4 Mind-Blowing Things Revealed by DNA Testing
While many folks associate DNA testing with paternity or crimes—I’m looking at you Jerry Springer and Law and Order: SVU. However, you might not realize that genetic testing can reveal some really amazing things. For instance, a DNA test can predict certain genetic disorders and developmental issues in unborn babies and even reveal your personal risk factors for specific inherited diseases, like colon or breast cancer, so you can take the proper precautionary measures for prevention.
In fact, research shows that DNA testing can pinpoint almost anything—from the breed of your pet to the off chance that your family is descendant of royalty. Here are four fascinating revelations from genetic testing…
1. DNA dieting?!
If you struggle with your weight, the secret to a svelter, healthier you could be discovered in your genes, according to a study out of University of California, Los Angeles. The study tracked the weight of 100 lab rodents who were placed on diets rich in fat and sugar, and found that mice with certain gene variants (also found in humans), were predispose to weight gain. The scientists speculate that 80-percent of body fat (and our ability to gain and lose it) is governed by our genetic makeup.
2. Identifying gene mutations
Genetic testing to discover certain gene mutations that can increase the risk of certain diseases is called the “Angelina Jolie effect” for a reason. When the famous actress tested positive for the BRCA1 gene in 2013, she elected for a double mastectomy surgery, followed by the removal of her ovaries and fallopian tubes 2-years later. Her actions were so impactful that Jolie encouraged other women to do the same, and as a result the rates for genetic counseling increased considerably, as did the number of women identified as BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation carriers. Although identifying a gene abnormality through DNA testing doesn’t guarantee a certain disease (i.e., colon cancer) in an individual—it can alert you to risk factors so you can take proactive steps to prevent it.
3. Royal blood
Remember that Christmas when drunken Uncle Bob announced that your mother’s mother side of the family are descendants of Queen Elizabeth? Maybe it’s time to get your DNA tested to clear up any doubt. A study out of University of Strathclyde, in Scotland, identified a genetic marker unique to the family line of King Robert III of Scotland, also known as Robert the Bruce. Even if you’re family doesn’t descend from noble lineage, a DNA test can reveal family associations to certain heraldry or coats of arms.
4. DNA dog whisperer
As a pet owner, it’s often frustrating that our furry friends can’t tell us when they’re lonely or bored or sick. But it turns out that DNA testing can explain your dog’s endless hunger for tennis shoes, and even predict predilection for certain breed-specific diseases. Companies such as
BioPet Vet Lab and Wisdom Panel, offer a cheek swab home test that will test your pooch’s DNA against over 190 breeds to determine specific behavioral and health markers according to genetics. But the question still remains: is your poodle a direct descendant of Napoleon Bonaparte?