Welcome to the gene box. Here we unbox your curiosity about genome mystique and make it work for your advantage. Connect with us to explore possibilities.
The 21st Century Diagnostics
2611 BC – Ancient Egypt: As Imoteph laid on the Ancient Operation Slab, fatigued from his disease symptoms, a ‘Healer’ handed him a mixture of bloodstone, red grain and carob, cooked in oil. “Take it in the next 4 mornings with honey”, said the Doctor. Another healer walked up to Imotph and recited a spell against the Disease.
611 BC – Ancient Greece: 2000 years after Imoteph’s Diagnosis, Hippocrates recorded the association between disease and heredity, while Pythagoras noted the association between metabolism and heredity. The medical community, however, has only recently acknowledged the importance of genetics and its relevance to mainstream medicine.
1400 AD – Western Europe: The world now had a better understanding of diseases and how to cure them. It is in this era that David’s great ancestor, Robert was diagnosed with Diabetes. His blood was collected in a vial and its viscosity and color was observed while it drained from Robert’s arm. The rate, power and tempo of his pulsing artery was also carefully noted by a physician. The color and viscosity denoted whether Robert had an acute, major or chronic disease; which also assisted the physician in zeroing down on the presence of excess blood sugar in Robert’s body.
Today: “In each person’s DNA lies a script for how their bodies will change and become ill as well as how they will handle the assaults of the environment from the beginning of their life to its end.”
Medical diagnostic methods have evolved to such an extent that today, a genetic test could reveal the biological strengths and weaknesses in respect to these assaults and predict disease proneness before they actually have the opportunity to manifest. The physician, forewarned with this knowledge could guide the patients towards appropriate lifestyle changes to anticipate and mitigate disease processes.
And that is the difference!!
Today, through a DNA Test, we can successfully predict an impending disease and accordingly plan interventions to prevent it from ever happening!!
Throughout the ages, medicine has been able to cure the deadliest of diseases.
BUT why live a drug-dependant lifestyle when the right food and right exercise at the right time could even prevent the likes of PCOD, Type II Diabetes and Several Heart complications before their symptoms ever manifest!!!!
Think about it.
Nutrigenomics - The Gene Box
“Rice is bad for weight!” But have you wondered that many rice eater communities, in fact, have leaner frames. Why is that? I hear you say, “It is in their genes”. Yes, it is how their genes react to the rice. So basically, rice is not the problem, but there is Nutrigenomics at play here.
Let us understand what does this mean to a common man. This science of studying genes is called Genomics. It is the study of the entire set of genes found in living things including humans, plants, animals and even viruses.
When the study of genes combines with nutrition, we get Nutrigenomics. It is the study of how genes and nutrients interact. Interesting!
There is a deeper connection between food and genes. The food you eat has an impact on your genes and your genes have a profound effect on your nutritional requirements, metabolism and the ability to lose or gain weight.
When it comes to the nutrients that you take in through your diets or the supplements, your genes can cause you to respond differently from other people. This knowledge is profound in leading a healthy life. Armed with this information, an individual can make appropriate choices regarding his/her health and is saved a lot of trial and error.
But all this sounds too technical and brings in images of labs and tests. Not anymore! Nowadays the gene testing for nutrition has become quite easy and convenient. You can get yourself analysed without a prick on your body.
I recently came across a company called The Gene Box. They are into the genetic analysis. All they need is your saliva sample. That’s it! And they give you a big, fat report of your genetic analysis with regards to nutrition, health and fitness.
The Gene Box makes you meet your body on the DNA level. They help you familiarise with your body’s basic makeup. They also suggest you lifestyle changes on the basis of your reports.
The right diet and exercise are vital to avoid the risk of developing health complications and live a healthier life. So getting this test done is an investment that you will make for your health.
You can visit their website www.thegenebox.com for further details.
Do give this a thought!
Stay healthy, Stay happy :)
Dt Sarika Nair
Type II Diabetes: A Fresh Perspective
Glucose is the problem and glucose is the solution!! Now that’s irony…And unfortunately, a way of life for the diabetic population. 371 million people in the world suffer from Diabetes out of which 187 million don’t even know they have the disease. Now let’s do some quick maths: Diabetic population=371 million; World population=7.5 billion. 5% of the people are diabetic!! And the numbers are increasing as you are reading this….
