Genetic Testing Answers Old Question: Who Do You Think You Are?

Reason Science Correspondent Ronald Bailey files his third and final dispatch from the Consumer Genetics Conference.

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Eventually Everybody Will Have Their Genomes Sequenced

So by when do the researchers see whole genome sequencing being applied to every child? Hardison cautioned that health care changes very slowly. In fact, a recent study disturbingly found that it takes an average of 17 years for new evidence-based findings to reach clinical practice. Indeed Hardison noted that sequencing technologies are way ahead of the various medical society committees’ testing recommendations, which “are hopelessly out of date.” Hardison predicted that “eventually we will all have our genomes sequenced.” Right now, the unwillingness of insurers and government programs like Medicare and Medicaid to pay for genetic screening tests is a bottleneck for consumers wanting access to genetic testing.

At the beginning of the third day’s sessions, Meredith Salisbury of the life sciences consultancy Bioscribe, suggested, “In many cases we’ll see that the consumers are really leading the charge, not the establishment.” As the costs for genomic sequencing continue to plummet, I predict that Salisbury’s observation will come true. Consumers will do an end run around the stodgy medical establishment and demand access to genomic testing information. Doctors will be forced to catch up to their patients. And that’s a good thing for everybody.

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  • Sam Grove||

    "Who Do You Think You Are?" was the title of the opening keynote by Kenneth Chahine at the Consumer Genetics Conference. The answer gets trickier the more you learn.

    I am myself. My genetic heritage is not specifically relevant to that.

  • ||

    Heh. Like my grand daddy said; " It dont make a shit who your daddy was, the only thing that matters is what YOU do."

  • entropy||

    I would have gone with "Who's your daddy?".

  • ||

    shows that a lot of ethnic mixing took place in Europe centuries before the ancestors of contemporary Americans arrived here.

    Reading Caesar's campaign in Gaul.

    Yeah this does not surprise me at all.

  • cheap electronic cigarettes||

    One participant asked what the company would do when it receives subpoenas asking for clients’ genetic information related to police investigations? Chahine responded that looking into a genetic database like AncestryDNA's for the purpose of a police investigation would be the equivalent of knocking on every door in Boston to a search for a He acknowledged that the day would come when police and prosecutors will try to search AncestryDNA’s database seeking to identify a suspect in a criminal case, but he insisted that the company would fight against such requests in court. So far as I know, there are no cases yet in which law enforcement officials have requested that a consumer genetics company turn over genetic data from a customer to them.

  • $park¥||

    For some reason, after reading your comment I have the bizarre desire to go to and get cheap electronic cigarettes.

  • Bill||

    I wonder if all of these studies have been careful ones?

    I have a friend who has got their dogs DNA tested several times
    and they always come back with different results and ones that
    do not seem to make much sense based on what the dog looks
    like and some of the rare breeds that they say they found in
    their mutts.

    So I assume some of the dog DNA stuff is either poorly done or
    a scam or possibly it's just really hard to get good data since
    dogs will interbreed freely and have done so for ages.

    Anyway, I could see some fly by night human DNA testing being
    poorly done as well.

  • saralala||

    For some reason, after reading your comment I have the bizarre desire to go to and get cheap electronic cigarettes.

  • Tommy_Grand||

    "Good Start could test for many more disease risk variants, but has chosen not to do so right now because payers will not cover the costs of the tests."

    Who are the payers? Customers? Are you saying no customers will pay for these tests? That seems improbable.

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