The latest health and fitness trend involves taking a DNA test to find out more about how our bodies respond to different types of food and exercise.
A growing number of start-ups, such as 23andMe, FitnessGenes, UBiome, DNAFit, Orig3n and Habit, are moving into this space, promising that mail-order genetic tests can change your life for the better.
Avi Lasarow, chief executive of DNAFit, explains that everything about who we are is the unique combination of what we are born with – our genetics – and how we live – our environment.
“The biggest ‘environment’ factor that we can control in our day-to-day lives is our diet,” he says, “so by understanding more about the static part, the genetics, we can better tweak the bit in our control.”
[S]ome genetic experts are concerned that the efficacy of such kits may be overhyped.
“…I do think that the amount of useful information that personalised health tests can offer is very limited at present because we still know very little about the effect of most SNPs [genetic variations called single nucleotide polymorphisms] and other types of genetic variation on a person’s health,” [says Dr Jess Buxton, a geneticist at University College London.]
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