Recently, DTC genetic tests have become very popular due to a combination of reasons:
1. Decreasing costs of genetic tests
The cost of genetic testing in general has been decreasing primarily due to technological advancements and increasing consumer demand.
2. Increased interest in proactive self-care
Over the last few years, the self-testing trend has gained popularity due to an increase in self-awareness and self-monitoring.
This trend is facilitated by self-learning over the internet and other media and the availability of low cost internet-connected wearable devices enabling us to understand our bodies better.
Personalization in various aspects of health and well-being. We are at the end of the one-size-fits-all era.
We understand that carbohydrates are not equally bad for everybody, fat does not always cause high cholesterol levels, and COVID-19 does not affect everyone the same way.
Genetics enables us to understand our uniqueness in several aspects of life.
4. Ancestry has become a popular interest
Ancestry testing is the largest segment in DTC genetic testing. People love understanding where their ancestors came from- their genetic genealogy.
Not only that, The DNA data also allows people to discover their biological parents, siblings and other relatives through a variety of online services!
If you have received DTC genetic reports from one of many sources available, you may have come across the following:
Some results confirm your own observations about yourself, while others don’t. Why?
There could be several reasons for this:
- The test itself was not conducted properly and the data is wrong.
- The test was done properly, but the sample was contaminated.
- The sample was good and the test was conducted properly, but the interpretation was inaccurate.
- If all of the above were done correctly, but still there is discrepancy between your results and self-observation, keep reading.
Some examples of mismatch between self-observation and your genetic results:
> You have been drinking milk all your life without complaints, but your genetic test results indicate that you are lactose intolerant.
> Your genetic results indicate that your are NOT gluten intolerant, however, you have issues consuming gluten.
The above are but a few examples of how there might be a mismatch between your genetic results and your own observations about yourself.
Regardless of the reasons below, please remember that your observations or your physicians/healthcare professional’s assessment of your health overrules the findings of the genetic test report.
In other words, your consumer genetic test report is always secondary to other assessments.
- The field of genetics is fast evolving and our current state of knowledge is still in development. It’s possible that current research indicating a specific association might be revised in future.
- The research based on which a specific trait is associated with a variant is not applicable in all ethnicities. Meaning, it is true for some ethnic groups and not true for others
Genetics is about probability. Having a variant only increases the likelihood that the association may be true for you, but it’s not certain. It’s very much possible that other genetic and non-genetic factors overcome the association.