Now let’s review some facts – When we eat, our body turns food into glucose and this glucose is used by our cells for our body to function properly. Insulin is produced in our body and is the key that opens our cells so glucose can enter. For a diabetic person, this ‘insulin key’ stops working and so glucose builds up in the blood. This excessive blood glucose level can damage eyes, nerves, kidneys, heart and can even cause coma and death.
Let’s consider David’s example:
David suffers from Type 2 Diabetes. He not only has high blood glucose levels but also suffers from chronic depression and Bulimia (an eating disorder in which a person Binge eats recurrently. It is influenced by depression). He goes to his local Diabetologist who prescribes oral medication to David which is aimed at helping his body use its own insulin more efficiently. He is also prescribed some painkillers to ease the pain from sores and cuts that just won’t heal and is asked to follow a Diet plan.
Two weeks later, David is back for a consultation. Not only is he still diabetic but now he also suffers from heart palpitations as a result of restricted flow of blood to the heart. To make matters worse his blood pressure reads 160 by 100 and is a victim of insomnia and heightened anxiety.
What went wrong?
For this, we will have to take a peek at his genetic makeup. Genetically, David is a slow metabolizer of caffeine. This means that caffeine stays in his body longer than usual before it gets absorbed. The downside? High blood pressure and an elevated chance of a cardiac arrest. Little did David know that the Diet plan he was following was doing him more harm than good. Black tea was at the top of the list followed by pain killers. 4000 mg of caffeine per 30g of black tea… not getting absorbed by the body… and over a period of 2 weeks… That’s a lot of caffeine!!
Who’s to blame ?? - Nobody.
Well, David’s diabetologist couldn’t have known about his high sensitivity towards caffeine. His job was to keep diabetes in check, not to research about David’s genetic predispositions… And who was to know the diet plan wouldn’t work? The same diet plan had worked for other diabetics in the past with a success rate of 90%.
David’s way out.
David, being a smart lad understood that the same diet plan doesn’t work for everybody. He required a tailor-made plan- one that his body would agree to. Without further ado, he got a genetic analysis done which told him exactly how his body was built-up from inside. He got to know his sensitivities towards different food substances like carbs, fats, vitamins, caffeine, etc. as well as what foods to eat and what to avoid.
Finally, he took his genetic analysis report to his diabetologist who designed a diet plan based on it. In no time, David’s blood sugar reached normal levels and he did away with insulin injections too.
Today, David is a regular triathlon contestant and a fitness freak. Although he has to strictly follow his Diet plan, he also hasn’t had a diabetic attack in the past 4 years. The rewards surely outweigh the compromises!
David’s top 10 tips to lose that flab
Hey guys, David here! I am The Gene Box’s 1st animated client… and glad to be so!
By now you must have seen my failed workouts on our Website.(That fat guy running on a treadmill) Well.. honestly, I wouldn’t be able to write these tips if I didn’t fail in my workout attempts… so here goes!
Don’t follow the herd Never settle for a generic diet plan. It may be working for Kevin… but it ain’t going to work for you.
Know your body If you’ve taken 1 seriously, do a thorough research on your body. Which foods work & which don’t?
Customization is the key! Tailor-made Suits, tailor-made shoes, tailor-made blouses…… Tailor-made Diet plan? Get one now.
Never Fast Eat less, but never fast. Ever.
Focus and Chew! Go slow on your food. Chew every bit.
Count your calories (Part i) Keep track of your calories every day. (Calories gained = ___ ; Calories spent = ___).
Count your Calories (Part ii) Studied maths in school? Time to use it. (If Calories gained > Calories lost, whoops! Watch out!) AND (if calories gained < calories lost, Good job! Keep it up!)
The King, The Prince & The Pauper Eat breakfast like a King! Lunch like a Prince and Dinner like a Pauper! Well not literally…. but you know what I mean!
Start with water & end with Salad A glass of warm water with lemon before breakfast and a bowl of salad after Dinner
Get Going!: Follow steps 1 to 9 (*** Most important step***)
Well, that’s all folks! It worked for me and I’m sure it will work for you too!
