Genetic Sequencing Goes Mainstream

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From Egyptian astrology to Nostradamus, people have always been fascinated with catching a glimpse into the future. And now, perhaps for the first time, science is finally weighing in. Not with a crystal ball, but a genetic map that can predict the future of your health... and even look far into your past.

Genetic sequencing, the process of decoding your genes, is now available to anyone with both an interest in their DNA and a few hundred bucks to spare. But to see if it’s worth the money, one of our producers agreed to try it out. The service he used was 23andMe (23 is number of chromosomes in the human genome). Cost? $400.

Worried about a family history of prostate cancer, the resulting profile revealed that he was not at a higher-than-normal risk of contracting it. And an added bonus, he got a glimpse into his past…

“20,000 years ago, I shared a common paternal ancestor with Thomas Jefferson.”
-Dan Schointuch, Producer, Money Talks

Definitely interesting. But does this glimpse into your genes really tell your future?

“It will not tell you your future, In the future, it may tell you more about your future, but, it will tell you what you’re at risk for and it will also tell you where you are coming from.”
-Christophe Hengarter, Professor, Molecular Biology

So, it’s not the proverbial ‘crystal ball’, but, is it still worth $400 of your hard-earned cash?

“I wouldn’t personally buy it, but, if somebody gave me $400, I would think it’s a cool test to try.”
-Christophe Hengarter, Professor, Molecular Biology

Bottom line? There’s no doubt that learning about your DNA is interesting stuff. But to predict the future? Too many variables are involved to really determine that. Still… better than a crystal ball or tarot cards!

Stacy Johnson

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