What’s a Genome Worth?

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Science Translational Medicine  09 May 2012:
Vol. 4, Issue 133, pp. 133fs13
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3004208


  • Fig. 1. Insights from genomics: From the cradle to the grave.

    With the cost of whole-genome sequencing plummeting, the DNA in a blood sample obtained at a single time point (e.g., at birth) could be sequenced and deposited in a database accessible to the individual and designated clinicians. This whole-genome sequencing data could be used prognostically, while the individual is asymptomatic, to calculate the lifetime risk of that person developing common diseases, such as coronary heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and breast cancer. An analysis by Roberts et al. (2) suggests that taking this approach might typically reveal a significantly increased risk for the individual for only one out of 24 common diseases. However, it may turn out that the real value of whole-genome sequencing in the clinic lies in areas other than asymptomatic prognosis—for example, the precise diagnosis of a disease at presentation or the selection of an appropriate therapy.

    CREDIT: U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt Eric T. Sheler

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