Time's Best Inventions of the Year: Personalized genome scans

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kumar's picture
Time's Best Inventions of the Year: Personalized genome scans

Don't tell me that I didn't warn you! See my post on April 14th: http://www.scientistsolutions.com/t5953-what+do+you+think+_+personalized+genome+scans.html

Here they are in public lime-light: Personalized Genome Scans, the Best invention of 2008 according to Time magazine:


We are at the beginning of a personal-genomics revolution that will transform not only how we take care of ourselves but also what we mean by personal information. In the past, only élite researchers had access to their genetic fingerprints, but now personal genotyping is available to anyone who orders the service online and mails in a spit sample. Not everything about how this information will be used is clear yet — 23andMe has stirred up debate about issues ranging from how meaningful the results are to how to prevent genetic discrimination — but the curtain has been pulled back, and it can never be closed again. And so for pioneering retail genomics, 23andMe's DNA-testing service is Time's 2008 Invention of the Year.

The 2006 Time's best invention was youtube and 2007 was iPhone and now we have the Retail DNA testing. Do you see a common Google thread in all three?

Ivan Delgado
Ivan Delgado's picture
I  just came back from a

I  just came back from a conference where this was discussed (The Future of Genomic Medicine II). The take home message was that technically the test are solid (research-grade). Yet at the same time you have to be careful about what you get out of them. For example one of the scientists (Eric Topol, one of the top cardiologists in the world and an amazing scientists - over 1,000 publications) showed the results he got from his Navigenics test (another company that provides these tests) and it showed that he had a 101% chance of developing from cardiac complications (if you saw the guy the last thing you would think is cardiac problems). Joking aside (there is such thing as 101%), while the technology is solid, the interpretations are based on very limited data. In short, it may have some use, but it may not. 
I personally think that 23andMe was made innovation of the year because of the price (there are many other services of this kind, including Navigenics and DeCodeMe). Yet, at $399 23andMe are by far the cheapest (other services go as high as $2,500).
Anybody run any of these scans on themselves? I've been thinking about it for a while but thought it was too expensive. At $399 I am getting closer to considering it.