In a recent article entitled, “How staggering advances in DNA testing help our lifestyle choices", from the South China Morning Post in which the author Tim Noonan wrote about the major technological and scientific advances in DNA testing have evolved so rapidly that one year seems like a lifetime ago.
As researchers come to understand genetics better, breaking down the information is getting easier.
Noonan, who is a contributor to other prominent publications including Time magazine, Forbes, The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune and The Independent quoted Lance Bennett several times. Bennett, co-founder and managing partner of Advanced Genomic Solutions (AGS), “It’s staggering the advances in our company alone over the last year. A little over one year ago our health and wellness tests could identify 20 genetic variations, now it’s 60. Next year it is likely to be 100 and the number will grow exponentially.”
Because of these technological advances, it seems that there are more genetic tests offered every week. That number is only likely to grow. But genetic tests are more than just numbers – after all, what good is a report if you can't understand and act on the information? As researchers come to understand genetics better, breaking down the information is getting easier.
“One year ago our report was also very detailed ... But all the advances have allowed us to simplify the data to a one-page summary which can be easily understood by anyone, although we still give you pages of detailed information to complement it.” Bennett continues.
Among the regional companies that have begun offering AGS genetic testing to clients and employees are insurance broker Willis Tower Watson, Pure Fitness and Modern Terminals. One of the largest fitness chains in Hong Kong, Pure is conducting a pilot scheme offering DNA testing to its members through its newly formed Innovation Lab.
The article continues, “Every individual is unique and DNA testing provides an opportunity to better personalize the client’s training program,” says John Leung, the Digital Marketing Manager at Pure. “So we decided to introduce the concept of DNA testing into our fitness community and gather feedback on whether we should introduce it as a permanent service.”
With so many options available, the possibilities are exciting... but also can be risky. Currently, genetic testing ranges from entertainment to serious genetic risks, there's a lot to keep track of. Often lost in the mix is the question of what becomes of your genetic data?
Many companies rely on business models that license or sell access to client data. They may make the data anonymous, but they still release client data. This raises five initial questions people should consider with these testing options:
- What happens to my data after it has been released to a third-party?
- Will my data be safe on company servers?
- How will my DNA results negatively effect me in the future?
- If my relative chooses to release their data, what about the part of their DNA that can be traced back to me? What do my rights cover?
- And if they sell my data, is that why they need so much of my saliva, versus just a bucal swab from inside my mouth?
There are many unexplored questions. As Bennett puts it in the article: “This industry is growing so fast that it is outgrowing regulations, people can’t keep up with the benefits and the risks that are associated with it.” You can learn more about DNA testing by viewing the video below.
At AGS, we have chosen to put customer identity and security first. We will not sell or share data to third parties – it simply isn't part of our business model.
“There is nothing more important to our company’s growth and livelihood than the trust between our clients and us, we have stated emphatically that we will not sell any of our client’s data to third parties.” Lance Bennett.
Genetic testing can provide many benefits for a person's health and fitness, but customers should be aware of what they're signing up for when they sign over their sample. Do your research, and don't hesitate to ask tough questions.
A better understanding of your unique genetics can help you work with your body towards a healthier tomorrow. Take stock of your genetic predispositions, optimize your diet, plan around behavioral tendencies and do the exercises that work best for you. We are rapidly entering the age of personalized self-care.
If you are interested in a test designed to empower you with your genetic data without compromising your security, call (833) 874-3637 to speak with an AGS sales representative, or click the button below to have us contact you about genetic testing for health and wellness.