We are now in the DNA age. What can DNA testing reveal today and what will it reveal tomorrow? Genetics testing is an exciting field as it has just now become accessible and affordable and the science is advancing at an unprecedented level. How can anyone not be in awe of the cutting-edge advancements in this field? After all, DNA testing is fast becoming a more important tool for understanding one’s health conditions. However, it is as important to be recognizant of possible limitations in this field as it is to understand what it can tell us.
Genetic testing results which are provided from websites as dnaspectrum.com can tell us a great deal. And we should be aware of this important resource to acquire what knowledge we can about ourselves, but we need some perspective. Otherwise, our outlook is one more akin to pure blind and deterministic faith than a scientific one. We should not be like the boy in the movie, Red Balloon, where we get carried away into the clouds because we think DNA testing can do anything we desire. We need to come down to earth once more and analyze what it can and cannot do. To go too far down the path of thinking DNA testing for medical purposes provides all answers can be as much of a problem as shunning genetic testing science altogether out of unfounded fears. Genetic testing is an innovative tool. But it is still a scientific tool —not a religion.
And if genetic testing is a tool, aren’t there other tools in the toolbox? Many have pondered about the role that epigenetics and the environment play on the genetic level. Surely it is not a life sentence to get a certain gene for cancer, and there are other factors like this to consider, at least in some cases. The formula then may not always be so simplistic: if one has X gene one contracts Y disease in a pure deterministic fashion. Instead, perhaps we should view genetic markers as a pattern of guideposts warning us of greater health risks.
This is important and is not to make light of what genetic testing can do, because we could all use such warnings. In other words, even if we are unable to establish individualized medicine based on some futuristic, genetic testing system on the level that many hope for in the foreseeable future, that is no reason to not embrace what genetic testing can do for us today. And it has already saved lives and solved mystery diseases according to Marilyn Marchione’s Time article, “Gene Scans Solve Mystery Diseases in Kids, Adults.” That is plenty enough for me for now.