DNA 4 LIFE information
DNA is the blueprint for our individuality. It is the biochemical “code” for life and the basis of our heredity. The DNA you received from your parents plays a large role in how your body looks and functions. Recent advances in technology have now made it possible to examine your DNA for specific variations that indicate how your bodymay carry out a particular function, such as how you may respond toparticular medicines.
A basic overview
Genes are made of DNA and function as the molecular unit of heredity. Each gene codes for a specific protein. Proteins are complex “action” molecules that impact our physiology. Some gene variants result in changes to the protein, for which it codes, that impact the protein’s function, how much of the protein you produce, or whether you produce the protein at all. These inherited changes in protein function can have a dramatic impact on our body functions, and in the case of pharmacogenetics, how we respond to medicines. The gene variants you inherited for a particular gene, one from Mom and one from Dad, is called your genotype for that particular gene. The observable impact of your genotype on your physiology is called your phenotype (for example, blond hair or blue eyes). In this manner, the genes you inherited from your parents contribute to your body’s form and function. Certain genotypes and associated phenotypes may significantly influence your response to medications. Pharmacogenetics, the science of how genetic variations affect our response to drugs, examines these genetic differences that make us who we are, and how our individual biology determines our response to medicines. Having this knowledge allows us to proactively participate in our treatment and may help your physician make more informed treatment decisions.