DNA fortune telling: Genetic tests could determine disease destiny from birth

There’s never been data available on as many people’s genes as there is today. And that wealth of information is allowing researchers to guess at any person’s chance of getting common diseases like diabetes, arthritis, clogged arteries, and depression.

[Cardiologist Amit] Khera was constructing what is called a polygenic score—“poly” because his calculations involve thousands of genes, not just one.

Khera pointed to his screen. There, seven-digit numbers, each representing an anonymous DNA donor, appeared alongside their scores. The outliers had a risk four times the average.

“Where I see this going is that at a young age you’ll basically get a report card,” says Khera. “And it will say for these 10 diseases, here’s your score. You are in the 90th percentile for heart disease, 50th for breast cancer, and the lowest 10 percent for diabetes.” Such comprehensive report cards aren’t being given out yet, but the science to create them is here.

Related article:  Alcohol consumption by fathers could lead to fetal alcohol syndrome

What’s powerful about DNA predictions is that they are measurable at any time of life, unlike most risk factors.

Dystopia, dubious medicine, or a breakthrough in prevention? Genomic prediction may well be all three. What is clear is that, with the data needed to create predictors becoming freely available online, 2018 will be a breakout year for DNA fortune-telling.

Read full, original post: Forecasts of genetic fate just got a lot more accurate

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Click the link above to read the full, original article.

 

News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.

Send this to a friend