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Get your own genetic map for $1000?

IBM is working on a system that could someday give you a personal map of your own genome. The Human Genome Project successfully mapped the first human genome in 2001 for $1 billion. This is what competition can do for consumers and patients.

With your own personal DNA map, it’s possible that exacting diagnosis could now be done by doctors rather than much of the guess-work done today. It could even help predict some illness. However, there is increasing evidence that our DNA is NOT the cause of illness as was once thought.

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For example, in 2003 a study was released indicating that depression was genetic; that there was a “depression gene”. Psychologists and psychiatrists around the world were excited and passed this notion on to their patients. Drug companies were enthusiastic because a pill might be the answer to this mechanical defect. In June 2009, scientists reported in The Journal of the American Medical Association that this gene had no effect on depression. No scientists have been able to reproduce the 2003 study. It may have been bad science.

Why is this important? Though our DNA may help indicate potential disease, “more and more studies show that diet, environment, and even viruses have a dominant role in causing diseases like cancer and diabetes.” DNA may simply be a reflection of what our thoughts and behaviors are doing to the body. Thoughts are the major environment the body live in. We must continue to look at the whole person, their entire life, not just some part of them under a microscope.

Popular Science article: http://www.popsci.com/scitech/article/2009-10/ibm-throws-down-race-1000-genome

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