What is Genetics?
Genetics is a branch of biology concerned with studying DNA of various organisms. Every living thing has DNA, and therefore a certain genetic makeup that gives it physical and mental characteristics. Genetics specifically cares about how and to what degree physical and mental characteristics are passed onto offspring. Early history indicates that for thousands of years people have known that their physical and mental characteristics can be passed on to their kids.
How did genetics testing start?
Genetics is an important part of the human equation. People knew that traits can be passed on through families, but they didn’t know how or through what.
The first accounts of genetic testing started in the 1950s, testing for certain genetic conditions. Prenatal screens could be conducted using a technique called ‘Karyotyping’ which allowed chromosomes to be stained and counted. This process could help explain certain genetic disorders such as down syndrome.
Meanwhile, in 1953 a new genetic structure, DNA, was discovered and being studied. The next few decades marked growth in knowledge of DNA and its purpose, from its helix-like structure and its various components.
In 1984, DNA caught a big break in the public eye – helping solve crimes, as DNA is unique to each individual and therefore can act as a fingerprint. 1987 marked the first time DNA was used to catch a criminal in the United States. Since then, DNA testing is used worldwide to catch criminals for various offenses.
While DNA was being used to catch criminals, further advances were being made in its application to assess the health and genetic conditions of individuals. Through the use of historical records and external factors such as family history, health records, and discovered that certain genes resulted in genetic mutations, such as cystic fibrosis.
2000 – 2003 marked a turning point in genetics testing. In this time period, scientists published two papers mapping out the human genome. This allowed scientists to look at thousands or perhaps hundreds of thousands of different DNA probes, allowing scientists to study how the make-up of DNA contributes to the susceptibility of illnesses. This new process was also much cheaper than previous methods for studying DNA, launching a new wave of studying and testing DNA, including the creation of DNA services for the masses.
By 2010, many companies began to sell different products that would test your DNA from the collection of saliva for various factors. Many companies existing today test for ancestry (23andMe), disease likelihood, and paternity testing. Some, like at Pregenic, test your saliva to provide you insights into what steps you can take to improve your health and postpone disease.
Pregenic, using the latest in genetics testing to help you make smarter healthcare decisions
Pregenic is part of this movement towards personalized health advice through genetics testing. We conduct DNA testing through the collection of your saliva, with the express goal to help you make sense of your traits (along with many other factors) to help you be healthier, happier, and stronger. We provide you with individualized health insights to improve your lifestyle and postpone the consequences of disease.
If you would like to learn more about the process, click here.