What is DNA?

Think of DNA as a cookbook containing recipes that tell your body how to grow and function.

What do genes do?

Genes are the individual recipes in the book. There are recipes (genes) that help determine traits like hair color and height. There are also recipes that help your body stay healthy, prevent tumor growth, or control how your body responds to certain medications. This genetic makeup tells your body how to function and gives you the characteristics that make you, you! 

How can DNA and genes affect your health?

Every individual has differences (or variants) in their DNA and genes that make them unique. Sometimes, these differences or variants can be harmful - we call these mutations. If a mutation occurs in a specific gene, that gene or recipe no longer reads the same way. For example, if the recipe now reads 1 cup salt instead of 1 cup sugar, the end result will be very different. This is one cause of genetic disease.

Other small differences in our DNA or genes may not be harmful, but can influence how our body processes or responds to food and medications. 

What do genes do?

Genes control everything from your height to how you respond to certain medications, and even your risk for developing disease. That's where genomics comes in. We study your genes to see what changes have happened in your body that we may be able to target in treatment.