The first whole human genome sequencing cost a whopping $2.7 billion. That didn’t bode well for making any breakthroughs on genetic disorders. Luckily, the cost has dropped dramatically since then, leading to a new breed of consumer genetics startups taking a deeper dive into all the double helix’s that make up you
Genos is one of those startups using a next-generation sequencing process to both give you a good idea of your heredity on a deeper level and to give researchers a crowdsourced genetic map to help with disease discovery.
The startup says it will sequence your whole genome in the near future, but is starting by sequencing your exome — or all the genes that translate their information into proteins in a genome. The exome is especially important in discovering diseases caused by rare genetic variants.
So instead of giving you information in SNP’s (or “snips”) you get a voluminous amount, adding richer detail to your genetic makeup.
23andMe recently halted this type of next-gen sequencing and founder Anne Wojcicki called it the “the hot shiny object” of the industry at the WSJD Live conference last week. “But what you’re going to do with all that information is extremely complicated,” she said, adding that her company doesn’t want there to be any ambiguity in the results.
Next-gen sequencing could tell you there’s a very slim chance you’ll get a certain form of breast cancer, for instance. But, as Wojcicki pointed out, it’s not clear what you might need to do about that information — if anything.
However, there are plenty of others working on ways to offer up deeper data, should you want it.