picture looking at people's DNA
Picture Credits: gizmodo.com

Even though with the name the technology might seem something from a sci-fi movie and doubtful to get real in the near future, the truth is that Genetic Fortune Telling is already at the doorstep of disrupting the public healthcare sector.

With years of research and studying the human genome, scientists have found commonalty between people who are suffering from similar kind of health issues. They have finally concluded that most common diseases are a result of a bunch of genes acting together. Not only this, many behaviours and traits, like IQ are also covered in this conclusion.

Using data from a large amount of ongoing genetic studies, scientists are creating a score card for individuals called “Polygenic Risk Scores“. With the help of these scores they can determine the chances of an individual getting diseases like cancer. They can also predict other delicacies like IQ and will a new born be a smart or an average person.

The real benefit of this study is that it will help in creating the medicines that could directly attack at the root cause of the problem. Also, pharma companies can test the drugs better by testing the medicines on a person with higher probability of getting a disease. Not only this but your genetic report card will also help determine which medicine is more suitable for you.

But the fact of the matter is that, these reports are far from acceptable accuracy right now. It requires a lot of research and genome study to accurately predict the traits of a new born.

The day is not far when a new born will get its DNA report card at birth. These reports will offer predictions about

  • Chances of suffering a heart attack
  • Acquiring Cancer
  • Getting addicted to smoking or tobacco
  • Taking drugs

Ethical Issues

No technological advancements come without its disadvantages. Genetic Fortune Telling promises to be the quantum leap in public health prediction but it has its own ethical concerns. This includes chances of genetic discrimination as well. With babies getting their genetic score card at birth, there are chances that this might lead to genetic discrimination where one child is treated better than other.

The success of the technology lies in the way we plan to use it.

  • How are we planning to use this information?
  • Will it change how we educate children?
  • Can it help them define their outlook towards life?
  • Will it change how we judge their potential?

There are many questions that are yet to be answered but this is what makes a new technology exiting and alarming as well.

Anmol Sharma