Among the many advances and discoveries of modern DNA and genetics are ‘scientific’ oddities. These genetic wonders make it into popular culture and develop a life there that far outpaces their academic worth. These factoids are best used as ‘cocktail conversation’ starters. We present them to our current customers (those who have already ordered a standard test) as just that.
Alcohol Flush Reaction
Alcohol flush reaction (colloquially referred to as Asian Flush, Asian Glow, Red Cheeks, Oriental Flush, Big Blush, and Russian Glow) is a condition in which the body cannot break down ingested alcohol completely due to a missense polymorphism that encodes the enzyme, acetaldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH2), normally responsible for breaking down acetaldehyde, a product of the metabolism of alcohol. Flushing or blushing is associated with the erythema (reddening caused by dilation of capillaries) of the face, neck, shoulder, and in some cases, the entire body after consumption of alcohol. (Xiao 1996)
What We Test: We test the rs671 SNP.
Avoidance of Errors
We are often angry with ourselves because we are unable to learn from certain experiences. Numerous times, we have made the wrong decision, and its consequences were unfavorable. However, the cause does not lie only in our thinking. A mutation in a specific gene (DRD2/ANKK1) can also be responsible because it can cause a smaller number of dopamine receptors. They are responsible for remembering our wrong choices, which in turn enables us to make better decisions when we encounter a similar situation. (Nymberg, et al 2014)
What We Test: We test the rs1800497 SNP.
Lumbar disc disease is the drying out of the spongy interior matrix of an intervertebral disc in the spine. Many physicians and patients use the term lumbar disc disease to encompass several different causes of back pain or sciatica. A study of Asian patients with lumbar disc disease showed that a mutation in the CILP gene increases the risk of back pain.
What We Test: We test the rs2073711 SNP.
Bitter Taste Perception
There are several gene changes responsible for bitter taste perception. We test three of them. Different variations affect ability to detect bitter compounds. About 25% of people lack the ability to detect these compounds. Are you like them? Maybe you don’t like broccoli, because it tastes too bitter?
What We Test: We test the rs10246939, rs1726866, and rs713598 SNPs.
According to the results of a case-control study reported in the March 8, 2006 issue of JAMA, coffee is the most widely consumed stimulant in the world. Caffeine is primarily metabolized by the cytochrome P450 1A2 in the liver, accounting for 95% of metabolism. Carriers of the gene variant *1F allele are slow caffeine metabolizers, whereas individuals homozygous for the *1A/*1A genotype are rapid caffeine metabolizers.
What We Test: We test the rs762551 SNP.
Scientists have discovered that wheter or not your earwax is wet or dry is determined by a mutation in a single gene. Wet earwax is believed to have uses in insect trapping, self-cleaning, and prevention of dryness in the external auditory canal of the ear. It also produces an odor and causes sweating, which may play a role as a pheromone.
What We Test: We test the rs17822931 SNP.
Freckles can be found on anyone no matter the background. However, having freckles is genetic and is related to the presence of the dominant melanocortin-1 receptor MC1R gene variant.
What We Test: We test the rs1015362 and rs4911414 SNPs.
Researchers at Harvard Medical School and UC Davis have discovered a few genes that extend lifespan suggesting that the whole family of SIR2 genes is involved in controlling lifespan. The findings were reported July 28, 2005 in the advance online edition of Science.
What We Test: We test the rs1042522, rs1800795, rs2802292, rs2811712, rs34516635, rs3758391, and rs5882 SNPs.
Male Pattern Baldness
Researchers at McGill University, King’s College London and GlaxoSmithKline Inc. have identified two genetic variants in Caucasians that together produce an astounding sevenfold increase in the risk of male pattern baldness. Their results were published in the Oct. 12, 2008 issue of the journal Nature Genetics.
What We Test: We test the rs1160312 and rs2180439 SNPs.
A team of researchers led by scientists at Dartmouth Medical School and Dartmouth College have identified and tested a gene that dramatically alters both muscle metabolism and performance. The researchers say that this finding could someday lead to treatment for muscle diseases including helping the elderly who suffer from muscle deterioration and improving muscle performance in endurance athletes.
What We Test: We test the rs1815739 SNP.
In 2008, University of Virginia Health System researchers have identified a gene associated with nicotine dependence in both Europeans and African Americans. The results of your test will show where you stand in relation to that study.
What We Test: We test the rs1051730 SNP.
Sabol 1998 documented the discovery of a multi-copy variant that affects the MAOA gene. The number of repeats changes the function of the MAOA gene. It has been linked to aggressiveness, retaliation, and successful risk taking.
What We Test: We test the 30-bp STR located 1.2 kb upstream of the MAOA gene.
Remember: Results are not intended to diagnose disease or medical conditions, and they do not serve the purpose of medical advice. They are offered exclusively for curiosity purposes, i.e., to see how your results compare with what the scientific papers say. Other genetic and environmental variables may also impact these same physiological characteristics. They are merely a conversational piece or a “cocktail party” test as we like to call it.