In the early 2000s, DNA tests were widely marketed directly to consumers. It was introduced for the purpose of reconstructing genealogies and investigating personal genetic heritage. Such DNA testing is beneficial in determining people’s inherited unique combination of genes from their ancestors.
The advances in science and technology have enabled biologists to secrete hidden information about the human genes as well as explaining the differences between one people in terms of physical appearance, sensitivity to certain types of treatment, susceptibility to diseases, and more.
Understanding DNA with some biology
Before delving into DNA, it is necessary to learn about cells, the basic building blocks of all living beings. Every human body contains trillions of cells that provide structure to the body and convert all nutrients derived from food into energy, allowing them to carry out various specialised functions.
Muscles, nerves, blood, and organs are made up of over 200 different types of cells. Major cells have a ‘brain’ called the nucleus, which contains all the necessary information required for the development and proper functioning of the organism.
The information is ‘written’ in a form of biological support structure called deoxyribonucleic acid, also widely known as DNA. DNA can be described as a collection of complex information about the organism, as well as a sophisticated molecule that contains all necessary information to build and maintain an organism. DNA can be found in the cells of every living being, and almost every single cell possesses the full set of DNA required for that particular organism.
Types of tests: Predictive Genetic and Pharmacogenomic Tests
Predictive genetic and pharmacogenomic tests are commonly used in the medical field for patients. A predictive genetic test is performed on individuals who show no symptoms but are interested in understanding the possibilities of genetic risk that might develop into a disorder later in life.
In most cases, the test would only provide an indication of a risk of developing the disorder, but it would not be a fully accurate predictor as environmental factors, in addition to genetics, play an important role. Pharmacogenomic tests are used to determine an individual’s sensitivity to a specific therapy or supplementation. Individual differences may necessitate a higher dosage of medication/supplementation for some people, while others may display a different outcome.
What does DNA Test have to do with wellness?
Today, in the age of personalised healthcare, DNA testing has come into place to serve a variety of purposes that benefit everyone. The goal of personalised health diagnosis is to enable medical practitioners to predict the best course of action for a patient in a timely, efficient, and accurate manner. Thanks to DNA testing, personalised health practices can now integrate and coordinate the data-driven approach for wellness programs individually from health to disease.
From there, medical practitioners can tailor specific supplementation plans or treatments for each patient, and this practice is also believed to provide better clinical results than traditional approaches. Traditional medical treatments were designed ‘regularly’ for patients, implying that the treatments were carried out in a ‘one size fits all’ approach. Hence, depending on the patients, the results for traditional treatments can be either very successful or the other way round.
Incorporating DNA testing in medical diagnosis is the next big thing in healthcare and wellness programs. Medical practitioners can improve their healthcare performance strategy by using DNA testing to provide more precise medication based on individual variants like genes, living environments, and lifestyles.