Viewpoint: Public genome project would be good for Ireland’s health

dna sequence
Image credit: Silicon Republic

Ireland needs to join the growing number of countries performing national public genome projects. Our European neighbours in Finland, Denmark, Estonia and England have already embarked on such projects, as have countries like the United States and Japan, with Dubai the most recent to announce that it is joining this pioneering group.

A major justification is that public genome projects will enhance healthcare quality and reduce costs. In Finland one aim is to use genomic information to predict the future risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. By identifying those at most risk, before they develop the disease, Finland hopes to guide targeted interventions and prevent disease onset in 2-5 per cent of people.

The health benefits extend beyond type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular disease. Genomics England is characterising genomes from the seven most common cancers in patients; a similar focus here would substantially improve our ability to diagnose and treat this deadly disease which kills thousands of people on the island of Ireland annually.

Genomics is the new weapon available to us to combat disease and preserve health, while at the same time reducing healthcare costs and creating economic opportunities. Ireland needs to avail of this opportunity by undertaking an all-island, public genome project.

Read full, original post: A public genome project will enhance healthcare quality and reduce costs

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