Are you being ripped off? Correlation vs. Causation in Genetic Tests

Are you being ripped off? Correlation vs. Causation in Genetic Tests

Genealogy, science
Updated August 18 with information about Microbiome testing. For those of you new to the genetic testing field, you should first have a solid understanding of correlation versus causation. The distinction between these scientific terms can allow you to get the most out of your genetic tests, and truly understand how your genes affect your health and lifestyle. While the two terms are related, the difference between correlation and causation is similar to the difference between an educated guess and knowing the answer outright. Knowing whether a genetic report is based on correlation or causation makes a big difference in how serious you should take the results (or how good is the test kit).   First, let’s get an understanding of what correlation and causation actually are. Correlation A correlation…
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Are Telemore DNA Tests Reliable?

Are Telemore DNA Tests Reliable?

Genealogy, science
What are Telomeres? Telomeres are distinctive structures, regionized in DNA strands which are located at each end. They are caps to prevent the chromosome from deteriorating, somewhat like the plastic shells of a shoelace. They have a repetitive, short DNA sequence and are many kilobases in length. The Telomeres also prevent fusing with neighbouring chromosomes. Telomeres derives from the two Greek words “telos” which means “end” and ”meros” which means “part”. The sequence in human Telomeres is TTAGGG, which is repeated around 2,500 times. There are 194 Telomeres in a human cell, 4 for each of the 46 chromosomes. What are Telomere tests As cells age, its Telomeres gradually become shorter. The average cell will divide around 60 times before it dies. As the cell divides, the Telomeres of course…
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DNA Data Testing: How Accurate and Useful?

DNA Data Testing: How Accurate and Useful?

science
DNA testing kits are an amazing piece of technology. Just imagine, in 2003 the Human Genome Project was completed. It took scientists BILLIONS of dollars and an entire DECADE to complete. Today, you can have important pieces of your DNA tested for less than $100, or get your entire genome sequenced for less than $1000. Not only this, but you can get the results from the comfort of your home, after sending in a simple DNA sample from your cheek cells. Companies like 23andMe, Ancestry, and Veritas Genetics have sprung up to bring the power of DNA testing to the masses. These companies offer a number of different tests, ranging from what your genetics can tell you about your genealogy to the various disease risks you may carry due to…
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23andMe Polygenic Risk Scores

23andMe Polygenic Risk Scores

science
When it comes to innovating genetic testing, 23andMe is always at the forefront of science. Not only were they one of the first companies on the genetic testing scene, but they were one of the first to get their breast-cancer screening test approved by the FDA. The company is partially owned by Google Ventures, Google’s start-up investment wing. This gives 23andMe a technological edge over other companies, and they are often the first on the market with a new offering. Recently, 23andMe started offering a polygenic risk score for diabetes, offering another thing to differentiate it in the 23andMe vs Ancestry battle and marking it as a top leader in both ancestry testing and health testing. [su_box title="Recent comment from the UK Health Minister" style="soft" title_color="#262424"]The UK Health Minister has…
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The Truth about Genetics and Disease: Is it Nature, or Nurture?

The Truth about Genetics and Disease: Is it Nature, or Nurture?

science
The FDA recently approved 23andMe’s genetic test which screens for breast cancer. The move was heralded as a great advancement in the field of direct-to-consumer genetic testing. Many people purchased the test, hoping it would reveal whether or not they would get breast cancer. However, in its approval, the FDA also mentioned some serious limitations of the test. For one, it only tests for 3 of thousands of known mutations. If any other spot in the BRCA gene is mutated, the test would show negative when you actually do have a higher risk. But more importantly than that, the BRCA mutations they screen for are “rarely found” in the general population. Even those of Ashkenazi Jewish descent, who experience a higher rate of the mutation, only find it in around…
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Home DNA Paternity Test

Home DNA Paternity Test

Genealogy, science
Can Direct-to-Consumer Genetics Tests Provide Accurate Results? First, How Does Paternity Testing Work? Paternity testing, like other forms of familial testing (sibling, maternal, etc.) is a relatively straightforward practice. Other forms of DNA analysis rely on understanding the genes involved and their relationship with disease. In paternity testing, scientists are simply checking to see if the DNA matches in various locations. In this article we will focus on home DNA paternity tests. To understand how this process can identify someone as a direct family member, you must understand a little bit about genetics. A human starts as two different cells, the sperm and the egg. Inside of these cells is exactly half of the DNA necessary to create a human. Both cells contain 23 chromosomes, or parts of DNA. Half Mom,…
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Autosomal testing vs Mitochondrial testing (mtDNA) vs Y-Chromosome testing

Autosomal testing vs Mitochondrial testing (mtDNA) vs Y-Chromosome testing

Genealogy, science
When going over your options for a direct-to-consumer DNA test, the options can be overwhelming. Between the different companies available, testing methods used, and services provided, it can be hard to choose a company and plan with any confidence. In terms of testing methods alone, there are several approaches different companies take to analyze your genetics. In general, companies tend to analyze up to 3 different parts of your genetic code. The majority of companies test your Autosomal Chromosomes. These chromosomes represent a majority of your DNA. They account for 22 of the 23 chromosomes. The 23 chromosome is your Sex Chromosome, and contains two forms: X and Y. Females have a pair of X chromosomes, while men have an X and a Y. Because the Y is always passed down…
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Genetics Terms: Things to Know about DNA Test Results

Genetics Terms: Things to Know about DNA Test Results

science
Before you order a DNA Test or whole-genome analysis, you should probably beef up on some of those biology terms you have long forgotten. But worry not! This guide will lead you through all the terms you need to understand when getting the results from a direct-to-consumer genetic home test. First Things First, What is DNA?  DNA is shorthand for deoxyribonucleic acid. This molecule holds all of the information your cells need to survive and reproduce. DNA is stored as chromosomes, and humans have 23 unique chromosomes. Each of these chromosomes contains the information necessary to produce various proteins, which work together in immensely complex networks to form a functioning body. On each chromosome, there are multiple genes. Each gene is made of small molecules called nucleotides. There are only…
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