How our monthly reports are calculated and delivered

Alex Auld


April 20, 2020

One of the distinguishing features of our DNA analysis is that you’ll receive new information about your genes on a continuing basis.

Rather than simply getting a one-time report, FitnessGenes clients benefit from regular releases of new traits, actions and insights.

For example, one week you may learn about your body’s response to saturated fat, based on what APOA2 gene variants you carry. The following week, after analyzing genes involved in your circadian clock system, you’ll find out about your sleep/wake cycle and whether you’re at a higher risk of Seasonal Affective Disorder.

A key advantage of this approach is that it’s dynamic - you’ll be kept up-to-date as science progresses and sheds more light on how DNA affects your response to nutrition, exercise and lifestyle changes.

So, how are we able to do this?

Our research team is constantly evaluating new studies

Genetics, as with science more generally, is a continually evolving field. New data emerges all the time as new research findings get published, allowing the scientific community to confirm various hypotheses while amending or rejecting others.  

Our knowledge of how DNA and different gene variants affect our physiology is therefore rapidly expanding. The graphs below demonstrate the sharp increase in publication of one type of study, known as a Genome Wide Association Study (GWAS), which identifies links between specific gene variants and biological traits (e.g. blood sugar level, BMI, salt sensitivity, disease outcomes).

Graph GWAS

The above graphs show the amount of GWAS studies published between 2007 and 2017. (Source: Mills & Rehal, Communications Biology, 2,9:2019)

Not only are more and more studies being conducted and published, they’re also growing in quality, using larger sample sizes and investigating more interactions between different gene variants and lifestyle factors.

The research team at FitnessGenes are constantly scouring medical and genetic databases for these new studies and critically analyzing their findings.

In addition to GWAS studies, we pay particular attention to recently published:

  • Meta-analyses – that pool the data from several individual studies, allowing us to more accurately assess the impact of different gene variants and/or interventions (e.g. exercise programs, lifestyle changes, supplements).
  • Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) – that help us to understand how effective different actions are. For example, if a new dietary supplement becomes available, our team will first look at the evidence from large scale RCTs to assess whether the new supplement is better than placebo or other established supplements.
  • Systematic reviews – that organise and critically evaluate the body of scientific literature.

By keeping abreast of these latest scientific developments, our team are able to design and deliver you new, relevant, and interesting traits.

We have access to over 680,000 gene variants

One question you may have is, “Will I need to repeatedly have my DNA / saliva sample retested to receive new traits, insights and actions?”

No! We can get all the information we need from just one saliva sample (or, if you’ve had your DNA analyzed by another company, just one DNA upload purchase).

The reason for this is that we use the latest biochip (or microarray) technology for our DNA Analysis. We’re currently using a customised version of the Illumina Infinium Global Screening Array v1, a biochip which gives us the ability to test for over 680,000 different gene variants or SNPs (Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms).

If important new research findings about a gene variant emerge, we’re highly likely to already have this data saved on our secure servers. This allows us to quickly build new traits, meaning you can find out whether you carry this gene variant and understand how it affects your physiology.

Our TrueTrait™ algorithm adapts to new data

As scientific research updates and progresses, so does our TrueTrait™ algorithm. This means that the algorithm accounts for new data on the effects (or lack of effects) of different gene variants and lifestyle factors, integrating this information into its calculations.

We can also account for new data on the complex interactions between existing traits. This enables us to compile these traits together to create fresh traits (e.g. master traits) that give a more holistic picture of how your body works.

What this all means for you

As well as being updated about the latest research into fitness genomics, FitnessGenes members can expect to receive personal insights into how to use this research to optimise your exercise, nutrition and lifestyle. And, with no associated subscription fees or paywalls, these regular result updates are all included in the initial cost of your DNA analysis test or DNA upload.

Not yet a full FitnessGenes member? Start unlocking your lifestyle-based traits for free through the button below.

Alex Auld

One of FitnessGenes' first full-time employees, Alex re-joined the company in 2021 after completing his MA in Global Communications at the University of London. He now oversees all customer communications, helping to ensure that our members get the most from their results. An amateur triathlete, you can expect to find him in the pool, on the bike, or running laps of his local park most weekends.

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