The Futura Genetics DNA test allows you to measure the risk of developing any of the 28 most common diseases worldwide. Our team of experts selects the most appropriate genetic markers for each disease, based on their experience from thousands of DNA studies on SNPs (Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms), which are associated with disease in the human body.
SNPs are genetic variations among individuals and serve as ideal genetic markers for testing. Futura Genetics’ DNA test provides you with knowledge about the probability of developing the most common diseases and helps you understand what actions to take in order to minimize your risk.
Every cell in our body (except for a few specialized cells, such as red blood cells) contains 23 pairs of chromosomes, located within the nucleus and each made up of a single DNA molecule wrapped around proteins. A DNA molecule consists of two complementary intertwined strands, each strand a polymer composed of monomers called nucleotides. There are four different nucleotides (abbreviated A, T, G, and C), which are linked, together in a very specific order to make the long chain of the DNA molecule.
Each nucleotide on one strand pairs with a specific nucleotide on the opposite strand through weak interactions. The A pairs with the T and the C pairs with the G. Such pairing between nucleotides holds the two strands together forming a double helix. There are millions of nucleotides in each DNA molecule. The largest human chromosome (chromosome number 1) contains about 220 million nucleotide pairs!
A Gene is a region within a DNA molecule containing instructions for making a particular protein. Proteins carry out most of our bodily functions, and when they fail to work properly, diseases may occur. Humans have about 20,000 genes. To make a protein, the one gene responsible for that protein must become active, such gene will then be considered expressed. When certain genes become expressed in a cell, the proteins made will define the specific traits of that individual cell.
Cells in our body differ from one another depending on their structure and function. These differences are brought about through the activation of specific genes leading to production of specific proteins. For example, a subset of cells in our pancreas is responsible for the secretion of insulin, an important hormone regulating sugar metabolism in our body. To make a protein, cells must read and interpret the genetic code in our DNA, which contains the recipes for protein synthesis. The four different nucleotides making the DNA molecule are abbreviated A, T, G, and C. The nucleotide sequence in a gene provides instructions for making a particular protein, and the nucleotides themselves are converted into a sequence of amino acids, the building blocks of the protein.
Although we all have the same genes, we do not look alike. This is because of variations in our genes and because not all genes are equally expressed among individuals. For example, our hair color depends on the pigment created by our hair cells. The color and amount of pigment define whether a person’s hair is red, black, etc.
There are further variations in our genes that happen during our lives. Cells in our bodies divide when we grow as kids, and also in adults to replace dead cells or repair wounds. When cells divide, they must copy their DNA. When DNA is copied, errors may be introduced, altering a single nucleotide in the DNA molecule. Such changes are called Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms, or SNPs. Most SNPs do not affect protein function, but in some cases, an SNP present in a gene coding area may cause alterations in protein structure and thus affect its function. SNPs can be used to identify genes associated with different human conditions such as disease, drug tolerance, and character traits.
Diseases are often caused by the dysfunction of a single protein or group of proteins. For example, diabetes type I occurs due to insufficient insulin production in the pancreas.
There are several genes involved in this disorder. Using the information obtained from DNA tests, a number of SNPs have been identified as being associated with diabetes. By now, hundreds of diseases have been tested, and the SNPs associated with the risk of acquiring certain diseases have been identified. For example, a single SNP that causes a change in one amino acid in a protein results in a six-fold increased risk of developing Crohn’s disease.
The list of SNPs associated with diseases or other conditions is growing constantly. To determine which SNPs are associated with a disease, our scientists use the latest published data to assess any correlation between SNPs and the probability of disease.