Why 2018 was such a big year for DNA data

These were some of the surprising new uses of DNA information that emerged over the last 12 months as genetic studies became larger than ever before.

Consumers: It’s all about genetic data. Now it’s being collected on millions of people, in national efforts and commercial ones too. Last February, we reported that 12 million people had already taken consumer DNA tests. Since that figure has been reliably doubling every year, it’s probably up to 25 million by now.

Big data: To understand the genome, scientists say, they need to study as many people as they can, all at once. In 2018, several gene hunts broke the million-person mark for the first time. These included searches for the genetic bases of insomnia and educational success.

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Polygenic scores: Some diseases are due to a single gene that goes wrong. But big killers like heart disease aren’t like that—instead, they’re influenced by hundreds of genetic factors. That’s why a new way of predicting risks from a person’s entire genome was the most important story of the year.

Genetic IQ tests: Genes don’t affect just what we look like, but who we are. Now some scientists say these same DNA scores can offer a decent guess at how smart a kid will be later in life. The unanswered question: how we should use this information, if at all?

Read full, original post: All the reasons 2018 was a breakout year for DNA data

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.
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