Snips about SNPs: Lactose Intolerance Gene

The LCT gene controls whether you produce lactase (the enzyme that breaks down lactose) as an adult. The genetic variant that allows people to still drink milk as an adult is found in about 90% of Caucasians.  But Caucasians are the exception here, and most other populations don’t carry the variant that produces lactase as an adult.

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Check your genetic data for rs4988235 (23andMe v.4, v.5; AncestryDNA):

  • A/A: Still produces lactase as an adult
  • A/G: Still produces lactase as an adult, but less than those with A/A[ref]
  • G/G: No longer produces lactase as an adult

Members: Your genotype for rs4988235 is .

Not a lactase producer but still wanting to eat some ice cream? Probiotics that contain lactobacillus species can usually help you to digest some milk.[ref][ref]

Want more details? Check out the full article on Lactose Intolerance Genes


*SNP stands for Single Nucleotide Polymorphism, which is when one of the nucleotide bases (the A, C, G, or Ts) is replaced by a different nucleotide base in a gene.  

Author Information:   Debbie Moon
Debbie Moon is the founder of Genetic Lifehacks. She holds a Master of Science in Biological Sciences from Clemson University and an undergraduate degree in engineering from Colorado School of Mines. Debbie is a science communicator who is passionate about explaining evidence-based health information. Her goal with Genetic Lifehacks is to bridge the gap between the research hidden in scientific journals and everyone's ability to use that information. To contact Debbie, visit the contact page.