Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Dr Watson's Genetic Counselor: Witty or Insulting?

Today's issue of Nature [subscription required] includes a letter responding to Wheeler DA, et al. The complete genome of an individual by massively parallel DNA sequencing. Nature 452, 872-876 (17 April 2008) | doi:10.1038/nature06884. The author of the response, a genetic counselor, lifts a layer off the science publishing hype that surrounds anything about the human genome in this era. Also see the very insightful and witty table comparing two potential personal genome and genetic counseling clients: "Dr. Watson" and a "lay patient".

Here's a sample:

- Dr. Watson: Thinks the $1 million cost is a good deal - Lay Patient: Worried about the cost of a - consultation
- Dr. Watson: Brings in sequence data on a hard drive - Lay Patient: Brings in records about sinus infections
- Dr. Watson: Chose to have Apo-E sequence redacted - Lay Patient: Expects to learn blood type
- Dr. Watson: Shares 1.68 million SNPs with Craig Venter - Lay Patient: Googles SNPs to find out who they are

Well said! But gee, the "lay patient" must be a real dimwit ... if I ever need a genetic counselor, I'm going to do my homework first! - J.O.

Source: Roche MI. A case of genetic counselling for Dr Watson. Nature 453, 281 (15 May 2008) | doi:10.1038/453281a; Published online 14 May 2008.

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