People are often asking our company if they can buy a test that will “scan my genes for everything.” No, not yet, but perhaps soon. Today’s Wall Street Journal has a cover story on technology that is leapfrogging genetic research and genetic testing.
Microarrays are small microchips coded to detect DNA sequences from a blood sample. They can scan 100,000s of gene variations at once – enabling researchers to conduct research that is significantly more comprehensive, faster, and cheaper than previous lab processes for genetic testing.
But let’s not just talk about what science can do. Let’s think about what it means. The WSJ describes microarrays as allowing us “to search for genetic roots of some of humanity’s most common traits.” Indeed, many conditions, such as diabetes, are believed to involve not one but many genes. Research is underway for genetic underpinnings of obesity, autism, depression, Alzheimers, and many other conditions. Learning more about genes also tells us more about environmental and other factors. As a result, gene findings can help us develop better screening, preventive measures, and treatments.