To help keep you up to date with the social scene chatting up this new area, we explain below some common terms that you are likely to encounter.
First off, any trait or characteristic, behavior, or disease arises from two contributing factors –some from environmental exposure and some that you inherit from your parents, their parents, and so forth. Every single cell in your body originates from a single fertilized egg thatcarries a blueprint for what you inherit.
Inside each of you and each of your cells, a molecule called DNA carries your inherited blueprint. DNA is made up of 4 different building blocks called the A, T, G, and C bases. These bases are glued together like pearls on a string to form a very long DNA strand. Each strand matches up and binds to a complementary strand, like Velcroforming the double helix as seen above.
Two of these DNA strands bind together with special proteins forming the Chromosomes that live in the nucleus of the cell as seen above. On each DNA strand, the sequence of the A, T, G, and C bases, like the “0”s and “1” that make up all computer software, carry the inheritance or genetic information.
Some, but not all, of these DNA sequences are units called Genes thatlike computer code, essentially program the active functions in cells. A molecular machine translates the DNA sequence of each gene into a unique Protein. So, proteins also have a sequence, but this time it is a sequence from 20 different types of amino acids. Some of the proteins that you may have heard of are Hemoglobin,which carries oxygen to all your cells, and Insulin, a hormone that tells your cells when to eat sugar. Tens of thousands of proteins work together to carry out the business of living. So proteins are not just for eating! Eye color and blood type are just two of many thousands of outcomes that arise from this network of proteins.
In each cell of your body, you have 23strands of DNA from each parent that make up your 23 chromosomes. Thus, you have two copies of each gene, one from each parent – yes mom and dad’s copies are very similar, but most often do have some changes and each slightly different gene is called an Allele. Each parent contributes one allele, thatdiffer from each other with minor sequence changes.
Each allele change is called a genetic Variant. These sequence changes can alter how a gene works! Some alleles are Dominant meaning the allele from one parent over-rides the gene from the other parent, and the subordinate allele is termed Recessive. Consider if a father has red hair and mother has brown hair and all the children have brown hair, the allele inherited from the mother for brown hair is dominant over the allele for red hair from the father. The father may have had two alleles for red hair and mother may have had two alleles for brown hair; in both cases the parents’ alleles for this gene are Homozygous. When a brown haired child has a brown haired allele from mom and a red haired allele from dad this gene is called Heterozygous.
Most often inheritance is not just from a single gene, but turns out to be much more complex where many genes contribute to any feature or trait. This is called Polygenic. We are still in our infancy in understanding these interactions, especially when it comes to the impact, of our diets on our daily lives!
Now to the nitty gritty of how this all relates to a Food Genes And Me nutritional report.
Scientists compare a group of people that eat a particular food with a control population that does not. They look for variants that are found much more often in the test population than the control population. When this is done scanning the entire DNA it is called a Genome Wide Association Study (GWAS). This is where statistics becomes important to determine what is a valid association, and what is just background noise that cannot later be reproduced consistently.
Remember when fat-free was the craze and then fats later became good for you? Rigorous scientific studies - like those GWAS studies screened by Food Genes And Me - are increasingly teasing out the impact of these single changes. (We saw a dramatic impact of a variant in last week’s blog on the FTO gene!). However, for identifying the best diets, Food Genes And Me is focused on defining the polygenic basis of nutrigenetics. That is why we ask you to fill out our survey, so that we can discover new variants together.
Stay tuned for a follow-up on basic genetic terminology in a future post!
Login to post comments
Modern humans have existed for 6,000 generations, and we inherit traits, behaviors, and health vulnerabilities from our parents through DNA. Each person has 5-10 million variations in their DNA sequence. Yes, that is a lot of variation, but explains why you do not look like, act like, or have the same diet issues as your neighbors.
As we age, our bodies begin to fail in different ways, in part based on the DNA sequence variations we inherit, but also upon our exposure to environmental conditions, i.e. possibly the food we eat each day. Unfortunately, it is a very rare situation where there is certainty in what failure you will get. Again, this is partially because each person has a unique genetic makeup and a unique exposure to the environment.
To address this, scientists study large populations and determine what percentage of people has a specific condition. From these measurements, they can estimate the risk of seeing a particular condition, i.e. a genetic risk score. This is somewhat like your chances of rolling double sixes with a pair of dice – there are 36 possible combinations and double sixes is just one possible roll. Therefore, you have a 1 in 36 chance of rolling double sixes. Likewise, most human conditions have risks between 1 in 100 and 1 in 250,000. You may be thinking that 1 in 100 risk is a low risk, and “it’s not going to be me!” Well, but returning to dice as an example, let’s suppose you played some game and rolled the dice 108 times. Then on average, each set of 108 rolls would produce 3 rolls of double sixes! The same thing goes on with disease risk. Because there are so many different types of disease, each with their own risk, collectively you have a higher chance of contracting a disease. This is why the personalized dietary from advice is so powerful for living a healthy life.
