Family Pioneers Genome Research

A group of researchers said that by examining the whole genome of a family of four, they were able to make unusually specific findings and suggestions for preventive care.

What's the Latest Development?


A family of four in California is aiding genetic research by sequencing the genomes of each family member. Father and daughter John and Anne West were sequencing their own genomes from the family's home in Silicon Valley when a team of researchers from Stanford became interested in their project. "By examining the entire family's genome, the researchers were able to better investigate 'the interaction among genes and the development of disease,' said Frederick Dewey, the lead author of the new paper."

What's the Big Idea?

Researching the West family is part of the scientists' quest to extract truly useful information from the genome, a person's complete genetic code. To date, while prices for privately sequencing one's genome have fallen dramatically, crucial medical information gathered from the data has been slow to emerge. "For one thing, 'at this point, we are still not sure exactly what most genes predict about disease,' said Lynn Jorde of the University of Utah School of Medicine, a co-author of the earlier family paper."

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