Let’s think back to biology class to discuss one of the greatest feats in exploration history—an international research effort to map all of the genes of Homo sapiens and give us the ability to read the genetic blueprint for building a human being. It is called the Human Genome Project.
First, a brief history. Just 50 years ago, little was known about the genetic factors that contribute to human disease. In 1990, the National Institutes of Health along with international scientists set out to map the complete set of DNA in the human body, which consists of roughly 3 billion pairs of genes. By doing this, they could then find the genetic components of diseases and develop treatments. In April 2003, researchers successfully completed the Human Genome Project, under budget and 2 years ahead of schedule.
Today: The Human Genome Project has helped discover more than 1,800 disease genes. In addition, there are more than 2,000 genetic tests for human conditions. These tests allow patients to learn their genetic risk for certain diseases and also help researchers and doctors diagnose disease. In fact, for less than $100, you can now order your genetic profile by going to 23andMe.com. In a few weeks you will receive a report which will inform you if you are genetically predisposed to over 240 health conditions including glaucoma, macular degeneration, breast cancer, and Parkinson’s disease. In addition, the test provides you with your ethnicity breakdown and ancestral history.
The Future: Having the complete sequence of the human genome is similar to having all the pages of a manual needed to make a human body. The challenge now is to determine how to read the context of these pages and understand how all of the parts work together in human health and disease. Once this is understood, we will have a new generation of more specific treatments and medications which cause fewer side effects than those used today.
What was once considered science fiction is here now. The $64,000 question is: Are we better off knowing what we are genetically predisposed to so that we can be proactive at preventing it. or will knowing what the future may hold and assuming “the worst” be more harmful then beneficial?
How can a diehard fan be without these? Just in time for “The Holidays” (or Christmas as it was once called), these sunglasses would make a great gift. They are metallic “Eagles green” and come with polycarbonate lenses which provide 100% UV protection. Unfortunately, we can also order Giants, Cowboys, and other NFL team styles if you are not an Eagles fan. Stop by and check them out. Mention that you read about it here and take 15% off.