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Taking Your Genome to the Bank: Why is it so hard?

What’s more valuable than your money, equally vulnerable, and unique to you? Answer: Your genome. And just like your money, your genome should be stored securely as possible and those institutions that store your genome should be regulated on how they store it, use it, and potentially share it.

As medical science advances, it’s going to be increasingly important for people to be able to control and manage access to their personal genomes. To make this possible, we need to establish a formal, well-regulated system of genome banking. Just as the government regulates the banks that hold our money, we must also have it or an equivalent group/system to govern how institutions manage our genomic data. Because it is only by guaranteeing the security and use of that information that we will be able to exploit the full potential of the growing pool of genomic data for the betterment of the individual and for mankind.

Everyone’s genomic data, after all, is potentially life saving and life changing. We’ve long known that each of us has a unique string of three billion or so tiny molecules linked together in our own genetic code. That code governs much of our health and well being. It dictates the color of our eyes, how tall we can grow, our relative risk of developing cancer, and much more. Your genome also has big implications for your children and other members of your family. If a family member develops an inheritable disease such as breast cancer or Huntington’s, the information in your genome could be crucial to determine if other family members are also at risk. Think of this as the estate you pass on to your heirs.

The rest of this my piece is published here.

Sorry for the redirection, but since it is being published I want to make sure I point everyone in the right direction. If you do like the piece, please let me know here and I can write more on this topic or similar topics.