My “Private” Genome September 21, 2007Posted by davegoblog in Future, Science, Technology.
Imagine going to the doctor, having genetic testing done, and then leaving with your personal genome sequence on your iPod. Does this seem like something from the movie Gattaca, where individuals are identified and classified in a genetic registry database? Within five years, scientists predict that DNA sequencing techniques will become affordable enough to incorporate personal genomics into routine health care. Currently, a small number of people have had their genomes sequenced with James D. Watson (who helped to discover DNA) becoming the first person handed the full text of his own DNA on a small computer disk.
According to Science Daily, Tim Caulfield (University of Alberta researcher) and co-authors of an article in today’s issue of Science emphasize the need to proceed cautiously when it comes to personal genomics projects such as PGP at the Harvard Medical School. Once we have our own genetic information, what do we do with it and who will have access to it? How will doctors educate patients about the significance of genetic risk information? Will insurance companies refuse coverage on people with a high risk of heart disease or cancer?
The United States House of Representatives passed the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) of 2007 as H.R. 493 on April 25, 2007. The Senate has not taken up debate on it yet due to a “hold” placed on it by Tom Coburn, Republican U.S. Senator from Oklahoma.