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This innovative contraption made it onto our February Must Haves list, but let me refresh your memory on the details of the test kit.
For $199 (down from their original price tag of $499), 23andMe mails you a kit, which includes detailed step-by-step instructions and the necessary materials. First, you create an online profile at the site and register your kit; then, you just need to spit in the provided tube, and mail it off to a fancy lab for analysis. From just a tiny saliva sample, using the latest DNA technology, scientists extract DNA from cheek cells in your saliva. From there, the DNA is copied multiple times so that it can be used in the genotyping step. Here's a more in-depth, scientific explanation on how the entire DNA analysis process works.
Would you want to know if your child might be the next Kobe Bryant?
A closer look at your genes may determine what type of diet is best for you — at least that's what Interleukin Genetics is hoping. The company has developed a genetic test that tells researchers if an individual will lose more weight on a lowfat or low-carb diet.
Researchers randomly assigned one of four diets — Atkins, Ornish, LEARN, or Zone — to a group of 140 overweight and obese American women. After a year's time they then compared the genetic makeup of the women to their assigned diets to see if those on diets that were better matched to their genetics lost more weight. The study showed that participants who were on better matched diets lost about five times more weight than those on diets that were not as good a genetic match. Researchers say the $149 test works by looking for mutations in three genes. The mutations affect the amount of fat the body absorbs or how the body metabolizes sugar. Sixteen percent of individuals will have a combination of both mutations.
I'm not quite sure if I'm buying it though, at least not yet. The study group seems really small, and overall, neither group lost that much weight. It makes me think that the diets may not have been closely monitored, or that diets simply don't work. Since the company is planning to broaden its study, I'll be keeping my eyes open for any new developments.
In the meantime . . .