Personal Genetic DNA tests

Dr. Swarkar Sharma
Personal genetic DNA tests are already becoming increasingly popular and accessible globally. These tests, commonly known as direct-to-consumer genetic tests, provide individuals with information about their genetic makeup and can offer insights into various aspects of their health, including predisposition to many diseases.
As genetic research continues to advance, it is likely that new genetic markers will be identified that can be used to predict a wider range of diseases and health conditions. In addition, new technologies such as CRISPR gene editing may allow individuals to take proactive steps to reduce their risk of developing certain diseases based on their genetic predispositions.
Current genetic tests typically focus on a limited number of diseases or conditions. However, future advancements could lead to broader disease coverage, encompassing a wider range of both common and rare conditions. This would enable individuals to gain a more comprehensive understanding of their genetic risks. The future of the domain is very bright. Though currently many genetic testing companies offer tests, yet in developing phase. Some of the established tests being offered can identify an individual’s risk for certain diseases, such as breast cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, or Parkinson’s disease. These tests are based on the identification of specific genetic markers that are associated with an increased risk of developing these conditions. These DNA tests are likely to become even more advanced and widely available. With the continued development of new technologies and techniques, it may become possible to perform more comprehensive genetic testing at a lower cost, making these tests accessible to more people. As technology and scientific understanding progress, the accuracy and reliability of genetic testing are expected to improve. This would enhance the ability to predict disease predispositions based on an individual’s genetic makeup.
Personal genetic DNA tests are likely to incorporate polygenic risk scores, which are calculated based on the combined effects of multiple genetic variants associated with a particular disease. This can provide a more accurate assessment of an individual’s disease predisposition compared to analyzing individual genetic markers. In the future, personal genetic DNA tests may be integrated with an individual’s electronic health records (EHRs). This integration would enable healthcare providers to access and incorporate genetic information into personalized treatment plans, preventive measures, and screenings. Future personal genetic DNA tests may include pharmacogenomic analysis to help determine which medications are most suitable for an individual based on their genetic profile. This can lead to more effective and personalized treatment plans, reducing the risk of adverse drug reactions. As personal genetic testing becomes more advanced and widespread, ethical considerations surrounding privacy, consent, and the responsible use of genetic information will become increasingly important. There will likely be ongoing discussions and regulatory efforts to ensure the protection of individuals’ genetic data and prevent potential misuse.
The direct-to-consumer genetic tests segment is almost untouched in India with very limited companies offering such services. Moreover, due to huge genetic diversity of human populations in India, lack of expertise and above all presence of appropriate baseline data, the power of such tests is relatively very low. It indicates huge potential for development of new and customised tests to address various issues effectively and thus, upcoming of startups in the domain.
(The author is Director, Centre for Molecular Biology, Central University of Jammu)