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What if we sequenced all human genomes?

Mad-Daqqa t''Għajn 27-06-2022

The rapid growth of genetic databases worldwide, coupled with fast-decreasing costs and the rapid pace of technological change, has increased the possibility of every human genome on Earth being sequenced this century. This raises ethical and legal questions on data privacy and ownership. While a global genetic database would revolutionise preventive medicine and research, new forms of surveillance, discrimination and power imbalances could emerge. The global interplay between the individual, the ...

Sequencing and analysis of the human genome – all the genetic information stored in our DNA – provide us with understanding about a person's ancestry, health and other traits. Thanks to DNA sequencing, medicine and the life sciences are able to predict and cure diseases. As DNA sequencing technologies continuously improve and become less costly, what if we all soon possessed our personal, smart DNA sequencers and apps to analyse our DNA?

What if new-born babies were given a DNA report card that predicted their intelligence, their odds of getting a PhD, their chances of becoming a chain smoker or suffering depression, a heart attack or cancer? Thanks to ongoing genetic studies, a large amount of genetic data is available today involving millions of people. The wealth of information available to researchers allows them to create a polygenic risk score based on the DNA test of a person. This can be used to predict a person's chances ...

Powerful new tools that have emerged in recent years have rendered DNA-editing technology more precise, more accessible and more affordable, allowing it to find new applications in fields such as medicine, agriculture, and energy. With its top-class academic institutions and strong biotechnology research, Europe is a driving force behind this 'synthetic biology revolution'. However, this innovative technology also poses serious risks arising from the unintended or intended effects of its use, and ...

The present report provides an overview of the current discussion on direct-to-consumer genetic testing (DCGT) among experts and public authorities and on the current status of DCGT offers on the internet. Guided by an analysis of the market development and the pros and cons of DCGT, the report discusses possible options and needs for political intervention.