Monday, October 12, 2009

Personalized genetics and medicine

An article by Pauline C. Ng, Sarah S. Murray, Samuel Levy and J. Craig Venter finds differences in results from two direct to consumer genetics testing companies. Their summary:
* For seven diseases, 50% or less of the predictions of two companies agreed across five individuals
* Companies should communicate high risks better and test for drug response markers
* Community should study markers in all ethnicities and look at behaviour after tests
Also Lahn and Ebenstein argue that the discovery of genetic diversity among groups of people as well as among individuals should be embraced, not feared. Their summary:
* Promoting biological sameness in humans is illogical, even dangerous
* To ignore the possibility of group diversity is to do poor science and poor medicine
* A robust moral position is one that embraces this diversity as among humanity's great assets

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