Genetic Testing Gone Mainstream – the Age of Genomics

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A just read an article in the NY times on Genomics or genetic testing.  A few company's  are trying to get this to go main stream ( with some difficulties due to the public embracing the concept slowly.  The big question is can genetic testing really predict who will develop certain diseases and who will not?  In my line of business, it is not difficult to evaluate who may develop problems and painful conditions due to their body mechanics because genetic traits show up as our structure and ultimately determine how we stand, walk and function.  Predicting this from the DNA sequence is much less reliable, yet, these companies would like us to believe that if we know our genetic breakdown and have it discovered, we can act on problems that may not have occurred yet.  I can use the analogy of a company that was recently busted for trying to convince consumers that if they buy their identity protection service (, that they will ensure that nobody can steal their identity and they will be protected.  They were recently shown to do little or nothing and using fear to motivate people to use the service (, they were doing little that most people could do themselves to protect their identities which is why you needed the insurance.

With genetics, even if you spent thousands to decode your genome (genetic map), we simply do not know enough about genetics to say that if someone has a certain genetic makeup, they will develop diseases.  A number of years ago, we paid for BRAC1 and BRAC2 testing ( which are known as cancer genes.  The thought is that if you had these genes, you are most likely to get breast or ovarian cancers will enter the minds of many women who are diagnosed.  Some women are so afraid of the cancer after being diagnosed, they have their breasts removed preventative, even though nothing is wrong simply based on fear.  The question we should all ask ourselves is that if we find out we have a gene and it is suspected to be potentially harmful, will it be and if so, what will trigger the problem? The problem is that we do not understand genes or these processes well enough to use this information constructively and our fears will create many unneeded treatments and procedures that can be worse than the gene itself?

What do you think?  I invite your opinions.  Check us out at