•One of the most well-known applications of genetic testing is in the field of genetic predisposition testing, which looks for specific genetic variations that increase a person's risk of developing certain diseases, such as cancer or heart disease.
•In Kenya, there is no specific law that protects an individual’s genetic information
“This DNA kit will end many marriages, let them close this company.” This meme gained popularity after last month's release of the Sh800 home DNA test kit with a day’s turnaround of results.
Despite the increased awareness by the public of the role that genetics play, especially in paternity testing, which remains a contentious issue, the technology may not be well embraced by all.
According to a 2013 purposeful study by Statex Research in Nairobi, 30 per cent of males in Nairobi may be parenting children whose fathers are other men. Three out of ten married males, or 30 per cent, were raising children fathered by other men, according to a sample of 712 men from Nairobi aged 24 to 60.
As seen in the meme's phrase, some people would want to live in ignorance of their gene pool, but others would prefer not to, particularly when it comes to inherited diseases and ancestry.
It is now easier and more affordable for people to get information about their own genetic make-up thanks to technological breakthroughs. The growing interest in genetic testing and tailored care has resulted from this, but what does it really mean to "know your genetics"?
Our DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is the blueprint for our physical and biological characteristics. It is made up of millions of base pairs that make up our genetic code, and variations in this code can affect our health, susceptibility to certain diseases, and even physical traits such as eye colour and height. By understanding our genetics, we can gain valuable insights into our personal health and potential risks.
One of the most well-known applications of genetic testing is in the field of genetic predisposition testing, which looks for specific genetic variations that increase a person's risk of developing certain diseases, such as cancer or heart disease.
This information can help individuals and their healthcare providers make more informed decisions about prevention and early detection. Additionally, genetic testing can also be used in the diagnosis of rare genetic disorders, which can be difficult to identify through traditional methods.
In the field of personalised treatment, understanding your genetic makeup can also be advantageous. Healthcare professionals can now customise medicines to a patient's particular genetic profile because of the growth of genetic testing.
This can result in therapies that are more effective and efficient and minimise the likelihood of negative effects. A genetic test can assess whether a patient is a good candidate for a certain treatment, as some cancer treatments may only be successful in persons with particular genetic variants.
Despite the many benefits of genetic testing, there are also concerns about privacy and discrimination. It is important for individuals to understand that genetic information is personal and sensitive, and should only be shared with trusted healthcare providers or family members.
Additionally, there are laws in place to protect individuals from discrimination based on their genetic information, such as the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) in the United States.
In Kenya, there is no specific law that protects individual’s genetic information; however, it can be argued that Chapter 4 bill of rights, article 27 (4) which states “The State shall not discriminate directly or indirectly against any person on any ground, including race, sex, pregnancy, marital status, health status, ethnic or social origin, colour, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, dress, language or birth.” This addresses in part non-discrimination against people living with genetic diseases.
In conclusion, knowing your genetics is becoming increasingly important in the 21st century.
With advances in technology, genetic testing is becoming more accessible and affordable, allowing individuals to gain valuable insights into their personal health and potential risks.
With this, knowing your biological parents can be a great pointer of your genetic pool. However, good parenting is not determined by the similarity in genetic markup. There’s far more in play, like mental well-being, emotional support and unconditional love that are not governed solely by blood relations.