Green, Yellow, Red

I’m not quite sure I understand how to read these reports. For example, if I show my SNP sandbox for arrhythmia and view my variance report and it comes back green…I do not have this issue?

If I search for another issue such as long qt syndrome that I’ve been diagnosed with, it has a combination of all 3 colors.

Can someone guide me? Thank you.

First and most importantly to note, think of your genetics as factors influencing, but not necessarily determining who you are, your health, etc. In other words, genes are not destiny.

So, while you may have a genetic variant that is statistically linked to some health condition (either benign or not), your genetic profile can’t be used to determine or rule out any health condition.

Such profiles (and variance reports) can be used as “clues” , however. They can help in diagnosis, or make one aware of, and possibly take steps to reduce the likelihood of developing a disease (such as type II diabetes, for example), or cardiovascular problems, etc.

With that in mind, Variance Reports such as at Livewello will typically indicate, for some number of gene segments for which the coding has been determined, by the lab that processed your DNA sample (I think this is a relatively small percentage of a person’s DNA)), the coding for those. For many such identified segments (gene SNPs), the common genotype coding (wild type) is identified as is the less-common or “variant”. Often, but not always, it’s the variant genotype that is associated with an enhanced or reduced likelihood of some health condition.

That’s where the color coding in the variance report comes in. “Green” means that both copies of the gene (we get one copy from each parent) follow the common coding. Yellow means that one copy follows the common spelling, while the other is the variant; and the person is said to be “heterozygous” for that gene SNP. Red is used to indicate when both copies of the gene SNP have the variant form; and the person is said to be “homozygous” for that SNP.

In interpreting one’s variance report, while the SNPs in red are worthy of additional scrutiny, it’s important to keep in mind that first, it doesn’t mean one has the condition that is associated with a particular gene. It’s important to look beyond just the “flag” to see what the associated research actually says.

Also, it’s important to understand that health conditions are typically influenced by more than one, and often possibly many genes and gene segments. One might have a SNP that, for example, is shown to increase risk significantly; but it might be offset by others that are actually “protective”.

Lastly, as I said, genetics itself isn’t destiny. People with “good genes” may get diseases while others with the “bad genes” don’t. “LIfestyle” and other environmental factors may play at least as strong a role in determining health in very many cases.

So the bottom line: don’t attempt to do self-diagnosis based on your genetic reports. They can be useful tools in identifying risks or providing clues to conditions - especially when used in concert with professional help.


Thank you for your reply.
It made a lot of sense and I obviously didn’t understand how it originally works.

I think I will let my doctors handle the diagnosis of any health conditions.
I should have known it was not going to be as simple as matching bad genes to a disease.

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Malissa, I’m glad if you were able to make sense out of what I wrote.

I wouldn’t want to imply that it’s not worth your own investigation and consideration. Indeed, my own experience suggests that not all doctors are very knowledgeable about genetics and their potential value as clues hinting towards both diagnosis and treatment. Some will actually welcome any such information as you can provide, and may wish to pursue that line of inquiry to wherever it may lead. Others may be either disinterested or even scornful as egos may get in the way. (In my view, such reactions say a lot about the providers!)

Best of luck.