What’s the deal with DNA testing?

We explain what DNA is and how testing can help you

Rappler.com

9:50:35am July 11, 2018

10:53:21am July 18, 2018

MANILA, Philippines – DNA testing has become more and more accessible to the masses, thanks to the emergence of various genealogy companies offering this service, with many claiming 99.9% accuracy.

In the USA, it has become so popular that the MIT Technology Review dubbed 2017 as “the year consumer DNA testing blew up,” with at least 12 million people undergoing the procedure either directly at labs or sending over their DNA samples through kits.

To get a DNA sample, a person swipes the inside of his or her cheek with a cotton swab. This saliva sample is then sent to a lab for testing. 

And then what happens next?

Below, we break down in simple terms what DNA is, why take the test, and how knowing it can help you live a better, healthier life. 

First things first: What is DNA?

The DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) molecule is often touted as “the building blocks of life” as it carries all our genetic information including physical traits and personality.

It was discovered in 1869 by Swiss physiological chemist Friedrich Miescher, who first identified it as the nuclein that’s found in the nuclei of human white blood cells.

Decades later, in 1953, American biologist James Watson and English physicist Francis Crick concluded that DNA exists in a three-dimensional double helix structure, which appears like a long and twisted and ladder-like string.

Why should I test my DNA?

Arguably the most popular reason is to discover their genealogy. Countless previously unknown or forgotten family relations have been, and continue to be unearthed or confirmed because of this.

But there’s more to DNA testing than finding out who one’s ancestors are.

One is to discover paternity. This information is usually used for adoption, child support, and immigration purposes, or to simply confirm the relationship between a person and his or her suspected parents.

In forensics, DNA testing is used to identify criminal suspects. For this, DNA is usually extracted from blood and other bodily fluids, hair, and skin cells found at the crime scene.

DNA testing is invaluable in the field of medicine, too. It’s used in prenatal genetic testing with the hopes of detecting genetic conditions even before babies are born. 

Lastly, DNA testing is helpful in assessing a person’s health to discover his or her chances of being affected by certain genetic medical ailments and conditions such as cancer, autism, and obesity. In doing so, care and preventive measures are immediately given to prevent or lower risk.

Where can I get my DNA tested?

DNA testing is available in the Philippines – a quick Google search easily yields a list of organizations to choose from depending on your needs and budget.

Better yet, you can start an insurance and investment plan that comes with a personalized health and wellness program based on your DNA – all in one product. 

Pru Life UK has recently introduced an exclusive and innovative “insuravest” – or investment-linked life insurance – solution: the myDNA Pro Bundle. It combines insuravest with the myDNA Pro Program, which provides comprehensive genetic testing to assess health risks and opportunities to increase a person’s overall well-being.

The myDNA Pro Program generates two personalized reports: the Nutrigenomics Report, which reveals how one’s body responds to a wide range of nutrients and chemicals; and the Health Risk Report, which evaluates one’s risks of developing Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and cholesterol. Through investigating one’s genetic patterns, the myDNA Pro program will suggest tailored diets and exercises aimed at helping customers lower their health risks and lead healthier lives.

myDNA Pro Bundle also comes with additional coverages that include hospital income, accidental death and disability, medical reimbursement, or critical illness. 

(READ: 4 tips to building a secured and fulfilled life)

To know your DNA is to know yourself. Armed with this knowledge, you are empowered to write your life the right way and live life the best way possible. – Rappler.com

To find out more about Pru Life UK’s myDNA Pro Bundle and various insuravest products, visit www.prulifeuk.com.ph/mydnapro. 

Sources:

2017 Was The Year Consumer DNA Testing Blew Up by Antonio Regalado, Tracing Your Ancestry by Leslie O’Hanlon (MIT Technology Review)

Discovery of DNA Structure and Function: Watson and Crick by Leslie A. Pray (Scitable by Nature Education)

Structure of the Double Helix (GeneEd Web)

The Purpose of DNA Tests by Paul Cartmell (Legal Beagle)

What is DNA Evidence? (FindLaw)

Baby’s DNA Constructed Before Birth by Elizabeth Landau (CNN’s The Chart)

Specific Genetic Disorders (National Human Genome Research Institute)

Genetics and epigenetics of obesity by Blanca M. Herrera, Sarah Keildson, and Cecilia M. Lindgren (US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health)