Glyn Moody on Googling the Genome
Glyn Moody, author of Digital Code of Life : How Bioinformatics is Revolutionizing Science, Medicine and Business has an article in the Guardian on the possibility of more or less googling your personal genome once the price of sequencing comes within range of the pocketbook. One could even imagine a service similar to their "news alerts" where individuals are kept abreast of relevant advances in genomic medicine as they occur:
A bioinformatics program running on a PC could easily check our genomes for all genes associated with the autosomal recessive disorders that had been identified so far. Regular software updates downloaded from the internet - like those for anti-virus programs - would keep our search software abreast of the latest medical research.
Genetic testing will morph from a clinical to a computational procedure. Even though the speed and efficiency of searching through the genome for blemishes might be as painless as running spell checker in a word processor, the disovery of misspellings might not be. People will be faced with decisions about the types of constraints to place on genome searches. While some might feel comfortable surfing their genome on their home computer others will undoubtedly want to foreordain, say, that search results include only treatable diseases.
Moody also points out that privacy will be an issue: Who gets to google my genome besides me? Employers? Insurers? Police? Family members?
Glyn Moody, Googling The Genome, The Guardian, April 15 2004.
(Thanks to Kristofer for the pointer)