23andMe genetic data testing has revolutionized and become a cliche and a fashionable ancestry tool in discovering family origin and family members. Humorously, the data also picked up on personal and buried family secrets that I’m sure were never intended to be revealed.
Incomplete Risk Data
While 23andMe is great for forecasting ancestry it has also packaged this personal genetic data to incompletely assemble risk associated SNP’s (Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms) that demonstrate correlation with certain diseases, namely, diabetes, heart disease, cancer and many more. There are shortfalls associated with such incomplete genetic data reporting, thereby making it a less than reliable and confident science.
Partial Data Not Sequenced
The paradox is that the data analyzed by direct to consumer (DTC) genetic testing companies is incomplete low confidence data and not fully sequenced data. In other words, it doesn’t completely evaluate all associated genetic risk indicators with a high degree of confidence. This criteria is not adequate to identify risk and definitely not diagnostic by any means.
Fully Sequenced Data
Fully sequenced data is known respectively as Whole Exome Sequencing (WES) or Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS). The primary difference between DTC genetic data and fully sequenced data rests in giving all variants associated with disease causing mutations with a high degree of confidence. Most DTC genetic testing companies do not offer this type of sequencing. This is primarily known by the sticker price of the testing.
As of February 2018 cost estimates for a single test ranged from $555 to $5,169 for WES and from $1,906 to $24,810 for WGS. https://www.nature.com/articles/gim2017247. This pricing may have reduced a bit currently. However, 23andMe (non-sequenced) advertises $199 for their expanded test which is otherwise $99.
Disadvantages of DTC Data
On the standard reporting content on the 23andMe web portal for customers, the qualifying disclaimer is noted, “not all risk variants have been determined or listed.” Simply, they are not determined because they have not been fully sequenced. A partial list of non-sequenced risk factors of low confidence misleads the consumer into thinking they have high risk for a disease that they may not be at risk for or may be at low risk for a disease that they are at high risk for. Non-sequenced genetic data is misleading and not considered diagnostic data and it doesn’t adequately assess risk.
Decoding with Confidence
I am not discouraging in any way the use of 23andMe, just merely pointing out the differences for clarity. In my opinion, DTC companies like 23andMe are creating greater awareness and are value adding this exciting specialized molecular science. Let’s go one step beyond and decode with the highest confidence and make it available to the consumer as well. This involves making WES and WGS available to the public and rightfully so. Your right to a complete sequencing of your genetics for all of your health related needs.
Data; Your Inner Doctor and Potential Cure
The empowerment resulting from complete personalized genomic sequencing is limitless. Your personalized data can map molecular interactions that are implicated in health and disease process, more powerfully, be utilized to develop a curative design to enhance your wellness. Molecular communication is key to programming many body systems. The immune system is one of the hallmarks of genetically controlled pathway interactions to fight and adapt against disease favoring longevity and quality of life. Your personalized data sequences can reveal vital needed molecular edits that can reprogram faults associated with disease risk and architect a curative design. Respectively your data then becomes your inner doctor and your potential cure.
All Gain and No Fear
Your data is not a death sentence and it is not anything to fear. When personalized genome sequencing is used for curative design it is hopeful and life saving. Decoding your DNA for this purpose is your right, your inner doctor, your design and your potential cure!
The better choice is to secure your best healthcare options. Whole Exome Sequencing and Whole Genome Sequencing are powerful tools for your health and well-being. You never know if ever needed it can be your cure.