By Dhiren Patel
We are at an exciting time in medicine and healthcare where genetic testing and the ability to perform gene edits are skyrocketing. The next big wave of healthcare innovation will be genetics and that’s something we already knew when we created stories of designer babies and the effect this could have.
The human genome is filled with data that determines the functions of our mind and body and if we can tap into this, the possibilities are endless! Disease and illness can be a thing of the past because we’ll have a chance to get to the root cause of the problem, we can better understand the effect of the environment on our DNA and much more.
Genetic sequences costs have a gone a down tenfold and will continue to drop and the tools will only become more widely available.
Genes for the Patient
We already see a disruption in this area from companies like 23andMe as well as Habit who letting people access their own genetic data so that they know what their body can eat, what they’re allergic too, as well as knowing their ancestry. This allows you to have more control over your life and understand the what how you can live your life to stay healthy and make informed decisions. This can then be leveraged by doctors to understand which medications to prescribe and which not to prescribe.
Doctors Using Genetics
Doctors can use genes to help them understand and diagnose problems they would never have been able to understand before because they look at a genetic code of a rare disease, run through a database and match it. This is something that was not realistic years ago and while this is only used for rare cases, technology can help expand this data correlation with Artificial Intelligence helping doctors identify genomic code anomalies that match with someone else to identify a disease or illness. This would save greatly in healthcare costs, save lives, and allow us to better understand the mysteries of our body.
Long way to go
We still don’t know what 90% of our genetic code means and what the functions and we have a long way to go in sequencing all that data and then created a public database that can be accessed by those who need.
Machine learning can help us better understand what our DNA means, it has the ability to work for countless hours without the need of resting and can parse through the genetic code to find correlations in short time. This method is not full-proof and will need a lot of work, but this an exciting time in technology and genetics. We have created tools that can expand what we know and learn and we are only at the brink of the boundless possibilities.
The impacts will be huge, will we figure out what causes mental illness like Schizophrenia and depression or how we can change our genes to evolve. We’ll have to see and find out!