Frequently Asked Questions 2017-08-05T13:37:27+00:00


What is Exploragen?

We are a DNA lifestyle company founded to empower people to use insights from their DNA to make their everyday lives better. We make fun, engaging apps by translating scientific findings into algorithms that inform users about the lifestyle traits hidden in their DNA.

How is Exploragen different from Helix?

Helix, a personal genomics company, sequences and securely stores its customers’ DNA; the company’s marketplace offers its customers a variety of DNA-powered products. Here at Exploragen, we create many of those products, such as apps showing users how their DNA influences their sleep, caffeine metabolism and more.

How do I know your science is solid?

Our scientists carefully curate the scientific literature and incorporate data from only the strongest published, peer-reviewed studies into our apps. We value transparency and share references with our customers. In cases where the science is early, we let you know that, too.

How is my DNA sequenced?

Our partner, the personal genomics company Helix, handles the sequencing. Helix’s proprietary technology, called Exome+, reads every letter of all 22,000 protein-coding genes in your body. You can think of sequencing as reading the book of your personal genetics—every base (T, C, G, and A) is read in order and saved for the future. Using a reference sequence (a model sequence to compare to), we can determine when a base in an individual is different and the specific position of that variation within the person’s DNA.

Do I have to get sequenced to use Exploragen products?

Yes. In order to use our products, you must be sequenced by Helix. To ensure the quality and accuracy of the genetic information used for this service, products in the Helix marketplace do not accept genetic data from outside sources. And, once you’ve been sequenced by Helix, you can purchase more DNA-powered products from a variety of categories like fitness, nutrition, entertainment, and more—all without having to get sequenced again.

How does Helix provide my DNA information to Exploragen? Is it shared with anyone else?

Your DNA information is stored securely by Helix. When sequencing is complete, Helix only sends the relevant DNA information needed by Exploragen to generate your results. We do not share your personal information with anyone without your permission. We always maintain high standards when it comes to the security and privacy of your DNA information.

How do I learn more about how Exploragen uses my information?

We take privacy and security very seriously. Exploragen stores genetic data in an encrypted storage system and access is tightly controlled, in accordance with industry practices. Exploragen will not share any of your identifying information with any external party without your explicit consent. If you subsequently remove Exploragen as an authorized accessor to your genetic information with Helix, Exploragen will delete your genetic information from its database. You can find additional details in the Exploragen Privacy Policy, Terms of Service, and Product Consent.

How do I view my results?

Exploragen will send you an email when your results are ready to be viewed online.

What does SlumberType check for in my DNA?

SlumberType checks genetic variants that have been shown to be associated with sleep traits including how long it takes you to fall asleep, how long you stay asleep, the quality of your sleep, and your genetic similarity to self-reported “morning” or “evening” persons.

How will SlumberType track my sleep and mood patterns?

The SlumberType app makes it simple for you to record your sleep/wake times, your morning and evening mood—plus other factors you choose—with just a few taps. The more you engage with SlumberType by tracking your mood and activities, the more detailed patterns you’ll see.

Why are SlumberType results more accurate for certain people?

Genetic associations used by this product were originally discovered in European populations and may or may not be applicable to people from a different background.

Do I need an iPhone or iPad to use SlumberType?

No. You can access most of SlumberType’s features using your web browser on almost any device, or you can download the SlumberType app from the App Store on your iPhone or iPad to access additional features, like the alarm clock and sleep sounds.

Why don’t I have genetic results for a particular trait?

Occasionally, a DNA letter code cannot be read at a specific gene location. This can happen because a particular region of the genome is more difficult to sequence, or because you carry a variant that’s uncommon in the general population.

What makes SlumberType different from other sleep tracking apps?

SlumberType tells you how your genetic makeup influences your sleep. This is important, since about one-third of the variation in sleep patterns between individuals is due to genetics. Other sleep apps may focus only on non-genetic aspects of sleep, giving you just part of the picture.

What is the science behind SlumberType?

Our scientists reviewed dozens of studies involving tens of thousands of people from a variety of ancestral backgrounds. Of the genetic variants identified in the studies, we selected only the ones that were most strongly associated with sleep and present in at least 10 percent of the overall population.

Based on 10 of these variants, we’ve built a model that identifies your genetic chronotype, or where you fall along a spectrum of “morningness” to “eveningness.” In addition, our app tells you how your genes influence the length of your sleep, the time it takes you to fall asleep, and the quality of your sleep.

We also combed through the scientific literature to identify factors shown to affect varying aspects of sleep. Our app lets you track these habits and activities to assess which ones are most closely linked to a good night’s sleep for you.

What personal information do I need to give?

To receive your genetic results, you only need to provide your age and gender, along with the other identifying information required by the Helix platform. To track other factors that affect your sleep so you can find ways to sleep better, the app asks you to input information about your caffeine intake, exercise habits, screen time, and other information that you choose. Providing this is optional, but gives you a more complete picture of your sleep and how to improve it.

What type of ‘insights’ will I be given?

The app tells you what studies have shown about the tendencies and habits of people with your chronotype; for instance, evening chronotypes tend to be more attached to their phones and use them at bedtime. With some insights, you may receive suggestions about how to shift a behavior pattern to promote better sleep.

What is a Chronotype?

Each of us falls somewhere along a spectrum of “morningness” to “eveningness” based on our preferences for activity at different times of the day. We classify each of our users into one of four segments along this spectrum, based on what their genetic data say about their innate sleep/wake tendencies. The group we call Roosters become active at dawn, for instance, while Fireflies are tend to be more active later in the day and into the evening. Your group is your chronotype.