Wish I Had My DNA Tests Earlier


DNA testing can be considered as a two-edged sword. However, I believe that understanding the power of epigenetics can address most of the common concerns. I learned fascinating lessons from my DNA tests and want to share my thoughts, findings, and experience with you.

https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=2WzjJ0_0Y3QFrNz00Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

In this story, I want to share key points on my DNA test experience and my personal viewpoints based on several years of engagement in this field. I was hesitant about DNA tests for long as there were many common concerns in my social and professional circles. I also read several points in the body of knowledge criticising genetic tests and showing them unnecessary and useless.

My experience is different from what I read in literature and heard in my circles. In this story, my focus is to share how DNA information provided me with an approach to address common concerns related to tests. Not only their accuracy but also ethical aspect are widely discussed.

Coming from a technology background and a performing sensible biohacker, genetics (DNA) testing has been a compelling interest for me. Wearing these two interesting hats, my interest developed over time. From a technological standpoint, I find the DNA tests an innovative and useful technology. From a personal development perspective, it is an insightful tool. Both premises helped me discover and learn more.

I noticed that genetics information is considered evil by some people. I read many stories criticizing them. Even my family physician did not support my choice for DNA testing. For example, one of the physicians characterized it as waste money. I have compassion and respect for opponent views as they have personal and scientifically proven reasons.

DNA testing for personal information is one of the controversial topics globally. There are mainly three groups. People in the first group support it. Those who are in the second group are against it. People in the third group are not aware of it or do not care about it.

Those who are against it mainly concerned about unnecessary anxiety it creates for the future events forecasted in the test reports.

Some limited studies confirmed the anxiety-inducing situations for DNA test data. For example, a study published in the scientific journal, Nature, titled “Learning one’s genetic risk changes physiology independent of actual genetic risk” reflects these concerns.

Even though I agree about the negative implications of DNA information on some people, my personal view, with due respect, is different.

I see DNA testing as a mirror to our future health reflected from our past (genetic code). Our genes determine our health to some extent, but environmental, emotional, mental, and biological factors play substantial roles too.

There are various genetics tests. The most common ones are carrier testing, newborn screening, forensic testing, ancestral testing, diagnostic, predictive, and pre-symptomatic testing. My interest was in the last two.

My open and growth mindset compelled the information and insights from the DNA tests. I saw it as an adventure and prepared myself for the process.

Before taking my DNA tests, I conditioned myself that this was the only indicative information. It did not mean that I had the indicated condition. It did not guarantee that I would catch this estimated disease to be caused by my faulty genes. This conditioning was beneficial to prevent me from potential anxiety.

I took the plunge and got my DNA tests.

The results arrived after three weeks.

There were two crucial benefits for the test results.

The first one is to learn about my heritage. To my surprise, my gene pool was from five different cultures. The predominant one was representative of my behaviour and health conditions. My dietary estimates based on my ancestors were spot on.

The second important point was my current genetic status and the risk factors for my health based on gene types. The report came with a large set of data. I saved it to my computer. However, the report included a very limited explanation of the components mentioned in the report. The report had referred me to see a qualified health professional who can interpret the data for me. This was initially a concern because I did not know who to contact.

By asking in my circles, I found a local genetics consultant who paved the way for me. It was costly but a worthwhile investment for me.

The health-related information I obtained from the consultant provided useful insights for taking necessary actions proactively. Contrary to claims for anxiety, knowing my weaknesses and risks did not create concerns for me.

I have been interested in epigenetics for a long time. It was time for me to put my knowledge into practice. The understanding of epigenetics helped me become a better consumer of genetics tests. As DNA data is comprehensive and convoluted, I also leveraged the expertise of other genetics consultants to interpret data in detail. The additional insights I gained worth the investment.

The body of knowledge in genetics taught us our genes could determine our future. For a long time, I believed that we were not able to overwrite genetic commands in our biology.

However, the emerging discipline of epigenetics informed us that our genes could be turned on or off by many other factors. When I reviewed factors, I noticed that diet, nutrition, stress levels, and environment play important roles in our biology.

For example, while one of my parents is diabetic, I am not. How does this relate to genetics testing? Because with this information, I adjusted my diet. I learned how to keep my insulin levels in an optimal state as unstable insulin is considered as one of the reasons for diabetes. There were many more examples like this that I changed in my transformation journey.

Epigenetics is an emerging science. Its main focus is on changes in organisms caused by changes of gene expression rather than changes of the genetic code itself. Understanding how gene expressions occur can be a powerful knowledge and invaluable insight.

When I discovered epigenetics and learned more about it, my outlook on life situations transformed into a more optimistic and joyful state. I learnt that we are not slaves of our genes anymore. We can change, and we have the power to steer our health based on our lifestyle choices.

Yes, we have the power to turn on the good ones and turn off the bad ones based on our life choices and actions. It is refreshing to have such a compelling option in life. It helps us to design our life. The technology is rapidly evolving. New techniques are introduced. I am hopeful that we can learn more interesting facts about our genes and learn practical ways to deal with them.

Even though I understand and acknowledge concerns about DNA tests, I still believe that they can be useful when they are used with guidance from professionals in the field. Yes, they are expensive but is there a price for health?

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I write about important and valuable life lessons. My ultimate goal is to delight my readers. My content aims to inform and engage my readers. Truth, diversity, collaboration, and inclusiveness are my core values. I am a pragmatic technologist, scientist, postdoctoral academic and industry researcher focusing on practical and important life matters for the last four decades.


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