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Bio & Life Sciences

Why Not Sequence Your Genome?

“Would you have your genome sequenced if you could afford it?” That question is posed in an (unscientific) online survey accompanying the final segment of NPR’s “$1,000 Genome” series, which has been taking a look at the promise and perils of genome sequencing. By 12:30 pm today, 4,661 readers—more than 80 percent of respondents—had said, “Yes, I would.” And 72 percent had said they would opt to know everything, even if they are predisposed to an incurable disease—”the more information about my potential disease risks, the better,” most said.

Perhaps listeners were persuaded by the bias of 23andMe founding scientist Brian Naughton, who told NPR’s Rob Stein that, as the price of sequencing plummets, not knowing your genetics will be as “kind of crazy” as not being aware of your own drug allergies or family health history.

Or perhaps people are just excited to get their hands on Illumina’s new iPad app, which Stein previewed on the radio this morning. With audio effects that sound like scrolling through your iPod’s music menu, the MyGenome app allows you to zero in on your own nucleotide sequences that might indicate traits such as diabetes risk or “agreeableness.”

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