Personal genome sequencing will now be possible at the commercial level as DeCode Genetics and 23andMe have announced the start of this service. Till now, complete genome was only sequenced for research purposes and to study the causes of various diseases.
Companies will scan about a million and 600,00 sites across the genome to assess a person’s risk for common diseases, along with providing information about ancestry, physical traits and the ability to compare genes with friends and family.
Personalized DNA sequence will give analysts specific data for predicting the reasons for various common diseases and in case there are any mutations, they will be detected easily. This can be useful in treating certain diseases like cancer, Alzheimer’s disease etc as the defected gene sequence can be compared to that of healthy individual’s DNA.
According to Kari Stefansson, DeCode chief executive, “We will include all the common diseases, including Alzheimer’s. If, as a competent adult, you choose to look at your risk of developing Alzheimer’s, that is your prerogative. But no one will force you to look at your Alzheimer’s risk if you do not want to.”
This service will be provided in North America and Europe. The person who wants to have his DNA sequenced will have to send in a cheek swab to DeCode. After a few weeks, he can access his DNA sequence on the Web site. It must be noted that the information will be protected by a password.
DeCode Genetics will start the “DeCodeMe” service for a whopping price of $985 for the personal genotyping of a person, whereas the second company with this offering 23andMe will charge $999 per genome.