P.S: We’ll help you with 2,3 & 6.
Happy Eating! ?
Personal Genomics in India- A brighter future ahead
An analysis predicts that the global genetic industry is going to grow at a CAGR of 9.65% from 2014-2019. Some of the major segments like pharmacogenomics, diagnostic testing and personal genomics are expected to make the most contributions to the revenue of the overall market in upcoming years. As far as only genetic testing market is concerned it is expected to touch $ 2.2 billion by 2017. That tells you about the growth opportunity one has in genetics industry.
Still young in India,
While in India it is still a new concept, focusing mainly on diseases like cancer and other extreme ones. Patients and their family members are being more and more proactive towards their health care and that in turn has driven the labs and hospital towards innovating. Healthcare industry has embraced some of the application of genetic testing for diagnostic and disease prevention and thus solving a lot of problems. There are about 20+ hospital and labs doing research work on many extreme diseases. Apart from that, there are a number of start-ups working on personal genomics and DNA sequencing.
Day in day out this industry is evolving and people are keen to know what more can genetic industry offer.
Now, because of more and more players entering the industry, genetic industry- mainly personal genomics is getting a lot of attention. They are using it for coming up with a better and more accurate approach towards well-being. Many companies are using genomics for different kinds of analysis as well.
Accuracy and range of Information,
Genetic testing has benefitted most in terms of accuracy and at the same time, the wide range of information is procured out of it. Test results can help people get more understanding about their body and also help in making decisions about managing their health. For example, a negative result for a particular disease can eliminate the need for unnecessary check-ups and screenings, while at the same time a positive result can direct a person towards more customized detection, monitoring, and prevention or treatment options. It also helps them get to know about genetic disorders flowing in the family and how to stay on top of it.
The trick behind these innovations is simple – finding more and more applications of genetics and incorporating it in our daily life in a cost effective way. So the key is doing more research and studies and using the same for day to day lifestyle applications.
What Genetic testing essentially does is, it provides information about a person's genes and chromosomes, in turns you know a person inside out and by analyzing those details properly we can use it to our advantage. Available types of testing includes: New-born screening, Diagnostic testing, Carrier testing, Prenatal testing, Pre-implantation testing, Predictive and pre-symptomatic testing, Forensic testing and many more.
Personal genomics and genetic testing are slowly finding its liking among the population in India with a continuously evolving offering from the start-ups. Today, healthcare & wellness are important for people and they are willing to use the tech available to ensure their family’s wellbeing.
Genetics has opened a floodgate for a number of possibilities. Every player is using different applications of it to tap into the ocean of opportunities of genetics industry.
Nutrition plans – One diet doesn’t work for everyone
Have you been wondering why some nutrition plans always have conflicting results most of the time. The dieting plans we decide for ourselves may have worked well on our friends, relatives etc. but it may not work with us. It’s because of our different genotypes. Usually everyone benefits from a diet composed of whole foods including lean proteins and plenty of vegetables. But for toning up & weight loss and optimum health, our needs become different from the others. Human beings have a 0.5 % difference in the body components. They are 99.5% same. This tiny, tiny percentage accounts for millions of genetic codes. In that 0.5% you find SNPs (Single Nucleotide Polymorphs). When SNPs are altered it causes a sequence variation in human genome.
Genetics play a key role,
Skin color, body size, hair type and susception to various illnesses are dependent on how our body interacts with the environment. If anyone’s is to grow to 7’2” and the environment isn’t conducive, he/she may suffer from stunted height. What we consume as infants and embryos affect our genes and regulate our traits several decades later.
We should be aware of our health history and identify key areas such as the nutrient deficiencies, genetic mutations and biochemical imbalances so that we can take better decisions about our body and stay on top of these issues. We, at The Gene Box, through our genetic test and comprehensive analysis will enable everyone to use the latest evidence-based nutrition method that creates a combinatory diet of nutrients and lifestyle modifications.
How will The Gene Box help you?
It exists to help everyone identify their genome variation arising from diet as a selective pressure helps in identification of nutrient utilization alleles. Our gene testing reports will help in understanding of the molecular mechanisms causing gene-nutrient interactions and their modifications. All these details and our tailor-made action plan would ensure that everyone knows the right nutrients to intake in right amount.
