June 28, 2008

Genetic Gatekeepers in the Hype Cycle

Green Park GatesI blog on CNE about our right to be allowed to look into our genome, infringed by California in insisting that only doctors can order such "medical" tests. But genetic testing is moving the same way as pregnancy tests - they are becoming consumer commodities.

They might also be used for many things other than traditional medicine - not just prevention, but lifestyle (am I at higher risk for cocaine addiction if I try the drug? (but see also this)), art or why not personality self-profiling (always popular). After all, the Japanese use the "medical information" of blood groups for more or less tounge-in-cheek personality profiles.

What needs to be solved is the imbalance between early excessive expectations and high prices, and the later more useful, cheap and everyday use of the tests. We are at the approach to the peak of the hype cycle and even without stupid interventions soon many of the golddiggers in the field will suffer. But asking physicians to be gatekeepers is unlikely to either speed this process up (because they generally have a hard time interpreting the data; what is really needed is bioinformatics savvy genetic councellors) or avoiding the trough (since people need to get over their silly genetic determinism anyway).

Posted by Anders3 at June 28, 2008 06:52 PM