||[May. 31st, 2008|03:06 pm]
I've kinda peripherally been aware of this, but you can get your genome sequenced from 23andMe or deCODEme and get back a full report on genetic risk of diseases and stuff. And then you can compare the raw data with known genetic datapoints at SNPedia. This is like super cool. I'm like vaguely considering having this done.
Pro: This is like wicked awesome. A 2MB zipped text file with all of my genes? Awesome.
Con: There are some privacy concerns, although both companies stress their commitment to privacy and all that.
Con: It costs $1000, which is a lot of money for a science experiment.
Pro: Did I mention it was wicked awesome? Think of all the interesting things I could learn!
Con: I'm a little bit of a hypochondriac and I can't imagine this would help.
Pro: In theory I could be on the lookout for warning signs for diseases I'm prone to. (but see "hypochondriac" above)
Con: Still, $1000.
So I think that's a "no" for now. Maybe when it gets a bit cheaper I'll revisit it.
I don't know a thing about the specific companies that perform those services but in general I'd be really wary of getting those sorts of things done. The genome, and associated diseases, is a lot more complex than tests like that might lead one to believe (though I know you are really intelligent and do your research, it makes me bristle when people talk about the "gene for x" and "gene for y"). We don't fully understand or appreciate the interaction of environment and genes that may or may not influence disease, behavior, and many other factors- for a really interesting recent study, see http://www.economist.com/science/displaystory.cfm?story_id=11326195
Though I agree that having the data would be really, really cool- it does make it easier for one to skip to the mindset that gene x = alzheimers, or what have you, when it's really so much more complex than that. And if you get into the mindset that "well, I have the gene, so I have the disease" you may have already lost have the battle.
Yeah, it's that mindset exactly that I'm afraid I'd fall into.
I think it would be the coolest thing ever - get a wall print of the sequence data of your XYZ gene! :)
But aside from the uber-geek coolness and my interest in advancing research and scientific literacy, I don't think I'd go for the $1000 price tag, either. And having a gene that makes you more succeptible doesn't mean you'll get the disease, and won't really alter a diagnosis made about your symptoms, anyway!
2008-06-02 04:24 am (UTC)
Yes, it's about $1000 for a science experiment, but isn't that what PC's were before the Apple I? Geeky toys? Come on dude... don't you want to be a part of the super 31337 genetics club? yesss....
I know! It would be awesome...