The Predictive Capacity of Personal Genome Sequencing

April 22, 2017

The Predictive Capacity of Personal Genome Sequencing
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/03/health/research/dnas-power-to-predict-is-limited-study-finds.html?_r=2&hp [tag quote]

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If every aspect of a person’s DNA is known, would it be possible to predict the diseases in that person’s future? And could that knowledge be used to forestall the otherwise inevitable?

The answer, according to a new study of twins, is, for the most part, “no.”

While sequencing the entire DNA of individuals is proving
fantastically useful in understanding diseases and finding new treatments, it is not a method that will, for the most part, predict a person’s medical future.

So, the new study concludes, it is not going to be possible to say that, for example, Type 2 diabetes will occur with absolute certainty unless a person keeps a normal weight, or that colon cancer is a foregone conclusion without frequent screening and removal of polyps. Conversely, it will not be possible to tell some people that they can ignore all the advice about, for example, preventing a heart attack because they will never get one.

“The punch line is that this sort of personalized medicine will not in any way be the most important determinant of patient care,” said Dr. Bert Vogelstein of Johns Hopkins, who, with his colleagues and his son Joshua, analyzed the power of sequencing all of a person’s DNA to determine an individual’s risk of disease. The study, published online Monday in the journal Science Translational Medicine, involved data from 53,666 identical twins in registries from the United States, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Norway. The registries included data on 24 diseases, telling how often one twin, both or neither got a disease.
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