When studying the human body through the lens of a clinical trial, researchers are always looking to gain new insights into the diseases and conditions that afflict us and to better understand what causes them. While there are a variety of methodologies available for researchers to use depending on the type of disease being studied, genotyping is one process that may offer a new understanding into why our bodies develop the way that they do. It may help answer the questions, What causes certain conditions to emerge, and what can we do to treat them?
Genotyping is the process that allows researchers to look at specific sections of genetic code in order to detect minor genetic variations in your DNA. Genotyping allows us to identify small genetic differences that actually have a huge impact on the physical differences found between each and every human being. For example, say you have green eyes and your friend has brown eyes – genotyping allows researchers to look at a specific area within your DNA where they know this information about eye color is stored. They can then compare your unique DNA sequence to your friend’s in order to see the genetic variations that cause you to have one eye color, while your friend has another.
While understanding your DNA and how it corresponds to unique physical features such as eye or hair color is incredibly interesting, it’s just one small example of how genotyping can be applied to help us learn more about why humans function the way we do. How can this same process be used when it comes to clinical trials and understanding how certain diseases work in the body?
One incredibly important way genotyping is used – and one that’s specifically related to clinical trials and medical research – is to help us understand whether we may be at risk for certain diseases or health conditions. It turns out that certain DNA sequences in a healthy population can be different from those same DNA sequences in a population that either already has or may be more likely to inherit certain diseases. By comparing the genetics of healthy patients with the genetics of those with certain diseases, we can begin to better understand the genetic variations that may increase a person’s risk for conditions such as Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and more.
Being able to identify what specific genetic codes predispose us to certain conditions and illnesses is not the same as having a cure for these conditions, but it certainly is a good place to start. While there is always more research to be done when it comes to understanding what makes every human unique, being able to identify what genetic variants lead to specific diseases is huge. This then leads to understanding why that disease developed, and what researchers can do to help manage and treat it.
Contact us for more information on our work in the genotyping space.