FAQ’s about Genetics

Getting Started FAQs

How do I look up a SNP (rs id) on 23andMe?

23andMe allows you to browse your raw data from your account. Log in to your 23andMe account and click on your name in the upper right corner. In the dropdown, choose ‘Browse Raw Data’. After selecting the ‘Browse Raw Data’ option, you can type the SNP rs id information into the search bar. The information shown will include your genotype for that specific sequence. We also recommend that you download your raw data and store it safely.

Related article: How to log in to 23andMe and download raw data.

How do I look up a SNP (rs id) in AncestryDNA data?

You must download your raw data file from AncestryDNA before you can look up an SNP. Once downloaded and unzipped, it will be a text file. While you can search a text file for the specific data, it is easiest for future searches to go ahead and import it into an Excel file. Once in Excel, you can search your data using the Find command in Excel. Please read over the article listed below if you need specific step-by-step instructions.

Related article: How to log in and download your AncestryDNA raw data.

What do the different version numbers for 23andMe mean?

Beside each rs id in Genetic Lifehacks articles, you will see whether the information is available for 23andMe or AncestryDNA raw data in parentheses.

For 23andMe, the version of the raw data file indicates when that version was in service. When a new version releases, the company changes some gene sequences. Therefore, each version has a possibly different set of sequenced genes from the previous version. V4 data ranges from 2014 to mid-2017, and V5 data started in mid-2017 and is the present version. Most of the rs ids marked as V4 will also be available in V3 data.

screenshot showing version numbers for 23andme in articles
Example showing where to find the 23andMe version numbers in Genetic Lifehacks articles – VMAT2, God Gene article

Genetics FAQs

What is a genotype?

Genes are made up of DNA and are the basic units of heredity. A collection of genes in the genome becomes an organism’s genotype. 

Can genes change over time?

Yes and no – but mainly no.
DNA is made of nucleotide bases (A), guanine (G), cytosine (C), and thymine (T). The nucleotide bases (letters) in our DNA sequence do not change. Genes are made of DNA.
Your nuclear DNA gets copied each time a cell replicates. An error can occur in the replication, causing a mutation in the replicated cells. (Mutations in oncogenes are how cancer occurs.)
In general, though, your genes are what you were born with. While your DNA doesn’t change (much) since conception, see the epigenetics question below for information on how the genes are turned on or off.

What is epigenetics?

Epigenetics is the study of biological systems that cause genes to turn on and off. Biological systems affect how cells read genes and then ‘when or if’ proteins are made. Genes shouldn’t remain on all of the time. Regulation is important for certain signals to turn them either on or off.

Can I influence the way my genes turn on and off?

How you live your life is the biggest modifier to turning on and off genes. What you eat, how you exercise, how you sleep, live, and interact with people all influence chemical changes in your body that influence how your cells read the genes. These chemical changes then influence how genes turn on and off.

Can I modify my risk of certain diseases?

Absolutely! A healthy lifestyle and environmental changes affect and influence how your genes express (how they turn on and off). These changes can reduce disease risk if you are genetically predisposed. Everyone knows that they should eat healthy meals, be active, keep stress levels low, and avoid smoking for disease prevention. But there is more to the healthy living puzzle. We include a section called Lifehacks in each of our articles. These ‘hacks’ include practical, evidence-based solutions based on your genes. By including current health and genetics research, you can fine-tune your supplements or lifestyle changes to improve your quality of life.

Privacy and Ethics on Genetic Lifehacks

Why aren’t there any ads on Genetic Lifehacks?

Allowing ads on our site comes with an unwanted price to your privacy. Ads track your data. The data is valuable because it shows if you purchased a product, signed up for a newsletter, or contacted a business, to name a few actions. The business of data is very profitable and ubiquitous, with just about every company online. We didn’t want that for our members.

What is your privacy policy?

Your privacy is paramount! Our Privacy Policy lays out how Genetic Lifehacks handles privacy. It is written in plain language to understand how your information is used. The Privacy Policy is reviewed and revised periodically. You can find it here.

Will you sell your member data?

No and never. Genetic Lifehacks stores no personally identifiable information from your use of this website, except in the case of ordering a product. When you order a report or membership, the use of your order information helps provide that service to you. For example, we keep your email address and provided name so you can log in to the membership section of the website. The genetic information you provide will only be used for the consultation or reports and will not be shared, sold, used for research, or stored long term. Genetic Lifehacks will never use your genetic data to sell you products. Because genetic data is not stored, Genetic Lifehacks cannot sell your data as a company asset.


Member FAQs

What does it mean when my genotype is – -?

There are a couple of reasons you might find the dashes for your genotype. The first being you haven’t uploaded your genetic text file to the browser. We have a great tutorial video here with printable instructions. Please note if you don’t clear your data after each use, it will remain in your browser’s temporary files cache until you do. The second reason would be you don’t have that version. The SNPs section in each article indicates whether it is available on 23andMe versions 4 or 5 or AncestryDNA v.2 data. Most of the SNPs listed for 23andMe v4 are also found in the v3 data. Ex. If the SNP is for only v5 data and you have 23andme’s v4, you will get the dashes…and visa versa.

I have data from more than one genetics provider. Can I use it?

If the data is in the .txt format of 23andMe or AncestryDNA, it will work with the membership features.

Simply disconnect from one data file by clicking the ‘clear data’ button and then connect to the other data file.

You can combine the two files if you have both AncestryDNA and 23andMe data. We have instructions on the process here.

If you have MyHeritage raw data in a .csv file format, you will need to convert the .csv file to a tab delimited or .txt file. You can find that process on Converting MyHeritage data.

How do I cancel my monthly membership?

While we hate to see you go, it is easy to cancel your subscription. Just log in and go to the member’s account information page. Click on Subscription to manage or cancel your subscription.