What Does a Polygenic Risk Score Mean? – MyHeritage DNA Saturdays January 11, 2020

I saw this a few days ago on MyHeritage – What Does a Polygenic Risk Score Mean? – MyHeritage DNA Saturdays January 11, 2020 https://blog.myheritage.com/2020/01/what-does-a-polygenic-risk-score-mean/. I thought it would make a good DNA Saturdays post.

by Jessica Greenwood, MS, LGC January 8, 2020 Health

Last month we announced that the MyHeritage DNA Health test includes a fourth polygenic risk report for high blood pressure in addition to its initial 3 polygenic risk reports for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and female breast cancer. In the first Health Basics post, we explored what a polygenic risk score actually is. In this post, we’ll dig further into what they mean and how they can be applied to your health.

Polygenic risk score (PRS) is a newer development in the world of genetic testing that is now being applied to health. We’ve known that chronic conditions like obesity and heart disease run in families, but prior to the application of PRS to health, we were limited in the ability to determine a person’s genetic risk for these conditions. PRS provides an estimate of the genetic risk to develop certain chronic conditions by looking at variants at many locations across the genome and combining their contributions into a single risk score. This score is calculated by a mathematical model that includes the variants found in the DNA sample you submit and the impact each of those variants has on disease risk.


Polygenic risk scores allow us to go beyond typical measurements of individual risks and instead address a person’s risk category based on their genetics. Take a particular group of people with similar characteristics — middle age, non-smokers without high blood pressure or high cholesterol. Based on these characteristics alone, all of these people would be considered at “average risk” for heart disease. But, intuitively, we know the entire group is not at average risk. Each person has a different risk profile that is influenced by their own genetic make up. PRS allows us to stratify that group into more specific risk categories — increased, average, or decreased — based on genetics.


Previous DNA Saturdays posts: Other DNA Saturdays posts: https://upsdownsfamilyhistory.wordpress.com/tag/DNA-Saturdays/

About ICT Genealogist

Originally from Gulfport, Mississippi. Live in Wichita, Kansas now. I suffer Bipolar I, ultra-ultra rapid cycling, mixed episodes. Blog on a variety of topics - genealogy, DNA, mental health, among others. Let's collaborateDealspotr.com
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