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Gleneagle Clinic

Greygates | Stillorgan Road | Blackrock | Dublin

  • Surgery: (01) 288 1425
  • Out of hours: (01) 453 9333

Genetics and Epigenetics

The explosive growth of molecular biology has meant that access to gene sequencing is now cheap and easily available. Many people are taking advantage of this to learn more about their health and about their ancestry.

There are a number of readily available and inexpensive kits for anyone who wishes to learn more about their health / themselves. We can provide you with the kits - with which one can do a simple saliva test which will then be analaysed to unearth enormous data about you.

SNPs are sites in the genome where differences occur between people at a higher rate than other sites. We at the Gleneagle Clinic can help you interpret your results from an SNP analysis, so that hopefully you will understand them better and be in a better position to take action.

One of the major SNPs is the MTHFR SNP. Basically, there are a number of sites in the MTHFR gene where a change in base is more commonly found than usual. For example, there is the C677T version which is a common change that can affect Folate metabolism. Some people have a change or an SNP in both versions of the gene, leading to homozygous mutations, or at different sites in the gene, leading to compound mutations. This leads to a spectrum of presentation with the MTHFR SNP.

This is important, as these SNPs can mean that the patient is not metabolising Folic Acid optimally. This is particularly important if the patient requires significant amounts of Folate, is pregnant, or is taking certain anti-epileptic medications such as Phenytoin. We can advise on this and other SNPs that genetic analysis may have demonstrated in your case.

Epigenetics means "above genetics". Essentially, it means the controls the body has in place to control gene expression. The key modifiable component of this is methylation, the addition of a CH3 group to a DNA base. This stops gene expression. We do epigenetic testing in Chicago as part of our nutrient testing, which can show whether someone is under, over or normally methylated. We can treat accordingly with specific nutrients to adjust the Homocysteine-Methionine cycle and improve the patient's epigenetic profile. This is particularly useful in some types of anxiety and depression.