What are you made of?
The test results show you have a life-threatening genetic mutation that you never knew about that may or may not kill you and there’s no treatment because it’s so rare.
There’s also a 60 to 90 per cent chance they’re wrong because this is a low-frequency genetic variation.
Would you want to know if this was this case?
The answer is often yes.
People want to predict their risk of future health problems even if there’s nothing that can be medically done for them.
It’s only a small majority of people who prefer to live by the mantra “ignorance is bliss.”
Most of society, if given the chance, would flock to get their biological futures told.
The chance is coming; soon you’ll be able to discover what you’re literally made of.
Whole genome sequencing is rapidly dropping to an affordable price point for the average person, predicted to come down from $10,000 to only $1,000.
Although a string of the letters A, T, C and G may not seem like a big deal, genetic mapping is at the forefront of the new medical era.
Diseases that never had an explanation can be explained and preventative measure can be taken before the genetic code time bomb can go off.
Although the idea of screening everyone’s genetic code to see what’s wrong is a great concept, it doesn’t work in practicality.
There’s a reason every person who is checked into the hospital isn’t treated to a full body MRI “just in case.” It’s not necessary.
It puts a strain on the medical community, bumps up wait times for those who really need it and creates a wave of false positives.
The majority of people simply do not need genetic testing.
Diagnosing a patient from a genetic output is difficult, not only because it’s currently a specialized skill, but because science still needs to learn more about DNA.
Scientists estimate that roughly 95 to 98 per cent of the genetic code is defined as having an “unknown” purpose.
Genetic markers and predispositions are not guarantees that anything is actually going to happen, you could be one single nucleotide inversion away from a crippling illness but if that inversion never happens, you’ll be fine.
In the same way, even if a genetic test passed a clean bill of health, a patient could later find themselves with a genetically linked problem. DNA isn’t stagnant.
Every time a new cell is created, there is potential for an alteration. These changes can not be predicted and can be detrimental.
Altogether, this puts the dollar total past the ideal $1,000. This is just the price for the initial test, which isn’t covered by most insurance companies.
Often, this one test won’t be enough, it just localizes the problem for further tests.
If there is a treatment it still needs to be paid for, research will need to be done.
Tests will be repeated. There will be check-ups requiring more tests, all for something that may or may not happen.
Genetic testing is an innovative concept, and certainly the way of the future.
But here, in our present, society isn’t ready for this kind of knowledge simply because we don’t yet know what to do with it.
For those with medical problems and no other explanations, DNA testing can bring peace of mind.
But for the average person, it’s not necessary and would just be a drain on resources and manpower.
The day is coming when we will have to answer the question, do you want to know what you’re made of?