DNA represents our destiny, at least for a number of diseases for which we usually give a lot of importance to the genetic profile. This is the opinion of a team of researchers led by David Wishart, professor of the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Alberta, who published a study on PLOS ONE .
As clearly explained in the press release that appeared on the website of the University of Canarese, single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP), the possible variations within our DNA, cannot be taken into account with regard to disease prediction.
The researcher examined data from various studies conducted over two decades concerning the relationships between the most common genetic mutations and their connection to different diseases and illnesses.
The results show, according to the researchers themselves, that these links between genetics and different human diseases are “at best shaky”. Of course, there are exceptions, as the statement itself points out, represented by diseases that are known to have a genetic background, such as Crohn’s disease, celiac disease or macular degeneration, diseases for which the genetic profile can count for about 40-50%.
But these are “rare exceptions” because, as Wishart himself explains, most diseases derive from metabolism, the environment, exposure to certain types of nutrients or chemicals as well as bacteria and viruses and in general from lifestyle. For most diseases, therefore, it is not very useful to study the genetic profile in the first place, but it is much more profitable to measure or analyze profiles such as those of metabolites, chemicals, proteins and microbiome within the body.
These are analyses which, according to the researchers, provide a more accurate measure of the risk of disease also in terms of diagnosis. “The bottom line is that if you want to have an accurate measure of your health, your propensity for disease or what you can do about it, it’s better to measure your metabolites, microbes or proteins, not your genes,” says Wishart quite clearly.