02 October 2014

Russian scientists have released a new test for personal genotyping

Spitting into the past

Nadezhda Markina, "Newspaper.Ru"

The era of personal genomics began in 2003 – that's when the human genome was read. Recently, the results of scientific research have reached ordinary consumers. So, the company 23andMe, funded with the participation of Google, has been providing anyone with the opportunity to learn about their genetic characteristics and tendencies to diseases since 2007 – it is enough to send samples of their saliva to her address.

The idea of personalized medicine is to use the genetic data of a particular person to create an individual health monitoring plan for him. If he has an increased risk of developing some diseases, measures can be taken to prevent them or at least delay them. And to treat a person not "according to the textbook", but based on the individual characteristics of his body. In Russia, the same 23andMe does not work – the transfer of saliva contradicts domestic legislation.

There are several dozen companies engaged in personal genotyping in the USA and Europe. There are clinics in Russia where you can analyze one, two or several genes and find out the risks of the corresponding diseases. There are companies that analyze many sections of DNA and find out the risks of many diseases, as well as other traits recorded in the human genome, but there are few such companies.

The genetic test, which was recently released by the biomedical company Atlas, is a notable phenomenon in this market of services. "My genetics" is a fairly detailed "digest" of the genome. The test analyzes 500 thousand plots. They can be used to judge 300 health indicators, for example, to assess the predisposition to 114 diseases. This includes cardiovascular, neurodegenerative diseases, various types of cancer, diabetes, and many, many others.

To find out all this, you do not need to sequence the human genome. Genotyping is the analysis of the sections of genomes that scientists know most about. Genotyping is a digest,– explains Ancha Baranova, Doctor of Biological Sciences, Scientific Director of the Atlas biomedical company. – It can be compared with the summary of "War and Peace" in the volume of 20 pages."

In order to pass the test, you need to spit into a special test tube. And before that, according to the rules, do not eat, drink, chew gum or kiss for half an hour. And after sending the test tube to the company, you need to go to the website and fill out a special questionnaire. In two weeks, the test results will appear in your personal account.

Genetic tests are often criticized for the fact that they cannot say anything absolutely. They cannot tell this person whether he will get sick or not – the test determines the likelihood of developing the disease.

The 114 diseases that the test can detect depend on many genes. But there are also monogenic diseases that are associated with a mutation in one gene. It is important for future parents to know about their "bad" mutations before planning the birth of a child.

In addition, the test can indicate a person's individual reactions to 66 medications. For example, if a person's body removes medicine faster than it does on average, it means that it will affect him less, therefore, the dose should be increased, and vice versa. Genes can also determine the type of nutrition that suits a person, as well as what kind of sports a person should do. There is an opportunity to get acquainted with personal qualities – for this, 55 indicators of such qualities of a person are included in the test. Finally, you can find out where the ancestors come from. At the exit, men can find out the geography of their origin both on the paternal and maternal lines, and women – only on the maternal side, because they do not have a Y chromosome.

The main problem that is associated with genetic tests today is that most of them leave a person alone with their results. This was the reason for the conflict of the most famous company in this market, 23andMe, with the American Food and Drug Administration. The company was accused that the results of its tests led many women to decide on preventive breast removal without sufficient grounds.

The price of the "My Genetics" test is 14,900 rubles. True, 23adnMe costs only $99, but without recommendations and medical advice. Interestingly, the test offer from 23adnMe is available in the Russian online store, where its price is 16,500 rubles, but it is indicated that the product is currently out of stock.

"Our genes don't change, but there are many things in our lives that can be changed. These are lifestyle, type of diet, stress level and, most importantly, our attitude to life. And it turns out that the history of our life can be changed to some extent," Ancha Baranova is sure.

At the same time, not everyone shares the optimism of the developers of the domestic test. So, Svetlana Borinskaya, a leading researcher at the Institute of General Genetics of the Russian Academy of Sciences, believes that the interpretation of the results of such tests requires great caution.

"With monogenic diseases, everything is quite reliable: there is a mutation – there is a disease. But these diseases are rare. And with widespread diseases, such as cardiovascular or oncological, the situation is much more complicated. If such tests were reliable, they would have been universally approved long ago," Borinskaya believes.

According to her, it is impossible to predict even such a simply measurable trait as growth by genes. When analyzing the complete genome, there are so many differences between groups, for example, high and low, or sick and healthy, that a noticeable proportion of these differences may simply be accidental. Therefore, while the risk genes for anything discovered in one study are often not found in the next.

Portal "Eternal youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru02.10.2014

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