Common Questions and Misconceptions about Genetic Testing

It’s no secret that genetic testing is the newest trend in health and wellness, and for good reason! Genetic testing can tell us a lot about ourselves from our ancestry to our ability to lose weight. And with the quality of testing at its peak and the price of getting testing done at its lowest, why wouldn’t you take the leap and try genetic testing? But despite its trendiness, there are still a few common misconceptions floating around genetic testing, so we’re getting to the bottom of some of them and answering those questions you may have always had about getting genetic testing done but never had the opportunity to ask.

1). Not all genetic tests are created equal.

Now that the science behind genetic testing is so common place, the amount of tests that exist out in the world seem to be infinite. And while the science behind all of those tests may be the same, the results vary company to company and even test to test. It’s important to do your research when it comes to which test you go for. Know what kind of results you’re after. Are you getting tested because you want to learn more about your ancestry, looking to see if your genes make you predisposed for certain diseases, or simply looking to learn about how your genes contribute to your health and fitness? Research what genes are being tested within each test, and if you’re really curious and committed, research how many studies those genes appear in. Some tests will give you results that aren’t really scientifically linked to any outcomes, so do your research!

2). Genetic testing can replace medical testing and doctor’s visits.

You should never rely on genetic testing and genetic testing alone to tell you about your overall health. Your genes are just part of the bigger picture and can’t tell you the overall health of your body at this moment. Genes can give you an estimate for your likelihood of developing certain disease, but just because your genes say you’re high risk for developing cancer, doesn’t actually mean that you have cancer. It’s important to use genetic testing as a tool in your health and wellness toolbox to further understand how your body is functioning, but not as an end all be all.

3). Single genes code for all traits.

This is where the science of genetics gets super complicated. The short answer is that most traits or aspects of who you are are dictated by more than one gene. Sometimes a single trait can be dictated by up to a thousand genes. This means that a lot of testing, while it may tell you things about certain genes, you’re only seeing a small snapshot of your genes and may not be getting the whole story behind a certain trait.

4). Your genes are set in stone.

Well, yes, your genes can’t change. But, you do have the ability to turn off and on certain genes by changing your lifestyle. Environment and the things that we put into our body have a massive effect on how our genes function. While you may be predisposed to certain diseases, weight gain, etc, you have the power to minimize the genes that contribute to those diseases by changing your diet and lifestyle. That’s why understanding your genes can be so empowering. You understand your body and how to take advantage of its positives and negatives.