As a birthday present to myself, I decided to have my genome done and find out about my heritage. I know that both of my parents’ families had immigrated from Minsk, in what is now Belarus, and was once part of the USSR. I was hoping to find out how they got to Belarus, and was there a connection back to other parts of the world. When I got my information back, I was somewhat disappointed as the results showed I was 99.9% Ashkenazi Jew, meaning I came from Eastern or Central Europe. I was hoping for a country or countries of origin, but they could not tell me that.
They did let me know that they have been collecting gene history from millions of people and have been able to develop some algorithms that would allow them to predict with 95% or greater accuracy if I would be likely to have diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. I have not yet decided whether I am interested in knowing that or not.
This week, in our Homerun Slides, Dr. Stanley Schwartz takes a look at how these gene variants can lead to diabetes and he even shows some data indicating that evaluating genes could give us a way to select the right medication for each patient.