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Personal Genome Project

These holidays, give the people who have everything the one thing they don't: a map of their own DNA

smithsonian.com

(Continued from page 1)

Right now, a personal genome analysis has its limits. At $350,000, a lucky child might receive the gift in lieu of, say, a college education. The process is also restricted by the current state of research: Computers can't give feedback about disease-related variations that haven't yet been discovered. People who get their genome sequenced must understand the chance of a false positive—that is, the indication of a genetic risk that fails to reach fruition. And, though unlikely, a person must be prepared to find out that a potentially fatal disease is coded into his or her system. Now aren't you glad you asked for that matter transporter instead?

The real wishful thinker behind this column was George Church, a geneticist at Harvard University and founder of Knome, the first company to offer individuals a full genome sequence.

Have an idea that should be thought about wishfully? Email it to wishful.smithsonian@gmail.com

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