What is Raw DNA Data?
Raw DNA data is a file provided by a number of direct-to-consumer DNA testing companies including 23andMe and Ancestry.com. The raw data file contains all the genetic information collected by these companies.
Whether you want to learn about your ancestry, or some of your health-related traits you will order a DNA test kit from one of the many genetic testing companies. The kit will arrive at your door and you will fill up a small plastic container with your spit and send it away to be analyzed.
A few weeks later you’ll receive your results in the form of a report enlightening you with information about where your ancestors came from or about some health-related or other interesting traits you may have. Most of these reports only interpret a handful of genetic variations (15-100). However, when the analysis of your spit is performed, data is obtained on 600,000 points of genetic variation spread along your 23 chromosomes. That’s a lot of data left untouched and uninterpreted!
Your raw DNA data is a computer file (.txt) containing information about which sites in your DNA were tested, and which genetic variations exist at those locations (if you want to learn more about what’s inside a raw DNA data file, click here).
Some companies test single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), which are single nucleotide mutations that are known to have links to various health conditions or traits. Other companies sequence larger portions of your DNA, and some companies even offer to sequence your entire genome. The latter are still quite expensive, so not many people get this done.
Can Raw DNA Data analysis help improve your health or lifestyle?
Sometimes, knowing what you are up against is half of the battle.
Humans have over 20,000 genes in their DNA. Many traits are impacted by interactions between genes along with the environment in which the genes are expressed.
Exercise, diet, stress levels, social interactions, and other factors all influence a person’s well-being and the extent to which a single genetic variability impacts a person’s trait.
Simply knowing which genetic variant you have will not give you the full picture of your health, physical, or intellectual potential, but it is certainly a big clue.
For example, knowing that you have a mutation in your BRCA genes may tell you that you have an increased risk for breast cancer. However, this risk is not an actual guarantee that you will get it (thank god!). In other words, knowing your genetic makeup can help you understand yourself and your body, but what you do with that knowledge, is up to you.
That being said, companies that offer analysis of your raw DNA data can offer a wide range of insights into your health and well-being. Many of these insights, while playing a small role, can help anyone understand and develop a complete plan for your overall health - both mental and physical. Knowledge is power, and every bit can help.
At GENEius, we offer insights into your cognitive strengths through our GENEius Performance report. Because we understand that knowledge in itself is not always useful, we provide out customers with action plans, written by our experts, to help improve and optimize our customers’ cognitive abilities.