Gene Heritage makes it easy to upload your AncestryDNA file, and analyses your file in minutes."
“You have your mother’s eyes.”
This was the seminal moment in the Harry Potter series when Severus Snape pointedly reminded us all that ‘her’ eyes were inherited by Harry Potter, the boy whose very existence tortured Snape.
But it is these sorts of phrases that you find yourself saying when you meet families - the same eyes, comments like, ‘you look like your dad’, or that ‘it runs in the family’. Notions of inheritance are noted throughout history: famously through the haemophiliacs of European royalty, desirable aquiline or Roman nose profiles and the mystery of inheritance of the Melungeons of the rural American South.
What Gene Heritage Can Tell You
Gene Heritage offers something unique to Ancestry DNA, MyHeritage and 23andMe. Unlike the others Gene Heritage can tell you about your inherited traits, and, if you’ve tested a child, parent and grandparent, the report can tell you where you inherited that trait from. Gene Heritage wants to give AncestryDNA, 23andMe and FamilyTreeDNA customers a new way to learn more about their genes and traits in a format that’s both entertaining and informative.
I was given the opportunity to test Gene Heritage. I’ve taken a look at the report I generated, following my own AncestryDNA experience here. (I previously compared AncestryDNA and DNA.Land here, and reviewed MyHeritageDNA here).
How to use Gene Heritage
Before using Gene Heritage, you need to have your saliva sample tested by another DNA testing company, such as AncestryDNA. Once you have received your AncestryDNA report, you can download your raw AncestryDNA data, and then easily upload the AncestryDNA file to Gene Heritage. Gene Heritage also allows you to upload your DNA file from AncestryDNA, 23andMe, FamilyTreeDNA, LivingDNA and National Geographic!
My Gene Heritage results
I’ve selected a couple of my results from my Gene Heritage report. I've found that I have the TAS2R38 gene. Therefore I am more likely to perceive the bitterness of vegetables such as brussels sprout and broccoli, due to the presence of phenylthiocarbamide and propylthiouracil. I also have two 'insensitive' alleles of the TAS2R31 gene. Saccharin, an artificial sweetener tastes less bitter to me.
I inherited two 'insensitive' alleles of the OR5A1 gene. I perceive violets and rose oil as less floral and fragrant. I inherited one 'sensitive' allele and one 'insensitive allele of the OR2M7 gene. I am able to detect pungent odorants in asparagusic acid waste.
I inherited two 'off' alleles of the ALDH2 gene meaning I am able to process the toxic by-product of alcohol, acetaldehyde more efficiently than those with 'on' alleles, avoiding the alcohol flush or the Asian flush. The images from my report are below.
I inherited two 'off' alleles of the ACTN3 gene. This gene is associated with athletic performance. This is not a trait I am very familiar with, but it may well feature in other genetic testing services that are specific to athletes or those services offering health tests. Joseph Silver says that the Gene Heritage service will 'indicate whether a customer’s various alleles have been around for tens of thousands of years or derive from more recent mutations occurring in Europe, Asia, Eurasia, and Africa.' Gene Heritage told me about the origins of the gene in my report.
Importantly, all the genes had information compiled by Gene Heritage, with the relevant citations on the gene in particular. This is something Gene Heritage presents a lot better than Promethease (I reviewed Promethease here). Gene Heritage is easier to navigate as a platform.
Who is Gene Heritage?
This emphasis reflects on the mindset of Gene Heritage. Joseph Silver is the co-founder of Gene Heritage. Joseph says that 'instead of bombarding customers with loads of unintelligible data that oftentimes derives from dubious research, our approach is to carefully comb through the genetic study literature to curate reports that we assess to be scientifically reliable. We clearly state whether a gene has a major, moderate, or minor influence on a particular trait. It’s important to us to paint a true and honest picture of just how much or little a gene influences a trait.'
There is a lot of information in an individual's genes that can overwhelm those who are unfamiliar with genetics and genetic testing. Gene Heritage wants to ensure that its service provides a level of confidence in the traits that they include in their customer's reports, and that is something that was comfortable seeing in my report.
The Future of Consumer Genetic Testing
Genetic testing is becoming more common and becoming increasingly accessible. In the near future, genetic testing will go alongside your regular blood test and reshape your doctor visits and become standard practice in your medical care. While genetic tests today may be reserved for detecting life-threatening medical conditions such as cystic fibrosis or Down’s syndrome, tomorrow those tests will map out your likely health trajectory over a lifetime. In a sign of things to come, 23andMe was approved by the FDA to test for cancer risk and in Australia, myDNA is already offering customers a diet and exercise report based on their DNA. DNA testing is also reaching the political mainstream with the Chief Medical Officer of the United Kingdom suggesting that DNA testing should be routine.
Gene Heritage will expand on other multigene traits like skin colour, baldness and height. Red hair is also in the mix and this would be an interesting addition given that the red hair trait predominates in Ireland and Scotland and parts of Northern Europe. By identifying the inheritance of red hair traits, it is possible that you may be able to investigate a new avenue of family history.
In an extension of their parent-child DNA service will be the unique offering of a grandchild report which is not readily available from any other genetic analysis service. Joseph says, their "...grandchild Report will show what percentage of DNA a grandchild inherited from each grandparent.”
Gene Heritage says their ‘reports are a fun and educational way to connect with your family’ and that users can share their Grandchild Report with family members, and document the legacy of your genetic genealogy. Each Grandchild Report is beautifully and professionally designed, as well as customized with your family members' names.’
This could make identifying inherited traits, just like eye and hair colour easier to identify through the generations, and not just from child to parent.
Gene Heritage is a unique way to explore what their genes can tell about you and also, who you inherited the trait from.
For more information on Gene Heritage or to order a report, click here.