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SNPs for the Other Sex

From SNPedia

You are of one sex, and in your Promethease report you see variants that could only be relevant to other sex, and not yours. For example, a woman sees a variant associated with prostate cancer, or a man sees a variant associated with ovarian cancer. What's going on - has the DNA company mixed up samples? Or has Promethease mixed up reports?

No, this does not mean either has occurred, and the reason has to do with basic biology. This is not an indication that anything is wrong with your report, and there are both direct and indirect reasons why these variants are included in your Promethease report.

Let's start with the indirect reasons. Every woman has a father, and may have brothers and sons, not to mention other male relatives, and these male relatives may share a variant important in males, such as a prostate-cancer variant. And every man has a mother, and may have sisters and daughters and other female relatives, and they may share a variant important in females, such as a variant that greatly increases risk for ovarian cancer. Whether you choose to share this information with your relatives is up to you, but we feel that it's important for Promethease to provide you with this information.

There is also a direct reason. While perhaps today's science may say a given variant predisposes someone to, say, prostate cancer, it's quite likely that eventually we will learn that these variants have multiple roles. Many cancer-associated genes encode proteins involved in repairing damaged DNA, and, these proteins are often found in many different cell types throughout the body. A variant thought to "only" be involved in repairing damaged DNA in prostate cells may turn out to have a different role in other cells. Take another example: the BRCA1/BRCA2 genes, commonly thought of as being relevant only to women, do play a role in certain cancers in males, and it's important for men to discuss BRCA mutations with their health-care providers and genetic counselors.

So for both indirect and direct reasons, Promethease reports contain information that apply to 'the other sex', and it is not an indication that anything is amiss with your sample or your report.