Single Gene vs WGS
Different methods can be used for DNA sequencing, and each of them serves a different purpose. Since WGS analyses both your coding and non-coding DNA, it includes far more information than single gene sequencing, single nucleotide polymorphism or SNP genotyping, and whole exome sequencing (WES). Research has shown that WGS adheres to higher quality parameters than WES.
Keep in mind that genomic medicine still uses these methods in certain situations, such as detecting a single faulty gene in an individual who has a family history of a specific genetic disorder.
Does Whole Genome Sequencing Include the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes?
BRCA genes are tumour suppressor genes. A small percentage of individuals carry mutated BRCA genes that lead to a higher risk of developing certain types of cancer, including female or male breast cancer, ovarian cancer, pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, and melanoma. Fortunately, high-quality WGS can detect mutations in your BRCA1 and BRCA2.
WGS can also determine copy number variation (CNV), a structural DNA variation in which the number of copies of a certain section of your genome is abnormal, whether through deletion or duplication. Research has found that CNV can be elevated in cancerous cells, making WGS a valuable tool to detect whether someone has a higher risk for certain types of cancer.
Does Whole Genome Sequencing Include the APOE gene?
The apolipoprotein E or APOE gene is located on chromosome 19, and it carries instructions for cells to make apolipoprotein E, which transports cholesterol and other fatty acids. There are different variants of the APOE gene, and the one you express depends on the alleles you received from your parents.
The variant APOE ε4 has been found to increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. WGS can successfully detect APOE ε4 and other genetic variants, which can increase a person’s risk of age-related cognitive decline.
Does Whole Genome Sequencing Include the COMT gene?
The COMT gene contains instructions to make catechol-O-methyltransferase, a protein that degrades catecholamines, which work as neurotransmitters in the brain. Single-nucleotide polymorphisms in the COMT gene could lead to an increased risk of behavioural problems, cognitive disorders, and mental illness, although research on the topic is still ongoing. WGS can detect these allelic variants in the COMT gene.