Follow the Data

A data driven blog

What do you do with a personal genome?

Now that the full sequencing of a person’s genome can be done for well below USD10,000 – Complete Genomics recently announced having sequenced three genomes for consumables costs between $1,726 and $8,005 – the question is what you would be able to do, today, with information about your genome.

Personalized Medicine recently published an article, Living with my personal genome by Jim Watson (co-discoverer of the structure of DNA.) The article is very short but it does tell us that Watson has changed his behavior in at least one way: he now takes beta-blockers only once a week instead of every day, because he discovered that he has an enzyme variant which causes him to metabolize the drug slowly, making him “…constantly fall asleep at inappropriate moments.” Apparently it took a whole-genome scan to realize that was abnormal!

Quantified Self has reported on its third New York Show & Tell session, where Esther Dyson, who also has had her genome sequenced, discussed what she had found out (video here). However, rather than the full genome sequence (which she calls “disappointing” in the beginning of the talk, saying that “it tells me nothing, I can’t interpret it” – if you think you could interpret it better, it’s online here), she focuses on her report from 23andme, which records information about a million SNPs (single-letter variations in the DNA) in each individual. She shows some rather nifty tools like the Relative Finder, which can be used to identify potential cousins.

Another early whole-genome sequencee, Steven Pinker, wrote a long and thoughtful article about his genome a while back in New York Times. Definitely worth a read.

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