Genetics and Heredity
One disadvantage of using SNP rather than sequencing the whole genome is that the consumer does not obtain the whole data for the genome. SNP does not provide high-resolution results that allow the consumer to identify both large and small variants. SNP sequences only particular genes of interest and that it may fail to discover permutation in other gene sequences that can potentially cause illness such as breast cancer and heart diseases. As Liu explains, SNPs identified based on a few genomes do not represent the whole population (228). The location of the genome also matters in the identification of diseases. Therefore, consumers may test negative for diseases when they still have other alleles that were not tested and which are associated with illness. Such consumers will remain comfortable knowing that they are healthy only to realize the underlying diseases when they have advanced. Thus, genetic tests such as 23andme use SNP for a few genes and may miss out on important data.
Other than genetic, other factors such as choice of lifestyles can increase the risk of diseases. For example, a sedentary lifestyle that lacks physical activity can increase the risk of obesity. Moreover, an unhealthy diet full of junk foods can also lead to obesity and heart diseases. However, 23andme reveals only the genetic predispositions for obesity and other trivial features (Hayden 176), and thus, not accounting for lifestyle factors that are the leading causes of obesity and overweight today. People who have developed the habit of eating food high in calories and bad fat and highly likely to suffer from diseases such as obesity even when their gene test reads negative for the diseases. Thus, 23andme and other direct-to-consumer genetic test kits do not account for other risk factors that also contribute to illnesses.
Hayden, Erica C. The rise, fall and rise again of 23andme. Macmillan Publishers Limited, 2017. www.nature.com/news/polopoly_fs/1.22801!/menu/main/topColumns/topLeftColumn/pdf/550174a.pdf. Accessed 14 Sept. 2019.
Liu, Dongyou. Handbook of Listeria Monocytogenes. CRC P, 2008.
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