Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Genetic testing

The field of genetic testing is really being shaken up now that the first companies are offering a more complete DNA analysis (not sequencing yet, but that can only be a matter of time). The company I was thinking of when I mentioned it was 23and me (is it just me or is that a very uncatchy name?). They have a fairly informative website that you might enjoy browsing as long as you remember they are in the business to sell a product. The bottomline, which you'll have to search around to find, is that they read 550,000 single nucelotide polymorphisms that are spread across your entire genome. This is a small fraction of the 10 million SNPs that are estimated to be in the human genome.
The cost is $999, which is far from cheap, but is in the range of pretty standard consumer products such as tv's etc rather than say the cost of a car. Like many products the cost is likely to drop.
Once the cost falls how long before insurance companies offer discounts for customers with the 'good genes'? Which is just a different way of discriminating against people with the bad genes...
Welcome to the future.
If you haven't seen the movie Gattaca, well, you should.

1 comment:

Dustin Wailes said...

If anyone has not seen Gattica, it is one of my favorite movies and they need to see it. I think the time of genetic descrimination is closer at hand than we think. When will that be...?