Over the last several years, scientists have discovered ways to uncover the mystery that lies in our genetic history. The genomics company Knome based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, can dig deep into our identities and can be done as easily as modern day paternity tests. With a simple swab of Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) the company can reveal our genetic history, our genes surrounding our physical traits, and our potential for heart disease, breast cancer and other diseases.
Knome is a privately funded company founded in 2007 by George Church, Ph.D, a Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School. The doctors and scientists at Knome work privately with each client to guarantee the client is informed of what their genomes reveal.
The purpose of genome mapping is to give people the opportunity to prepare for any medical dilemmas by giving them the opportunity to prevent them. This is done by mapping into the client’s genes through DNA. Some of the information provided will give you data concerning your health risks and family history of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, breast cancer, and other diseases.
For a price of $99,000, you will receive a complete genome mapping of your 23 pairs of human chromosomes. Just last year the price for a complete genome mapping was $350,000 and it takes about three months for the results. For an extra $94,000 customers will receive a digital key that can be plugged into a computer allowing them to observe their information on the KnomeXplorer. To spruce up the digital key, Knome places it in a sterling silver case engraved with the Knome slogan “Know Thyself.” In the future scientists are hoping to reduce the price to as much as $1,000 to make it available to a wider audience. Other companies such as 23andMe, Family Tree DNA, and Decode, as of now, only offer details into your ancestry at a cheaper price of a few hundred dollars.
Scientists believe the more people who know about their genetic history will have an impact on the future of medicine. Knowing this information would provide preventive treatment and would cut health care costs. Luckily, President Bush signed the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) into law in 2008, which prohibits United States insurance companies and employers from discriminating on the results of genetic testing. This law forbids insurance companies from increasing premiums and prohibits employers from discriminating against employees and new hires.
So if you have an extra $99,000 lying around you can get your genome mapping in just a few months. If not, you’ll have to wait a few years until the price drops. Until then, I think I’ll stick to Knowing Myself in other ways.