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7 Diseases You Can Learn About From A Genetic Test (2)

FAQS
  • What is the age limit for DNA tests?

    There is no age limit on DNA tests. A DNA test can be performed on an individual at any age.
  • What is a buccal swab?

    Buccal swabbing is a non-invasive way to collect DNA samples from the cells of a person's inner cheek. Buccal means cheek or mouth. A buccal swab resembles a large cotton tip. It is used to collect cheek cells by rubbing the inside of the cheeks. A buccal sample is as accurate as a blood sample. Check Sample Accuracy page to learn more.
  • What if the father is not available?

    It is possible to establish paternity even without doing an paternity test. Paternity can in fact be established by testing relative of the alleged father or your sibling. If only the child and relative of alleged father are tested, the results may not be completely conclusive. If the mother's DNA sample is available for the testing, the results will be more conclusive.
  • How long can I get my results?

    Once all the specimens have been received at the lab, results take an average of 3 business days. Rush results are available upon request.
7 Diseases You Can Learn About From A Genetic Test (2)
Issue Time:2017-12-19

Bipolar disorder

Also known as manic-depressive disorder, bipolar disorder is a mental illness marked by severe mood swings from despair to euphoria, according to the Mayo Clinic. Bipolar disorder affects 5.7 million Americans ages 18 and older, in any given year, according to the NIH.

Bipolar disorder has a strong genetic component, though the SNPs that researchers have identified so far account for only a fraction of cases. Up to 93 percent of cases may be triggered by heredity, according to 23andMe.

Tests look for a protein marker encoded by the ANK3 gene, which is involved in nerve cell structure and function, according to a 2009 study in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.

The average person's chances of developing bipolar disorder are 2 to 3 percent, according to the Center for Genetics Education in Australia. The risks increase with the number of relatives affected and their degree of relatedness: up to 70 percent if an identical twin is affected, 50 percent if both parents have the disorder, 20 percent if one parent and a sibling has it, and 13 percent if a single sibling has it.

Those with a mutation on a gene called Fat, located on chromosome 4, appear to be at twice the risk of developing bipolar as the average person, though scientists aren't yet sure why, according to the center.

Obesity

About one-third of Americans are classified as obese, meaning they weigh at least 100 pounds more than their ideal weight or have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher.

Scientists don't yet know how many genes are involved in developing obesity, though 23andMe attributes obesity to heredity in up to 84 percent of those affected.

Variations in a gene called FTO gene account for almost 7 pounds of weight difference, according to the company. A recent study also showed that levels of the FTO gene were higher in fatty tissue, according to 23andMe, and the SNP on the FTO gene seems almost exclusively associated with fat tissue rather than muscle mass or bone density.

Parkinson's disease

A neurological disorder caused by a loss of dopamine-producing brain cells, Parkinson's disease is marked by trembling in the limbs, jaw and face; stiffness in the limbs and trunk; and or slowed movement and impaired balance and coordination. At least 500,000 Americans have been diagnosed with PD, with another 50,000 diagnosed each year, according to the NIH.

Most cases of PD affect those over 50, and the average lifetime risk of developing it is small about 1 to 2 percent. However, mutations in a gene known as LRRK2 have been linked to a much higher risk of developing PD.

More than 50 variations of the LRRK2 gene are known, and several are associated with PD. A recent study found that a person who inherits a one mutation in this gene, called the G2019S mutation, from either parent has a 28 percent chance of developing Parkinson's by age 59 and a 74 percent chance by age 79, according to 23andMe.

Psoriasis

The most prevalent autoimmune condition in the United States, psoriasis affects as many as 7.5 million Americans more than 2 percent of the population, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation.

Characterized by red, scaly lesions that can cover any part of the body, psoriasis is up to 80 percent attributable to genetics, according to 23andMe, and occurs when immune cells known as T-cells attack the skin.

Variations in a gene called HLA-C are associated with psoriasis, and studies have shown that seven other DNA variations are linked to the disease. However, environmental triggers appear to be necessary for psoriasis to develop, and only 10 percent of patients with variations in their HLA do so, according to the National Disease Research Interchange.

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