It’s in your DNA
Dread it, run from it if you will, but it’s inevitable for all of us. I prefer to know how my death might happen than live blissfully unaware. You’re free to decide for yourself!
For some of us, it’s predestined how we may die. Your DNA has a surprising amount of information about your future. Thanks to the research of thousands of clever scientists past and present, we can create a pretty good picture of how your life might pan out – including your untimely death, I’m afraid.
How does it work?
There are two things you need:
- Your DNA. You can get this from 23andMe, MyHertiage, and many other services.
- Promethease. A portal that searches your DNA against scientific research and summarizes the findings.
Many people are doing DNA tests nowadays to find out about their ancestry, as well as discover unknown relatives. As exciting as that is, it pales in comparison to finding out how you might die (in my humble opinion).
Once you have done the first part, you can download your DNA from the service of choice. Here’s a snapshot of mine (yes, more than 720,000 rows of DNA data)!
Now the genius part. You can then upload your DNA to Promethease. This tool scans through scientific research papers looking for any mention of your genes. It summarizes whether your genes are associated with positive or negative things. Cancers, allergies, baldness, or positive things like better vision, muscle retention, fat losing-abilities and more.
My results: how will I die, and what are my superpowers?
For me, I know I have a family history of thyroid cancer and prostate cancer. The top results for me are accordingly:
I’m also semi-lactose intolerant. So we know the tool is working:
But there’s plenty of alternative deaths to look out for. I love peanut butter, but maybe not forever if I develop an allergy:
On the flipside – your DNA reveals traits in you where you fare better than the rest of the general population. Here are just some of my superpowers:
Naturally resistant to several diseases:
Lower heart attack risk:
Less mental decline with age:
Stronger bones. No additional context needed. Call me Unbreakable.
Reduced risk of baldness:
I get fuller quicker, meaning I can hopefully avoid gaining weight. No stomach stapling for me:
So to summarize. I may die of cancer but at least I’ll do so with a full head of hair.
Now come on – don’t you want to find out what superpowers you have?
How accurate is this death prediction? Do I really have superpowers?
Here is the disclaimer from Promeathease that you must agree to – you should heed this warning:
I realize that most published reports about DNA variations explain only a small part of the heritability of a trait, and they also don’t take into account how different variants might interact. In addition, published reports typically ignore environmental, dietary, microbial, medical history and lifestyle factors, any or all of which may well affect my true risk for any trait or disease.
I am aware that I am strongly encouraged to discuss my Promethease report with a doctor, genetic counselor or other health-care provider prior to making any medical or reproductive decisions. I also acknowledge that I am advised to confirm any significant finding discovered in part through the use of Promethease by an independent, clinically validated test for use in connection with the medical trait in question.
It is all just an estimate. There are many other factors involved other than your DNA.
On a scale of ‘guaranteed’ to ‘pinch of salt’ you’re certainly closer to the ‘pinch of salt’ side when it comes to accuracy of the results. But this is ‘guaranteed’ to be better than a quiz entitled ‘How you will die’! It’s the best we have right now.
Can I prevent my own death?
Now that you know you might die of heart disease, maybe you can try lowering your cholesterol and exercising more?
Now that you know you might develop a peanut allergy later in your life, maybe you can carry antihistamines with you or whatever negates peanut allergy reactions?
Is this an overreaction and will you look like a hypochondriac?
Can you end on a lighter note?
I can try. We’ve already discussed that this is not absolute. Increased chance of something bad is not a guarantee of something bad. Even if something bad does befall you in the future, science may have developed a cure for that bad thing. Go Science.