If we could take a test today that told you your chance of getting cancer or of developing a disease like Parkinson disease that you can’t do anything about

If we could take a test today that told you your chance of getting cancer or of developing a disease like Parkinson disease that you can’t do anything about. How many of us would actually take that test, because I certainly would. Let’s say if my child had thir genome sequenced and you discovered they had a genetic disposition to say sudden cardiac death, would you let them play little leage baseball or high school basketball
The ability to sequence human is no longer science fiction, it is estimated by the end of this year more than 1 million people will have had their genome sequenced. Many envision a world in the not so distant future where we will all be sequenced potentially at birth. We will all have access to predictive information that suggests diseases we might get and how we might die where we will be sharing our genomic information on social media and using it to find our perfect mate. Genome sequencing has propelled biomedical research and we now have many examples were having genomic information is beneficial even life-saving thousands of patients benefiting right now from genome sequencing. For many of them, we are able to understand the cause of their disease and for some having that information has even led to more effective medical treatments. There are also examples of gene mutations that have been shown to meaningfully predict your future disease risk. So for example Angelina Jolie discovered having the BRCA gene mutation can significantly increase your risk of breast or ovarian cancer and many people with that gene mutation may decide to do waht Angelina Jolie did and prophylactically have their breast removed but one person’s transparency may be too much information for another. Many people assume that under all circumstances more information is better but their may be time or places or people for whom it isnt wise or compassionate or even appropriate for us to burden ourselves with every possible scrap of predictive information especially if we treat our genome as if it were a guranteed lockdown forecast. Our genome sequence is not an infallible prophecy of our future. The vast majority of diseases, traits, and behaviors are complex and multifactorial. They cant be reduced to a single gene or even to genetics alone and despite what popular media suggests, there is no single gene that determines your IQ or your religiosity and as good of an excuse it might be infidelity is stil more about what we take out of these genes than what is in them. I belive that gentic determinism is the biggest threat to the responsible integration of genomics. Too often we are seduced by the tendency to simplify the very complex relationship between our genes and our environment and to reduce the mysterious nature of the human spirit to our gentic makeup. Our genome sequence id the genetic blueprint of our biological self but how much does it or will we let it define who we are.
Reasons on why people may not want to have their genome sequenced, they’re concerned that having access to predictive information might stress them out or make them anxious. And they worry about their gentic privacy and potential for others to be able to access their gentic information and use it to discriminate against them.
How will many people respond to genetic information, whether it stresses them out or makes them anxious or the opposite effect and actually empowers them and motivates them to do all the things that we all kow we should be doing anyways but we dont, like exercise more, eat healthier and get regular check-ups.
It is really hard for people to change their behaviors for the long term and we are pretty terrible at forecasting how we are going to respond psychologically to upsetting events or bad news. The good news is that we tend to be incredibly adaptive and so we dont usually get debilitatingly depressed or anxious even when faced with upsetting genetic infromation
Even if you have a gene mutation that shows you are an increase risk for parkinson disease or alzheimers disease for example it doesnt neccessarily mean that you are going to get that disease and conversley, even if you dont have that gene mutation, it doesnt neccesarily mean your not going to get the disease but knowing this in your head and knowing this in your heart are two very different things.