Thursday, 28 April 2011

The age-old question: should I have my genome sequenced?

In the early days of the post-genomic era, some scientists were predicting a boom in individuals having their genomes sequenced. For about £1000, you too can have the coding portion of your genome  (about 1-2%) sequenced. Fewer people have been willing to fork out for this information than many scientists had thought. We all know we shouldn’t smoke or drink too much and that we should get regular exercise. With few exceptions, knowing the precise sequence of your DNA won’t give you many more insights than that. Having your genome sequenced can only bring bad news: you’re more likely than most to get disease A, B or C. Perhaps we should look at the genomes of people who have lived extraordinarily long and disease-free lives. If I thought that having my genome sequenced would give me license to eat chocolate with impunity, I might consider it.

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