There is a lot of marketing and advertising for genetic predisposition DNA testing and many consumers who don’t really know how genetics work (that is nearly everyone who isn’t a genetic scientist) will assume that the company advertising this is well researched and is offering something valid or else why is it allowed to be marketed?
Take the company 23 & Me for example, you can barely find a channel on the television that doesn’t carry one of their ads about finding out about your health or genetic traits that might affect or explain your unique physiological functioning. The FDA, however, has found that 23 & Me failed to provide scientific evidence for their genetic tests and the FDA has urged them in a public letter to halt the marketing of their services until further notice. What was 23 & Me’s response? They simply moved outside of the US to a country outside the jurisdiction of the FDA and continued on with their business.
DNA testing can show genetic diseases in persons and markers for predisposition of a disease but genes can be likened to an architectural blueprint. Blueprints don’t become a building until a builder actually starts building what is on the blueprint and genes don’t become active until they get signaled to act.
So what signals a particular gene to become active? New research into a field called epigenetics say that our environment, thoughts and beliefs are what actually sends signals to the genes to activate. Epigenetics is the study of cellular and physiological traits, or the external and environmental factors, that turn our genes on and off, and in turn, define how our cells actually read those genes.
Award winning researcher of epigenetics, Dr. Bruce Lipton, has written several books on the subject. The two most famous books are The Biology of Belief and Spontaneous Evolution. These books are must reads if you want to understand how epigenetics work and this new information about how genes actually turn off and on makes testing for genetic predisposition something that should be approached cautiously.
Educating yourself on epigenetics first before you decide to do genetic predisposition testing is a wise choice. Like most cutting edge research it takes time for the medical community at large to embrace new information so many doctors still subscribe to doing genetic predisposition testing so it’s best to educate yourself on all the research available and not rely on just one point of view. The more informed you are the better decisions you can make for your body and your life.