Sequencing your genome may become a routine part of family checkup

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Advances in technology have made it much easier, faster and less expensive to do whole genome sequencing…Falling costs have given rise to speculation that it could soon become a routine part of medical care, perhaps as routine as checking your blood pressure.

But will such tests, which can be done for as little as $1,000, prove useful, or needlessly scary?

The first closely-controlled study aimed at answering that question suggests that doctors and their patients can handle the flood of information the tests would produce.

Jason Vassy, a researcher at the VA Boston Healthcare System who led the study,…sought to find out what routine testing would look like in a general medicine setting. They studied 100 healthy, middle-aged patients whose primary care physicians randomly asked them if they were interested in having their genomes sequenced.

Among the 50 volunteers who got sequenced, the researchers found that about 1 in 5 had a variant in their genome that was associated with a rare, sometimes serious genetic disease…Most of them were fine, but what happened next surprised the researchers: Neither the volunteers nor their doctors overreacted.

“We were pleasantly surprised to see that primary care physicians were able to manage their patients’ genetic results appropriately,” Vassy says.

[However,] others fear that people who get sequenced could be subject to discrimination.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: Routine DNA Sequencing May Be Helpful And Not As Scary As Feared