We have two copies of most of the genes we are born with – one from our mother and one from our father. This report assess single nucleotide polymorphisms generated from your unique DNA sequence to determine if one or both copies of your genes have a mutation at a specific location in a specific gene. If you’re looking for epigenetic testing in Bellingham, WA, read on to learn more.
Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) are variants that naturally occur on genes, causing changes in their functions. Some SNPs determine characteristics such as hair, eye, and skin color. While other SNPs have functional effects on ones genes, therefore can give insight on how well your body performs key functions that can affect your health and wellness. If there are no mutations present, your results will be displayed as (-/-). If one gene is mutated, the result will read (+/-). If both copies have a mutation, the result is (+/+).
What Does This Mean?
The terms heterozygous and homozygous are used by geneticists to denote whether one or both copies of a gene are mutated. Heterozygous mutations (+/-) may differ from homozygous mutations (+/+) in associated disease risk since a person with a heterozygous mutation will often still have one fully functioning copy of the gene. It is also important to understand that having a gene with a SNP mutation does not mean that the gene is defective or non functioning, only that it is working with an altered efficiency. Sometimes this means that it is working at a decreased level, but it could also mean that it is functioning at a higher than normal efficiency, or that the gene is lacking regulatory mechanisms normally involved in its expression.
Although mutations can occur at any time during our lifetime, it is most likely that we are born with these mutations and will have them throughout our life. These inherited mutations have been passed down to us from previous generations (our parents and grandparents) and may be passed to future generations (our children). This may provide an explanation as to why certain traits or diseases “run in the family”. Although we cannot change our genetic code, we can change how our genes are expressed. Research has revealed that our gene expression is not determined solely by hereditary factors, but it is also influenced by our diet, nutritional status, toxic load and environmental influences or stressors. This phenomenon has been termed “epigenetics”.
How Epigenetic Testing Works
If you have ever done epigenetic testing, such as a product like 23 and Me, Dr. Paul de Jong can assess the raw data to learn more about your epigenome. These reports can help him determine any issues with their neurotransmitter production and metabolism. In turn, this information can help tell us what sort of treatments are the best for you, and how well your body metabolises certain neurotransmitters, such as dopamine, serotonin or epinephrine.