Science Magazine: The future of personalized genomics

In the last few weeks, I’ve been struggling to get closer to the world of personalized medicine and this article in Science Magazine turned out to be extremely interesting and useful for me. Kudos to Hsien for being mentioned! Here is an excerpt:

Scientists predict that within 5 years DNA sequencing technologies will be affordable enough that personal genomics will be integrated into routine clinical care. Companies are responding by offering their services for ancestry tracing, forensics, nutritional advice, reproductive assistance, and even social networking. It will not be long before companies are able to offer a “Facebook-like service centered around our genomes”. The medical community needs to consider the ways in which routine generation of this information will affect our health system and how this information might be used outside the medical context…

We currently face an inflection point in clinical medicine as we move from specific diagnostic tests for particular disorders to much broader assays for variants whose effects we do not yet fully understand. In addition, the effects of any single gene on common diseases are generally small, and their interactions with environmental factors remain largely unknown. For example, despite enthusiasm about recent genomewide association studies that report an association between coronary heart disease and a common variant on chromosome 9, the actual risk of heart disease was only increased from 1% to 1.6% in homozygotes.