Amid the increasing prevalence of Type 2 diabetes, 23andMe has set out to develop a genetic test that can assess a person's likelihood of developing lifestyle disease.
23andMe's New Genetic Report On Type 2 Diabetes
The California-based company said it is upgrading its at-home DNA test to include a report on diabetes. Unlike its other health reports that inspect one or two genes for mutations with big and well-understood effects, however, the new diabetes test uses what is known as a polygenic risk score. This takes into account more than 1,000 genetic variants to calculate an individual's chances of developing type 2 diabetes.
Aside from the genetic factors, the report also offers information on how other factors such as age, weight, and lifestyle may influence a person's chances of developing the condition and what actions can help make a difference.
The DNA-testing company said the new Type 2 Diabetes report was developed and validated using data of more than 2.5 million 23andMe customers who agreed to be part of the research.
Delaying And Preventing The Development Of Type 2 Diabetes
Figures from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that one in three adults in the United States has prediabetes and more than 90 percent are not aware of this.
23andMe said the report can identify people who may not know they have a genetic predisposition to diabetes and provide them with tools and information that can delay or even prevent the onset of diabetes.
Switching to a healthier diet and lifestyle can help prevent or delay the development of Type 2 diabetes. These changes can also reduce a person's odds of developing the disease despite having risk factors tied to ethnicity, genetics, and family history.
The new genetic report can also help facilitate conversation with healthcare providers about prevention and appropriate screening.
"When customers learn about their genetic likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes, we believe there is an opportunity to motivate them to change their lifestyle and ultimately to help them prevent the disease," said Anne Wojcicki, CEO and co-founder of 23andMe.