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Personalized Genetics: Dangers

When I decided some months ago to try to keep you up-to-date in the field of personalized genetics, I only could include 2-3 articles in an edition. Now it takes at least a half an hour to reduce the number to 10. So here are the latest and most interesting announcements about individualized medicine.

The world took another baby step toward personalized medicine today, as the FDA said people of Asian descent should be screened for a particular genetic variation before they take carbamazepine, a drug used to treat epilepsy and bipolar disorder.


One form of the gene, TCF7L2, is strongly linked to type 2 diabetes. Having two copies of TCF7L2 (one from each parent) doubles your risk of getting diabetes—that much is well established. But some researchers reckon that if you do not have any of the other risk factors for diabetes, your chance of getting the disease will be so low in the first place that this doubling is not worth knowing about.

  • Human Genome Rug at Art Basel Spinoff, Design Miami (Wired):

Photo Credit: Robyn Ross

Let’s finish today’s edition with the words of Larry Moran, a Professor in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Toronto:

I still find it curious that there are “science bloggers” who promote these for-profit companies without ever mentioning the scam that they’re perpetrating by misleading the general public about what the tests can achieve. The kit from 23andMe costs $999.00 (US).

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. I like the “dna-cubes50.jpg” image. Do you have a source for this? Is it copyright protected?

    December 17, 2007
  2. I bought it myself, but feel free to use it, Larry!

    December 17, 2007
  3. pistolpete #

    I have bipolar disorder. Though it can be a real pain a lot of the time, my life would not be as rich without it. I fear one day people will “therapeutically” remove persons with bipolar from existence. Even more alarming, I have two children with Down Syndrome. I can’t fathom a world without their joy, spontaneity, and love. Yet, I know that, if it could be done, many would “fix” their disordered chromosome and they would disappear.

    December 18, 2007

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