Article at a Glance
- Whole Genome sequencing is the decoding of our entire DNA makeup.
- Our genes are not deterministic, but they help us take a proactive approach to our health.
- You can order sequencing of your entire genome from the comfort of your home and gain knowledge about your disease predispositions, drug sensitivities, ideal diet and exercise, and more
If someone said they could tell you all the diseases you are predisposed to, would you want to know the answer?
Well, that information is actually readily accessible to you now from the comfort of your own home through genetic analysis for those who want to self-quantify their whole genome. Here, we’ll introduce you to the world of Whole Genome Sequencing and show you how you can gain access to life-changing information about yourself.
What is Whole Genome Sequencing?
DNA, which stands for deoxyribonucleic acid, is a large molecule within all of our cells that harbor the code for our genetic makeup. It’s is made up of the nucleotides adenine (A), cytosine (C), thymine (T), and guanine (G), and their sequence defines the instructions for all human functioning. The whole DNA strand is subdivided into 24 chromosomes which are further subdivided into genes [R].
Sequencing DNA means unveiling the sequence of A, C, T, and G in a given organism.
Often, especially in highly marketed ancestry tracing DNA kits, only specific regions of your DNA are sequenced to give you information regarding your ancestry or the mutations of specific genes, like BRCA1 and BRCA2, the genes associated with breast cancer.
Whole Gene Sequencing (WGS) is different. It’s is the decoding of our entire DNA, or our genome, which harbors all the information about us, from eye color, to disease predisposition, to the ideal diet.
The first time this process was accomplished in 2003, it took 13 years and cost 2.7 billion dollars. Now, it takes 1-2 days and can be purchased for under $1,000 [R].
Why Self-Quantify your Whole Genome?
Finding out your genetic code is an anxiety-producing concept to many individuals, and perhaps rightly so.
Our genes play a significant role in our longevity. In fact, studies show that there is a 25-30% genetic contribution to human lifespan [R].
The rest, however, is determined by our environment – the air, exercise, diet, and general lifestyle. This means our genes are not deterministic. They play a crucial role in our health, but they don’t control our fate when it comes to longevity. Rather, our environment, which is controllable to a larger extent, influences our well-being much more.
It’s true that most health conditions have a genetic aspect – including diabetes, cancer, and heart disease – but having that genetic predisposition does not guarantee one will develop the disease.
WGS helps detect your risks of developing certain conditions based on your genes by identifying sequence variants that are associated with disease. This identification allows you to take necessary measures to either control their development and start treatment early, or prevent them altogether.
Disease predisposition aside, WGS allows you to understand yourself on another level, answering questions like why you prefer sprinting over long-distance running or why you’re more prone to side-effects of certain drugs [R].
Owning your genetic code is simply an asset to longevity. If you want to get started with figuring out your genetic code and making some directed changes to your lifestyle, we’ve found some of the best at-home kits for whole genome sequencing.
Dante Labs: My Whole Genome
Dante Labs offers a “My Whole Genome” kit that analyzes 100% of your DNA and gives you a full report that outlines potential predispositions you may have for certain genetic diseases [R].
In this kit, you’ll find FDA-approved directions for saliva collection. Once you collect your saliva, you send the tube to their Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA)-certified lab with a prepaid delivery service. Within 8-12 weeks, you get the analysis for your entire genome, including your mitochondrial genome, where you’ll be able to explore 20,000 of your genes.
Since science is constantly evolving and genes are being discovered all the time, Dante Labs offers you updated results regarding your genome at no additional cost as soon as there are new developments.
In addition, if there’s a specific disease or set of diseases you are especially interested in, you can contact them to get a customized report, specifically discussing your genes of interest, completely free of charge.
At just $899, they offer the least expensive WGS, but you’re still getting results with 99.7% sequencing precision. They also ship worldwide.
Veritas: My Genome
Veritas offers the myGenome kit for WGS. Their founder, Dr. George Church, was part of the Human Genome Project, the first international project that mapped all the genes in the human genome.
Similar to Dante Labs, their kit can be ordered online, which you will receive with directions for saliva collection. Your results become available for you and your healthcare provider on a user-friendly online platform. One noteworthy point is that in order to purchase your kit, you need a doctor’s sign-off. You can use your own doctor, or one provided by Veritas.
At $999 for their standard kit, you get insight on over 200 diseases, more than 40 carrier conditions (meaning conditions you may pass on to your children), over 150 drug sensitivities, and 50 traits related to nutrition, longevity, and more [R]. In addition, you get ancestry information as well as a review of clinically-actionable findings with one of their genetic counselors to help you and your healthcare provider interpret your results.
You can also go for their premium or diagnostic offers, which analyze your genes even more extensively, giving you insight on more diseases.
IS WGS Accurate?
Genome sequencing, although approaching levels of extreme accuracy, can occasionally provide you with erroneous information.
When looking for a self-quantification kit, always make sure your DNA samples are analyzed in a CLIA-certified lab that meets FDA standards. Dante Labs and Veritas both sequence and analyze DNA at CLIA-certified labs.
WGS has led to a major paradigm shift in the field of medicine and is fundamentally changing the way health is approached. Personalized, genetics-based medicine is the future.
To find the right healthcare provider to help formulate a strategy to outsmart your genes, help control disease, and extend longevity, browse through our directory of qualified providers.
The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. Information is provided for educational purposes. You should consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website.