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Bio & Life Sciences

How a Stanford Scientist Used His Genome Data for Preventive Care

Stanford genetics professor Mike Snyder

The much-heralded $1,000 genome isn’t here yet, so if you have easy access to state-of-the-art sequencing technology and you lead a team of genetics experts, it must be pretty tempting to sequence your own genome. Craig Venter famously did it on the sly, and Mike Snyder, director of the Stanford Center for Genomics and Personalized Medicine, couldn’t resist either.

His lab took on the sequencing and analysis of Snyder’s genome three years ago as a “pilot study” to “see whether sequencing a healthy person would be beneficial for trying to incorporate this into healthcare,” he tells New York Genome Center reporter Joyce Gramza in a 7-minute podcast. Turns out Snyder wasn’t in such perfect health:

… I was at risk for the sorts of things I might have expected from my family history: coronary artery disease. I knew I had high cholesterol and I could see that from my DNA. But there were some surprises, one of which was I was at high risk for type 2 diabetes. That turned out to be very useful information. I followed myself for several years and did get type 2 diabetes. My DNA predicted I was at risk for this, kept me looking out for it, and then when it happened I caught it early and I was able to manage it through my diet and increasing my exercise.

The lab reported its findings in Cell this year, and continues to pursue its discovery of “an apparent link between viral infection and heightened glucose levels.” The case is a good example of how we all might eventually be able to use our genomic data for preventive care.

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