Photo: Horia Varlan
Hereâs a common quandary for you – if you could know exactly when you are going to die, would you want to find out? Â For me the answer is pretty easy – no way Jose! Â I donât want to live my life neurotically counting down to my death. Â But what if you draw the line a little farther back? Â What if you could know the likelihood that you will have a certain disease in your lifetime? Â Or even the trivial: would you like to be told some of your insignificant traits that you may otherwise never even know?
Is this even in the realm of possibility?
If you recall from the pea pod example in junior high, each gene is made up of two alleles – with each allele either being dominant or recessive. To show the recessive trait both alleles must be recessive. Â But for humans it is rarely this simple. Â These genes combine in incredibly complex ways to make you who you are – most characteristics are determined by more than one gene. Â Even though it is incredibly complex, I think it just a matter of time until every conceivable human trait is identified – it should be possible with enough data and large enough computers crunching the numbers. (geek tangent)
Affecting your lifestyle
What would I like to know? Â Areas where I could potentially take action to prevent a calamity before it strikes, rather than just worrying for worryingâs sake. Â The obvious example are lifestyle diseases such as lung cancer, skin cancer, heart disease, and stroke. Â Am I in the top 1% of the population for genetic risk of heart disease? Â If so you better believe I would be extra careful to watch what I eat and make sure I exercise.