We’ve learned over time, though, that getting information about our genes, Genetics, DNA tests isn’t easy. On the internet we rarely find genetic information.
Ever since the human genome was sequenced, people have been fascinated with the idea of learning more about their genetic code, and what it could mean for them. Everything from their current health to their future longevity to their family history could be encoded in their genes. We’ve learned over time, though, that getting information about our genes isn’t easy. It’s second nature to look on the Internet for information, but it’s rare to find a site that has precise, easy to understand information about genetics. Nothing is personalised on the Internet, either, so the best people can do is sift through page after page and hope to find the information they want. Trying to find information about your genes on the internet can quickly become confusing and frustrating, because there’s very little context for information, and that information is rarely written for easy understanding.
The recent explosion in the number of consumer genetics companies and the acceptance of genetics in mainstream medicine has enabled consumers to order tests that looks at ancestry, traits and wellness etc., or undertake a genetic test as ordered by their healthcare provider.Reports generated by such services are understandable to a certain extent. More complicated genetic reports aren’t always the answer, either. The sheer amount of information in a report doesn’t determine its quality.
When you have a genetic report in your hands, it’s rarely in plain language. You need to know the scientific names of genes, you might need to understand statistics or probability, and you don’t often have an expert on hand to explain anything you don’t understand. You might be hoping for some information that could significantly impact your health, but instead get a jumble of numbers, letters, and statistics that you don’t know how to interpret. When you’re stuck in this situation, it seems like it barely matters if you get your genes sequenced or not. What good could it do if you can’t understand it?
This is where an emerging branch of computer sciences, AI, or artificial intelligence, comes in. The amount of information in your genes is massive, and even if it was all interpreted or reported out in a format people could read, it would take years, maybe even a lifetime, to read and understand it all. AI makes sense of all the information in your genes by figuring out which genes are pre-disposing you to genetic condition and putting the information in terms you can understand and giving you a clear idea of how it might affect you.
The wonderful thing about AI is that it’s not just an unchanging computer program. The more information AI has, the more it can learn, and the more information it can give you. So, let’s say you got your genes sequenced, but you didn’t get a lot of the information you wanted. Don’t despair, because you could ask other members of your family to get their genes sequenced too. When their information is added to the AI alone with yours, the AI can learn from all this new data, and give you better information. The AI in genetic tools is trained on millions of different data sources such as literature databases, and when you ask it to analyse your DNA, you’re not only getting information for yourself, you’re making it better able to do its job.
Being able to have educated conversations with this software, and how it relates to your own genetic code, is essential to understanding your own genetics. Consumers need genetic counsellors who can build reports that they can understand, and then help them through anything that seems unclear. The knowledge that people can gain from the right combination of genetic report and genetic counselling is powerful. It gives them the chance to take control of their health, and potentially protect their families, too. There are a lot of companies out there that say they’ll do in-depth genetic testing, but it’s important to pick a company that has a strong track record and powerful AI that knows how to learn and interpret genetic data well.
Consumers can use its various interactive features or even connect with a live genetic counsellor. It runs on multiple phone operating systems, so you can have access to your genetic counselling information wherever you go.
We can’t be sure exactly what the future will bring for genetic testing, but it’s clear that more information is better. An informed consumer is a happy consumer.