Genetic Future

Archives for October, 2008

Retail DNA tests – personified by personal genomics company 23andMe – have been named Time magazine’s Invention of the Year. The fairly lengthy citation notes that “[a]lthough 23andMe isn’t the only company selling DNA tests to the public, it does the best job of making them accessible and affordable.” It’s yet more public exposure for…

One of the ethical quandaries raised by direct-to-consumer genetic testing is the possibility that customers may send in DNA samples for analysis from other people who haven’t provided informed consent – prospective spouses, for instance, a la Gattaca – and then use that genetic information for nefarious purposes. In the past, personal genomics company 23andMe…

Genomic magic

Over at Think Gene, Drew Yates has a fine rant about the notion that using unsupported genomic information to make medical decisions is better than simple voodoo.

Over at PolITiGenomics, Washington University’s David Dooling discusses his work as part of the Tumor Sequencing Project. The TSP and a variety of other groups (like The Cancer Genome Atlas) are using large-scale sequencing to create comprehensive maps of the genetic changes that underlie cancer formation. The cancer genome sequencing community have already made impressive…

When James Watson’s genome sequence was publicly released earlier this year, Watson famously kept only one region of his DNA a secret – the region encoding the APOE gene, which contains common variants that contribute substantially to the risk of late-onset Alzheimer’s, and also affect predisposition to other diseases. A recent article in the European…

PGP sequence data disappointing

The promise of release of raw sequence data files from the first 10 Personal Genome Project volunteers certainly caused a media stir (see the round-up by the PGP’s own Jason Bobe), but the actual released data are pretty underwhelming. So far raw sequence data files have been posted on the PGP profile sites of only…

The first 10 participants of the ground-breaking Personal Genome Project (PGP) will be receiving a hefty chunk of data today: the sequence of the protein-coding regions from many of their genes (collectively known as the “exome”). And if all goes according to plan, they’ll soon be dumping all of that data on the web for…

Navigenics has announced in the industry publication In Sequence (subscription only) that it plans to add gene sequencing to its personal genomics service. This would make it the first of the “Big Three” personal genomics companies (Navigenics, 23andMe and deCODEme) to offer analysis of rare as well as common genetic variants. The move into sequencing…

Baldness genes: one old, one new

From a geneticist’s point of view, male pattern baldness – also known as androgenic alopecia – is a tempting target. Baldness is common in the general population, with a prevalence that increases sharply with age (as a rule of thumb, a male’s percentage risk of baldness is approximately equal to his age, e.g. 50% at…

Nature News has an intriguing article on the next three decades of reproductive medicine: essentially a series of short musings from scientists working in the field about the issues we will be facing in 30 year’s time. It’s worth reading through in full, but this statement from Susannah Baruch at Johns Hopkins caught my eye:…