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posted by Fnord666 on Wednesday June 28 2017, @08:21AM   Printer-friendly
from the don't-fear-the-sequencer dept.

Don't be scared. It's just one little genome:

Advances in technology have made it much easier, faster and less expensive to do whole genome sequencing — to spell out all three billion letters in a person's genetic code. Falling costs have given rise to speculation that it could soon become a routine part of medical care, perhaps as routine as checking your blood pressure.

But will such tests, which can be done for as little as $1,000, prove useful, or needlessly scary?

The first closely-controlled study [DOI: 10.7326/M17-0188] [DX] aimed at answering that question suggests that doctors and their patients can handle the flood of information the tests would produce. The study was published Monday in Annals of Internal Medicine.

"We can actually do genome sequencing in normal, healthy individuals without adverse consequences — and actually with identification of some important findings," says Teri Manolio, director of the division of genomic medicine at the National Human Genome Institute, which funded the study. Manolio wrote an editorial [DOI: 10.7326/M17-1518] [DX] accompanying the paper.

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  • (Score: 2) by Rivenaleem on Wednesday June 28 2017, @02:32PM (1 child)

    by Rivenaleem (3400) on Wednesday June 28 2017, @02:32PM (#532457)

    There likely was a time someone said "Is it needlessly scary being able to tell your heart rate and blood pressure so easily?" It was there a lot in Star Trek TNG, where Bartley with access to all the equipment and the computer library was able to scare himself with whatever random disease he thought he might have. I just hope, that by the time a full DNA check IS as easy as a blood pressure check (ie, you can do it yourself) so too will our ability to interpret the information be as easy as a blood pressure check.

    As little as $1,000 is not the same as the cost to do a BP check, so we're still a ways away yet (unless that's what a BP check costs in the US). I don't see us getting to Gattaca levels of DNA checking any time soon.

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  • (Score: 2) by takyon on Wednesday June 28 2017, @03:19PM

    by takyon (881) <> on Wednesday June 28 2017, @03:19PM (#532484) Journal

    $1,000 is cheap if you do it once and use the genomic data in future visits. It doesn't make sense to sequence your genome multiple times unless you are measuring the degradation of random cells or something. Or sequencing DNA from tumors. There's also talk of getting $1,000 down to $100.

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