Happy DNA Day!
HAPPY DNA DAY!
International DNA Day is celebrated on the 25th of April to commemorate the day in 1953 when James Watson, Francis Crick, Maurice Wilkins, Rosalind Franklin and their fellow colleagues published in Nature on the structure of DNA.
This breakthrough had a huge impact in the field of sciences, and particularly in genetics, and gave the basis to understanding the genetic code.
50 years later, in April 2003, the Human Genome Project was declared almost complete. This project was an international scientific project with the 'goal of determining the base pairs that make up human DNA, and of identifying, mapping and sequencing all of the genes of the human genome, from both a physical and functional standpoint.' It remains the world's largest collaborative biological project. More recently, on April 1 2022, the Telomere-to-Telomere (T2T) consortium reported the first truly complete sequence of the human genome. The sequence — over 3 billion base pairs long across 23 chromosomes — is now entirely gapless.
DNA Day is a day to encourage people to learn more about genetics and genomics, as well as to celebrate the discoveries and research into DNA and the scientific advancements that help make progress possible.
DNA or deoxyribonucleic acid is a long molecule that contains our unique genetic code. Our DNA is like a book of instructions to make all the proteins that are essential for our bodies to function.
DNA is a two-stranded molecule where the information is stored as a code made up of four chemical bases: adenine (A), guanine (G), cytosine (C), and thymine (T).
Benefits of genetic testing
In the era of personalised medicine, genetic testing is a major tool that can enable health practitioners to predict, prevent, and even reverse diseases.
A genetic test can provide lots of interesting information about someone: ancestry composition, and even finding relatives, finding out about intolerances to foods such as gluten or lactose (in dairy), explaining physical or personality traits, or health risks, or differences is how a medication works.
In general, a genetic test may be carried out for a number of reasons, which include curiosity, which is the case for many direct to consumer tests ( ancestry & health); investigation - to find and address the root cause of an existing health issue; prevention - pro-actively control for future health risks and finally for optimisation - performance or longevity.
Genetic testing is used to find out whether a person is carrying a specific genetic variance that may cause or increase the risk of developing a particular condition. To do so, genetic tests look at Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs), the most common type of genetic mutation in humans, or more structural changes, including copy number variations, (CNVs), or whole gene or even whole chromosome additions or deletions.
A SNP is a change from one nucleotide to another at a specific location in the genome, for example, an A may be changed to a T. There is usually a “wild-type” SNP (the original and most common one), and a “variant” SNP (the “new” and less common one). These can either have no effect at all or completely change the gene function.
The human genome is comprised of 3 billion base pairs, and SNPs occur almost once in every 1,000 nucleotides on average, so there are about 4 to 5 million SNPs in an individual’s genome.
A genetic test can enable and empower you to understand yourself like never before and adapt your lifestyle so you can become a healthier version of yourself.
At Lifecode Gx, we specialise in nutrigenomics - a sub-set of genomics that focusses on genes which impact nutrient requirements and are impacted by nutrition and lifestyle. We examine genes in the context of biochemical pathways, and identify the most relevant genes and SNPs in those systems. Only the most impactful and well-evidenced SNPs, selected by reviewing tens of 1,000s of research papers, are reported. More importantly, we assess how the risks indicated by those SNPs can be adjusted for by nutrition and lifestyle.
Environmental aspects such as diet, and other lifestyle factors influence gene expression, and can often compensate for the risk indicated by the genetic variant. This means that the health risks are not inevitable and can be supported or worked around.
For transparency, the SNP genotype (code) is reported alongside the interpretation/ description of the potential effects, along with references to research. Each report consists of multiple genes that influence a specific system, such as the nervous system, hormones/ endocrine or detoxification, and describes the effect of the SNPs in that particular context. Evidence based impact statements and nutritional and lifestyle recommendations are provided.
Our Nutrient Core report includes the genes and SNPs that have most impact on essential nutrient (vitamin) needs, as well as food intolerances, metabolism, inflammation, and sleep. Lifecode Gx specialist reports include one or more pathways diagrams representing the relationships between genes and nutrient and other environmental factors that can impact them. The pathways are personalised by embedding the genetic test results in the diagrams, thereby providing a holistic view of the genetics and environmental factors. The comprehensive, personalised, pathway presentation is unique to Lifecode Gx.
Alcohol Detoxification Pathway - Detoxification Report
At Lifecode Gx, we take data privacy and security very seriously. The laboratory destroys the DNA sample 3 months after the initial test, and the data is stored for only 6 months. The patient is informed and needs to sign a consent form. The genotyping laboratory identifies samples by the barcode ID only, and does not disclose or share data with any party other than Lifecode Gx.
If you are a health practitioner and want to use nutrigenomics in your practice, you can register with us as a Lifecode Gx practitioner. Practitioners who fully integrate nutrigenomics into their practice find that client engagement improves along with clinical outcomes. We offer a range of nutrigenomics training opportunities presented live online and recorded, from short 'snapshots' (which are free of charge) to practitioner 'masterclass' events which are priced according to the number of CPD approved hours. Access to live and recorded events is via our Crowdcast channel or Vimeo.
If you are not a health practitioner, know that our tests are available from registered health professionals who are experienced in using nutrigenomics testing. If you are not working with a practitioner, we offer packages which include testing and support including our Core package.