Should we eat according to our genes? Does this sound too futuristic? Sounds like a scene from a sci-fi movie? Our researchers have been constantly discovering how minute differences in our genes affect what we should eat; now everyone of us can get a genetic test done and receive a nutrition plan for self. With the test results, The Gene Box can recommend the specific details about the level of nutrients one needs to take, the diseases they may be susceptible to and how to keep them at bay.
Know what Nutrition works and work around it Smartly.
Genetics is changing how Sports is approached- in a better way
ACTN3 is just one among more than 20,000 genes in the human body. But it’s a special gene all the same for its link with athletic abilities. The R variant of ACTN3 instructs the body to produce a protein, alpha-actinin-3, found specifically in fast-twitch muscles. Those muscles are suited for speed and power sports. The X variant prevents production of the protein and good for endurance sports.
Example like this shows that genetic test can help determine a child’s inclination – whether for speed and power sports like sprinting or football, or for endurance sports like distance running, or even a judicious blend of both words.
Given the right consultation by a responsible genetic practitioner, genetic testing can become your reliable guide to finding your child’s sports niche, which at a crucial stage may help him /her choose between an academic scholarship or a career as a professional athlete or may even discourage overzealous parents to force fit their ambition into the child’s system if the natural inclination is found amiss.
Genetics and Possibilities in Sports
And genetic testing is not just about the ACTN3 gene. Genetic testing is a fast evolving science with rich possibilities. It can help us:
Sooner the Better,
Although there’s no hard and fast rule about the right age for genetic testing to gauge and groom natural athletic abilities, schooling years are the best time as there’s ample time to track a child’s sports performance too. It will help in:
By the time kids’ transition to high school or college, it’s too late to determine and work upon intrinsic athletic abilities However; this is a path that one needs to tread with caution. We strongly recommend that the child should not be subjected to a competitive sport until about the age of 8 despite favourable genetic deductions as this may cause burnout and anxiety that could prove fatal.
Needless to say, there’s no substitute for hard work and perseverance as also the joy of self-discovery as to one’s natural athletic abilities. But genetic testing is no doubt a helpful tool to gain proficiency in specific sports that one’s genes may have a natural affinity for. More importantly, it can help predict the potential for success in the given sport.
The Gene Box way
TGB has designed a unique approach to using genetic testing to arrive at a child’s intrinsic athletic abilities. Our study, analysis and recommendation post genetic tests are devoid of black and white conclusions. Instead we strike a judicious blend of genetic testing and sports training in line with the biological maturity voyage from childhood to adulthood.
My Journey to Success as a Fitness Trainer
Being a fitness trainer in this fast paced technology controlled era has become one of the most challenging professional career choices one tends to make. You need to have a perfect schedule, which you follow every day in order to provide your clients with the satisfaction that you can help them in one way or the other.
For me, the task was even more demanding as I am a professional marathon runner and a dog lover with an asthmatic condition. However, a platform which helped me overcome my medical issues, and excel in my related niche was The Gene Box.
My name is Alamelu and I’m a 37-year old fitness trainer and professional marathon runner. A while ago I was diagnosed with asthma, with a marked tendency to gain water weight over the time. Such a case meant that my career as a long-distance marathon runner could come to an end. Moreover, with my increasing weight, I started suffering from vitamin deficiency as well and faced a tough time with distance running. Then, I came to know of The Gene Box.
The Gene Box is basically a platform which offers a simple saliva-DNA test and analyses your genetic predisposition – providing you with recommendations from some of the most experienced professionals in the field of nutrition, aimed towards your well-being in the future. They provide detailed reports on your medical composure and customized recommendations, which help you in maintaining a healthy lifestyle overall. Moreover, with the help of these easy-to-understand reports, you have the ability to sketch out your diet plan and follow it according to your needs and requirements.
The Gene Box provided me with a detailed report of what medical issues I was facing, and how I could recover from them. They provided me with a Genotype Diet and Workout plan, which helped in accelerating my recovery, and gradually building my stamina at a steady pace. Moreover, I got recommendations from some of the most well-known nutritionist and dieticians, which allowed me to stay motivated while I was going through this challenge.
