The HLA region was one of the first regions of DNA found to be associated with rheumatoid arthritis, and it contains many genes involved in the body’s recognition of invaders.  Researchers believe HLA may play a role in the development of many autoimmune diseases.

PTPN22 is a phosphatase that can reduce the activation and development of immune cells. Changes in this protein have been associated with other autoimmune diseases, including type 1 diabetes. 

Can Genetic Testing Hurt Your Chances of Getting Health Insurance? 

In a word: No. Direct-to-consumer genetic testing companies do not share your test results with anyone other than you. What’s more, last year, President Bush signed the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (see genome.gov for more information), which specifies that health insurers and employers cannot discriminate against people based on their genetic information. It does not, however apply to other kinds of insurance, like life or long-term care; but some states have stepped in to provide that additional protection. For specifics on laws in your state, click here.