We Are All Just “Moist Robots”

Your genome is the ultimate health care record.

Your genome is unique. So is mine.

It is increasingly clear we are what cartoonist and author Scott Adams likes to call “moist robots.” And the programming is right there in your DNA.

There are over 7 billion humans on the planet. Each one is walking around with a unique “operating system.” That’s because the DNA code written in our cells is different from everyone else’s.

But we really didn’t know that until recently. It wasn’t until 2000 that we read all the data when the first “draft version” of a fully sequenced human genome became available.

And sequencing a full human genome was an expensive job. A single genome cost $100 million to sequence. It required hundreds of computers and people. It also took many months.

That was just 16 years ago!

Today, we can sequence a person’s genome for about $1,000. Even better, we can do it in a matter of minutes.

As the cost of sequencing your genome drops, people will line up around the block to see what their life code contains. It will show folks how variations could affect their health.

That could also give us the power to fight back against diseases, before they strike.

Yet we are barely scratching the surface. Genes play together like notes in a large orchestra full of instruments. We are just beginning to discern the effects of single notes on the symphony of life.

It’s all written with just four letters: A, C, G, T — shorthand for the four nucleobases, adenine, cytosine, guanine and thymine.

The sooner we understand the full implications of the genome, the sooner we’ll be able to use it to our advantage in finding and treating diseases. Researchers can’t wait to get started…

The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) recently announced a $20 million grant to conduct an unprecedented study using participant’s genomic data.

And this week, the FDA announced plans to draft a guide to Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) tests. It’s one of a series of proposals that will speed up how we can test genomes.

It will also lead to tests that can accurately predict disease. Medicines tailored specifically to YOU, using your own genomic data, aren’t far off.

Both these studies are part of a much larger government project, the Precision Medicine Initiative, which is pushing for the advancement of individualized medicine.

And while we are still a few years away from having the ability to develop treatments using genomic sequencing, the FDA’s interest and efforts are a hopeful sign of real progress ahead.

The possibilities for genome sequencing are endless…

To a bright future,

Ray Blanco
for The Daily Reckoning