person’s genetic information without necessarily involving a doctor or insurance company in the process.

In total there are around 250 plus companies which offer genetic testing services. Click here for complete list

Trusted direct to consumer genetic testing companies

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Predictive Genetic Testing : Angelina Jolie, Anne Wojcicki, Anu Acharya

Predictive Genetic Testing

 

Angelina Jolie hit the news headlines in early 2013 by announcing her decision to go for elective double mastectomy after testing positive for mutated BRCA1. People from around the world suddenly came to know about ‘ Predictive Genetic  Testing’. The impact was really big. A retrospective study performed at a Toronto hospital in 2014, for example, reported that the number of women referred for genetic counseling skyrocketed by 90 percent in the six months after Jolie’s announcement. The number of women at the hospital identified as BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation carriers during that period jumped by 110 percent.

Why Predictive Genetic Testing is important

 “Error” in our genes (called “mutations”) can cause disease and predictive genetic tests help to confirm the disease probability in advance.

“Error” in our genes (called “mutations”) can cause disease and predictive genetic tests help to confirm the disease probability in advance. image
  • Determine whether you would get Cancer or other chronic illness in future
  • Determine whether your unborn child is prone to genetic disorders like Downs’Syndrome
  • Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) can prevent a couple from having a sick child
  • For couples who worry about passing along hereditary illnesses 
  • For children with diseases like autism, genetic testing can inform their pediatrician of specific contributing genetic factors influencing the severity of their illness. 
  • From infants to teens, parents can use genetic testing to confirm or rule out a suspected diagnosis
  • Help in avoiding unnecessary clinical investigations
  • Help in taking preventive measures to reduce the risk and severity of the disease in the future

Finally, Preventative care is the best solution for successfully treating or avoiding future illness

Angelina jolie effect

Predictive Genetic Testing ?

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