With the help of The Gene Box’s Genotype Diet and Workout Plan, I started to recover from my vitamin deficiency and got rid of it at the end. My performance in fitness and long-distance running improved and I gained a stable and healthy weight. Moreover, I joined swimming as well, and my asthma became well in control after following the recommendations of the professionals at The Gene Box.
Apart from my performance improving gradually and my recovery accelerating at a good pace, I got a chance to jump back into the long-distance marathon field and achieve the goals I had set for myself.
I have already participated in a 21K run in the Mumbai Marathon and I am planning to enroll myself for the 42 K run which is going to be held next year. Apart from that, I’m also looking forward to participating in the Ironman triathlon and comrades, and celebrate my recovery through doing what I love!
A Day at The Gene Box
We have started a new thing where each of us are supposed to write an article on a day in the life at The Gene Box, to give a sneak-peak in our life for outsiders. However, a day at TGB is better defined as a lifestyle than by amount of hours put in. Let me start with the story of me joining TGB and the life ahead.
Me, before The Gene Box
So I was fresh out of college, IIT Roorkee — figuring out what is best career for me, and at the same time explaining to my relatives how and why I didn’t land some big package in XYZ corporate. I was never the guy for 9 to 5 job. Neither was I motivated to pursue Biotechnology further for higher studies.
Then a very strange thing happened.
I came across this start-up called The Gene Box, doing something with using Genetics for solving lifestyle problems of day-to-day life. I instantly loved the idea and felt like this could be a place where I, with my expertise in Biotechnology, can contribute and figure out a way forward for my career. As any graduate from my field would relate how confusing it to figure out right career choice, it was a promising breakthrough.
So I researched about The Gene Box’ work, I saw how they were using DNA testing as a tool for providing solutions about reaching the right advice for Nutrition and Fitness and ensuring a healthy lifestyle. I had cold feet at first, having no prior experience and starting life in the corporates. Then talking with Pranav, Co-founder The Gene Box, about his expectations from me and what is his vision going forward helped in settling my nerves.
Joining The Gene Box
On my first day, as I was from Biotech background, Pranav asked to make something for everyone to understand Genes and genetics. It was sort of work where I had to transform the technical stuff I have read to something a layman would understand. Challenging job to link the science with the application for people to understand.
I created a series of slides and documents to showcase the same. I failed many times, and each time I learned some new tricks for conveying what’s in my mind- innovating and improvising is the key. I went on to pitch the same idea and my product’ pitch to people over next couple of days and seeing people reaction to the product was motivating.
Biotech Minors ---> Genetics Majors
In a month on the job, the biggest challenge for me was to prove my worth and show if I belong there. In college I had done some dry lab works, researching through published papers and stuff, but here I had to use this to extract something that can be an addition to our product. I had this advice from Pranav to let’s not wander around adding more genes and traits to our package, rather lets first recheck and improve the efficiency of what we have. I started working on studies on different populations and how certain SNPs of genes we are using has affected different traits.
As a result, in few weeks I made a separate list of SNPs for the Genes we are using. It kind of gave me confidence about my skills and applying your knowledge in applications give a sort of satisfaction. Then again, the research never stops. I still go through studies, extract data that will help me provide further validation to those SNPs.
Different roles- many shoes to fill,
You must be feeling what a boring job I have, doing research and making points. Let me tell you one interesting part, being in a start-up you are never what your designation says. You take different roles as per the need of the hour. So my PD work is about 40% of the job I do. I like it, lots of responsibilities and lots of fun. Lunches and delightful evening snacks work as a motivating factor needed.
Finally, for now..
I’m working on improving our product’s dimensions in terms of traits and the quantity of genes on our panel.
I work with Abhilash, our Digital Marketing guy, on a daily basis discussing his plans and ideas for marketing on different online platforms.
We have one-hour meeting- whole core team where we just go through what we are doing, our plans for tomorrow- next week and so on. We don’t have any hierarchy and that helps in increasing our productivity as everyone’ ideas are valued and then by properly dividing the work among ourselves, we get it done.
Now when I compare myself to me after college, I see the difference in direction, confidence levels and determination I have for taking TGB through. And it excites me for all the coming tomorrows. The opportunities I am going to have, and the things I’ll get to do.