Janampatri to genomepatri, the leap forward in predicting future

In astrology and janampatri-crazy India, a Hyderabad-based company called Mapmygenome has launched GenomePatri, a scientifically-validated personal health horoscope charted by mining one's genetic profile.

Mapmygenome's cleverly-named GenomePatri is only one of a rash of recently-launched personal genetic mapping services. In the past months, a proliferation of Indian companies are offering prognostic tests to decode DNA based on a simple saliva sample and lay bare the health risks a person could have inherited from parents and ancestors. For a fee ranging from Rs 9,999-25,000, these companies analyse a person's predisposition to diseases, risks accrued from diet and lifestyle factors and drug responses.

Personal genomics, the newest and most sophisticated of medical techniques, is recent in India but is widely prevalent in the West. A person's DNA gleaned from a few drops of saliva can aid presymptomatic testing and estimate the risk of developing a range of diseases from diabetes to adult-onset cancers and Alzheimer's disease.

"We test in 50 broad areas ranging from metabolic disorders to oesophageal cancers," said Anu Acharya, the US-trained co-founder and CEO of Hyderabad-based Mapmygenome. About 250 Indians have already had their DNA profiling done from the company. The tests provide such insights like a person's genetic predisposal towards Type 2 diabetes (the DNA code, for instance, contains many of the snips that predict disease onset), help pin down traits such as the tendency to gain weight, and discover a person's response to different categories of drugs to help arrive at optimum drug dosages.

Similarly, the Chennai-based Xcode Life Sciences' Rs 9,999-service offers genetic predictive assessments for eight conditions including diabetes and stroke, along with an appraisal of the individual's body response to intake of caffeine or fat, for instance. The service has attracted a broad spectrum of Indians in the few months since its launch.

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