Friday, April 04, 2014

A Few Things I Learned Cross-Referencing My Limited DNA Results with the SNPedia database.

Okay, in an effort to have some concrete data to show me, my sister Serena offered to pay for a saliva DNA test.  She explained that it couldn't conclusively prove gluten intolerance, but it was the only test she could get for me without scheduling an appointment with a doctor, which would have been difficult since we live in different states and I have a weird work schedule.  By the time my birthday/Christmas came around, I had already found my own concrete proof that she was correct, but she went ahead and ordered me the test anyway because I have an interest in geneology.

And it's been fun exploring those results; however, it's obvious that there is a lot more research to be done.  Many people with documented Native American ancestry, don't show up as Native American, for one thing.  And I don't come up as Asian, even though several genes that contribute to my skin-tone are more common in south-east Asia than anywhere else.*  Of course, the only sure genealogical lines you can test for is your matrilineal line - and if you're male, you have your patrilineal line also.  I know my patrilineal line only because my sister had our dad take the test and I got that information from him.

Anyway, I decided that since it was my DNA, I needed to have a copy of my raw results, so I could have it analyzed better in the future.  I had a heck of a time finding out how I could download that information. Scouring the forums, I found a site that could cross-reference your results with the SNPedia database, and visiting the site, I found the extremely easy instructions for downloading my own raw data.  A week later, after doing some research on my own, I ordered the report from the site.  I did this fully aware that this was not a reliable way to diagnose health issues.  But even if I didn't know that, it would have become very obvious that not every gene I had, had a say in my body's functioning:

1) For instance, I supposedly have a high risk of Alzheimer's.  A total shock, since there is NO record of it in my family history.  However, there are several genes involved in getting Alzheimer's, and while I have a few that increase my risk, I also have several other genes that decrease my risk - and they outnumber the ones that increase my risk 2 to 1.

2) Of all the diabetic risks I have genetically, the one that appears the most likely for me to have, never happened.  I never experienced gestational diabetes.  Nor did I have hypertension.  I did have very, very low blood pressure during both of my pregnancies.  Based on some other genetic results and the physical manifestation of them, I think another condition may have flared up during my pregnancies.

3) I supposedly have more genes protecting me from psoriasis, than making me susceptible for it.  I have physical proof on my body right this moment that the risk factors for it won over the protective ones.

On the other hand, there were many results that were so spot on that it was spooky.  I had to remind myself several time, "Of course, it is, Mandy. This is what determines that you have this trait."

1) I've been told that I have an Asian tint to my very fair skin.  As I stated earlier, my genealogical DNA results doesn't show this, yet my cross-referenced results shows my skin color to be a mix of European fair skin and Asian coloring.

2) I can definitely digest milk.  And low fat diets don't make me lose weight at all, which was part of the reason I lost faith in most diets.

3) I do have smaller than normal mosquito bites.

4) I need larger doses of several medicines before they are effective, but I need only half the amount of caffeine.  This is partly why I dislike going to a doctor for medicines.  I'm often better off not having some medicines, than only have them partially work.

I don't know who said it originally, but there is a saying that goes: "Genetics loads the gun, environment pulls the trigger."  By the same token, environment can jam the gun too.  At least that's what I assumed happened to a gene that usually makes people a little taller than average.  At 5'4", I'm literally the shortest person in my family of origin.  But I also was a very hard infant to feed.  My mother's stepmother finally got me on 2% milk somewhere between 6 and 9 months, and I stopped being colicky and started putting on some weight. Of course, I found that there are other genes involved in height, but it was not specified as to how they were in the report I currently have.  I'm sure more detail will be available as more research is done.

I also found out that my raw data had some holes in it.  I discovered this when I was investigating the genes involved in personality (which is a blog post in itself).  While my genes matched four of my Big Five personality results, the genotypes for the extroversion genes are missing.  I may re-do the test in a few years to see if I can get better results.

As for the gluten intolerance, it turns out I do have a few risk factors for Celiac's disease, some protective factors, and several that don't have enough data to make a clear conclusion with. But as I said, I have other solid proof of my gluten intolerance.  I may share a few of my other DNA discoveries in later blog posts.

*Found this through the Promethease report.

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