Personal genetic profiles may be reality

August 6, 2005

Personal genetic profiles revealing a person's risk of disease, food intolerance and drug reactions could soon be a reality, says a Boston researcher.

George Church of the Harvard University Medical School in Boston said he read the entire genetic code, or genome, of the E.coli gut bacterium using off-the-shelf instruments -- an inexpensive microscope, a digital camera and fluorescent dyes, each of which binds to one of four DNA "letters" of the genetic code, the Daily Telegraph reported Friday.

Church said his ability to read DNA at a fraction of the normal cost indicates the cost of genetic technology could be reduced.

"These developments give the feeling that improvements are coming very quickly," said Church.

A person's genetic code helps identify genetic risk factors for diseases such as cancer and allow drugs to be tailored to suit an individual's particular genetic make-up.

Church's findings are published in Science.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

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