General information about genetics and the role of genetics vs. environmental factors, lifestyle choices and other

What is a gene?

A gene is a segment of the DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) molecule that contains the instructions for how, when and where your body makes each of the many thousands of proteins required for life. Each gene is comprised of combinations of four base pairs that make up your genetic code:

  • Adenine
  • Thymine
  • Cytosine
  • Guanine

Each gene’s code combines the "letters" A, T, C, and G in various ways, spelling out the "words" that specify which amino acid is needed at every step in the process of making the proteins required for your body to develop and function.

What are gene variations?

With the exception of identical twins, all people have small differences in the information their DNA contains, and it’s these differences that make each of us unique.

Gene variations are slight changes in the genetic code that are present in at least 1 % of the population. For example, one genetic "letter" (A, T, C, or G) may be replaced by another. These variations can lead to different processes in the body, just as altering one letter in a word can completely change its meaning; for instance, from "g"oat to"c"oat.

When the variation affects only one genetic letter, as in the goat/coat example above, scientists call this a"single nucleotide polymorphism" (or SNP, pronounced "snip").

Are gene variations dangerous?

Genetic variations are simply the differences in the forms of the genes present in our bodies. They should not be considered as "good" or "bad" or even "dangerous".

Gene variations are quite common in healthy individuals, and some variations may be beneficial.

Most people have one or more of these genetic features; however, identifying and analysing your unique pattern of genetic characteristics could support adjusting your diet and lifestyle to match your specific needs for a personalised diet plan.

What is "NUTRIGENETICS"?

Nutrigenetics is concerned with the effects of our individual genetic variations in response to our diet and other sources of nutrients. It enables us to identify where we are on our journey towards achieving our individual, optimal diet & excercise programme.

Nutrigenetics does not give any medical information or informs on disease risks.

The purpose of nutrigenetics is education and the genetic testing is classified as lifestyle genetic test.

How can a genetic test suggest a diet for me?

In order to begin aligning our diet and lifestyle choices with our own genetic variations, we need to know which variations we have. Certain variations appear to increase the challenge of achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. We may explain the context of genetic makeup and metabolic consequence using the example of the intestinal fatty acid binding protein 2 gene (FABP2): Scientists have found that individuals who have the Thr54 variant of the FABP2-gene tend to absorb more fat from their diet and therefore tend to have an increased body mass index than those who lack this variant. These individuals are likely to find that eating a diet low in fat makes it easier for them to maintain a healthy weight. The purpose of the bodykey™ genetic test is to determine which of these genetic variations you have and to provide guidance and access to eating and exercising approaches that can help you manage weight successfully. Taking into consideration the metabolic consequence of all 5 genetic variants, their frequency within human genes and their different effects for human metabolism, scientists have developed a method to calculate the bodykey diet- and exercise plan from your genetic makeup.

Specific information about the genetic test

Based on a comprehensive review of existing scientific literature, using stringent selection criteria by a team of experts from genetics, nutrition, obesity and weight management areas, the genes have been selected from the Obesity Gene Map Database (Rankinen et al., 2006). Only those genetic variations that were associated with body weight, body mass index, or body fat and had been replicated in at least three clinical studies have been reviewed by a team of experts, in order to meet further criteria, e.g. their proven biological function, their plausibility having a biological role in weight management and their evidence from clinical studies.

Only 5 genetic variations, found on 4 genes met all criteria and concenquently have been included into the bodykey genetic test:

  • Fatty Acid Binding Protein 2 (FABP2) Ala54Thr (rs1799883)
  • Peroxisome Proliferator-activated Receptor-gamma (PPARG or PPAR) Pro12Ala (rs1801282)
  • Beta-2 Adrenergic Receptor (ADRB2) Arg 16Gly (rs1042713)
  • Beta-2 Adrenergic Receptor (ADRB2) Gln27Glu (rs1042714)
  • Beta-3 Adrenergic Receptor (ADRB3) Arg64Trp (rs4994)

In the view of our stringent criteria and to date of bodykey market introduction, this combination of genetic variations reflects current scientific knowledge in the area of nutrigenetics.

We know that science in this area is rapidly evolving. Therefore we constantly review scientific literature on genetic variations that are reported in the context of weight management in order to be able to include latest scientific evidence into our product in the future.

Presentation of results

By means of a science based, product specific algorithm, the genetic test laboratory is translating your individual genetic test results into a diet and exercise profile. This will be presented to you as soon as the laboratory is ready with the analysis. The diet and exercise profile, together with the design-my-plan are the basis for your personalised bodykey recommendations.

Confidentiality and Storage

The laboratory only registers your unique code and has no access to any personal data like name, address, telephone number etc. In case you place your name on the envelope (not required) the laboratory has the legal obligation to destroy the envelope immediately.

As soon as the analysis has been successfully carried out, all biological samples are destroyed. Data is stored for up to 40 years.

As a consequence of this anonymity of all samples, Amway will never be able to notify any external party concerning your genetic make-up. The genetic test has only been designed for lifestyle purposes, therefore the only analysis that will be carried out will be to have the diet and exercises profile result.

Use of biological samples for a second purpose

Any use of samples for second purposes is not foreseen. If Amway should plan a scientific study in the future, there will be an extra consent form for this purpose.

Consumer questions

In case of any questions please contact us by using our contact form. Our experts will get in touch with you within 48 hours.

Bibliography

Rankinen, Zuberi, Chagnon, Weisnagel, Argyropoulos, Walts, P\u00E8russe, Bouchard, 2006: The human obesity gene map: the 2005 update. Obesity (2006) 14:529-644 Return to reference