23andMe uses genotyping analysis, which is the process for determining which genetic variants an individual possesses. DNA can be extracted from mouth cells in a small saliva sample, and then processed on a special silicon chip that is capable of reading hundreds of thousands of variants in your genome. The genome is much like an owner’s manual for your body. It contains the genetic instructions needed to build and operate the body.
When your cells take you down the wrong path
Analysing DNA in this way can tell us more about risks for health conditions, traits and ancestry groups.
If we better understand the pathway by which genetic variants influence health and disease, then we have a better chance to design treatments that could lead to a positive outcome for the patient. Treatments might involve turning on protective mechanisms that have stopped working or turning down detrimental mechanisms.
We know drug targets that are backed by genetic information are approximately twice as likely to become a successful medicine.1 Understanding how a medicine is working can help us avoid unwanted side-effects and enhance the probability the medicine will be effective.