Although we cannot be certain, one of the best predictors is your family history. This is the inherited risk. The other main risk for disease is environment, which includes your exposure to toxins, sunlight, radiation, chemicals, stress, physical injury, parasites, bacteria, viruses, and predators. Perhaps the most important environmental exposures that affect your risk is the type of food you eat every day.
Since most people eat frequently, it’s no surprise that the food you consume directly effects your health. But, you may not have known that interaction of your genes with your diet can radically change your risk for specific diseases and conditions. This field of research is known as nutrigenetics or nutrigenomics.
In your FGAM nutrigenetics report, we analyze your genetic file for several hundred DNA sequence variations. On average each person has a different set of 10-20 of the sequence variations from hundreds that are possible. Each of these variations are indicators of an increased risk for a condition and a food or supplement intervention that reduces the risk. FGAM was very careful to select only the DNA variants that have a strong basis based upon rigorous statistical tests in a scientific study. We next use this information to give you a list of five foods and portion that should be eaten daily and could reduce the inherited risk. Every time you come to the FGAM site, we may often provide you additional foods, so keep visiting your FGAM account.
To keep building our accuracy in genetic risk scoring, FGAM asks that you to donate your genetic information and complete a 5-10 min survey to advance FGAM research to discover new variants. You will benefit from your donation; by FGAM improving your personalized dietary advice. With your data we perform a genome wide association study (GWAS) for each survey question you answer. To perform these studies we do need 1,000s of participants and that is why we are asking you to be a team member. See our privacy agreement on how we take extra steps to secure your data and will only use it for FGAM research.
Submit candidate survey questions on FGAM’s contact us webpage as you would like, so we can further understand your interest, and together can investigate new DNA sequence variations of your interest.
In summary, FGAM is different from other genetics companies in several key areas:
1. FGAM focuses only on personalized foods and supplements based on your genetics.
2. FGAM only uses scientific studies with a strong scientific foundation and passes rigorous statistical tests.
3. FGAM is actively discovering new DNA sequences, and with your help will later not just be dependent on third-party published scientific studies.
4. FGAM believes it provides you the important information from genetic research because you eat every day; we do not provide information that has little impact on your life.
For more information or clarity of some of these descriptions, please also watch our YouTube videos: https://foodgenesandme.com/watch-videos.
The study of the interaction of dietary and genetic factors and its effect on metabolism, health status, and risk of disease. Nutrigenetics aims to identify how genetic variation affects response to nutrients. This knowledge can be applied to optimize health, and prevent or treat diseases. The ultimate aim of nutrigenetics is to offer people personalized nutrition based on their genetic makeup.
The genetic differences both within and among human populations. There may be multiple variants of any given gene in the human population.
Genetic risk refers your chance of inheriting a disorder, disease, or other trait. For human health, disorders, or other traits it would be great if we could definitively say yes or no, but this is not the case. Therefore, we assign a risk instead that is based on scientific studies. The risk is like rolling a dice. You have a 1 in 6 chance of rolling a 2. So, if 2 is some disease, on average 1 out of 6 people would get it.
Food Genes and Me™ is reporting personalized dietary advice, which is a report containing suggestions about foods, nutrients, and portion sizes that you should eat. This advice is based on your DNA sequence and solid scientific studies that link specific genetic variants with risks of disease or other outcomes.
FGAM diets are generated by scanning your uploaded genetic file for variants that affect a gene diet interaction outcome and meet rigorous statistical scientific metrics. Once a variant is identified we search a nutrient database to identify foods and portions that should be eaten daily to increase the risk of a favorable outcome.
Every day, your conscious choices in food selection will have been supported by studies that you’re your personal genes to food metabolism and other risks. No other genetic information affects people as directly as this, in their daily lives. Some of the information may be helpful in speaking with your healthcare provider, as well.
We expect that when your DNA sequence file is uploaded, it will take less than 24 hours to return your report to you, and usually within an hour.
Your information will only be used by Food Genes And Me for the discovery of new variants that can be used to improve you personalized dietary advice. We perform Genome Wide Association Studies to identify these variants.
Yes. Your survey information is not connected with a customer number, not your name, and once loaded it is removed from servers connected to the Internet. Likewise, once your genetic file is uploaded and processed, it is removed from servers connected to the Internet. The scientific research to discover variants is performed on computers not connected to the Internet.
Food Genes and Me will process a .vcf file and raw DNA files (note: NOT zip files) from the following:
After your login follow instructions here https://www.23andme.com/you/download
After your login follow instructions here https://dna-explained.com/2013/03/21/downloading-ancestrys-autosomal-dna-raw-data-file/
DNA Family Tree
After your login follow instructions here https://www.familytreedna.com/learn/user-guide/family-finder-myftdna/download-raw-data-page/
On the contact us page, please indicate your interest in an email or send us a letter.
We are actively seeking B2B partners to sell food, nutrients, supplements, and meals suggested by research studies used in our Food Genes And Me reports.
I never knew what GWAS meant - thank youBy : Jamie On January 2nd 2019
Good post and I would like to learn more, especially SNPs and what the 'rs' numbers mean.
Replied by : Martin Schiller On January 8th 2019