I’ve always had a dream: I enter a centre of genomics where I get my DNA sequenced in one week for cc. 1000$ then my geneticists tell me what kind of diseases I will definitely acquire through my life and what kind of diseases I have elevated risk for. Then I can change lifestyle, diet, I can do more exercises or repair some genes (gene therapy) so I could be much more optimistic about my future.
After reading some recent announcements and publications, it seems that my dream is getting closer and closer to reality. A Nature article, Genome-wide association study of 14,000 cases of seven common diseases and 3,000 shared controls have studied seven common familial diseases by genome-wide association analysis in 16,179 individual:
- Bipolar disorder
- Coronary artery disease
- Crohn’s disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Type 1 diabetes
- Type 2 diabetes
A simple but important observation is that GWA analysis provides a highly effective approach for exploring the genetic underpinnings of common familial diseases. Our yield of novel, highly significant association findings is comparable to, or exceeds, the number of those hitherto-generated by candidate gene or positional cloning efforts.
According to a Telegraph article:
Together the seven diseases affect more than 20 million people across the UK, with coronary heart disease alone claiming the lives of 105,000 people every year, making it the country’s biggest killer. The study has identified, for the first time, some of the genes that trigger these diseases…
“New preventive strategies and new treatments depend on a detailed understanding of the genetic, behavioural and environmental factors that conspire to cause disease.”
Though, the Economic and Social Research Council’s Genomics Policy and Research Forum urges wider debate on genes discovery announcement:
The Economic and Social Research Council’s (ESRC) Genomics Policy and Research Forum1, based at the University of Edinburgh, is calling for wider debate about the implications of the recent genes discovery announcement.2
The Forum agrees that the study demonstrates the great potential for large-scale genomic research to improve our understanding of health and disease, but feels it is important not to view the results in isolation.
What about the future? Forget that genomics centre. Just use your Personal DNA Analyzer and find those “bad” genes.
Tell us your opinion! Are you afraid of improved genetic testing?