I wrote this for an assignment a week ago and found out later there is a strict 1-3 sentence max!!! I’m kind of proud of it though, so I’m posting it here. COMMENT ANY THOUGHTS QUESTIONS CONCERNS!
Assignment 1: Would you have your genome sequenced? Why or why not?
Whole genome sequencing, while a fantastic accomplishment in the field of medical genetics, poses a perplexing issue to the healthcare field. It is paradoxical to answer whether the results of genome sequencing for healthcare will in fact benefit or harm the individual patients and their relatives, considering its validity and utility in a clinical and ethical context. Personally, I would have my genome sequenced, specifically for category 1 and category 2. Overall, I think the significance of the results to my lifestyle, diet and medical attention I seek is paramount; it would be more than valuable to know the underlying genetic basis for diseases I could possibly have, and furthermore prevent. Nevertheless, I would opt not to reveal categories 3, 4 and 5. I would not wish to pursue category 3 or 4 because not only does this present additional chances for incidental findings, it also will cause unwanted anxiety regarding health issues out of my control and the control of healthcare providers. In other words, since the genetic and brain diseases revealed through these categories currently have no preventive measures or cures, there is effectively no clinical utility of these results. In addition, I would refuse to get the results from category 5 due to lack of ethical validity. The results from this category does not reveal anything about MY personal genome, so I would be taking the away the freedom of choice for my future children and relatives’ future children to know anything about their genomic identity. Ultimately, whole genome sequencing is a great technological advancement for the study of genetic diseases, however has limited application to personalized medicine due to issues of ethics and clinical efficacy. In light of this, I would choose to get my genome sequenced only in those categories (1 and 2) which would profitable to my health no matter what the results show. Evidently, the choice to get entire genomes sequences is solely based on the outlooks and ideals of each individual.
note: featured image was taken from CartoonStock.com, artist Mike Baldwin.