"Some doubt genome's value as health tool"

genome_health.jpgThat’s not my title. That’s the title of the Boston Globe article. I hate it.

And it is too bad. It actually isn’t a bad article in the text part (mostly). Just the title. I think it has the feel of “denier” language. You know, “some doubt global warming” and “some aren’t certain that cigarettes cause cancer” and “some scientists think Darwin was wrong” sort of stuff.

I’m glad someone is taking a look at the state of personal genomics–there are worthy topics for discussion–and getting it out to the public. And if you accept that the premise of the article is the current state of the consumer genomics market, it may be fair. But the title feels like a bucket of cold water on the very successful, immensely informative, under budget, under deadline human genome project.

A great point the article also includes is that there is no legal protection against the misuse or misinterpretation of this data by employers and insurers. There is a major push this week for action on the GINA legislation. We need protection, and we need it now.

I think there is health “value” in the genome. But there are still many mysteries at this stage, and there are many issues around the use of the data. I’m glad to see it in the paper. But I know my dad is gonna call and say, “Hey, they say there’s no health value in that stuff you are doing….” Sigh.

Image courtesy of the great collection of publicly available images from the NIH.