Fear not the gene!

John Hawks points me to a critique of NPR coverage of personal genomics. In defense of NPR they seem like Physical Review Letters in comparison to other media, such as the BBC. But I do wonder what the causality here is. Does the media lead us to the proposition that “genetics is scary”? Or is it the public which demands these stories?

Meanwhile, as are expressing worry, technology keeps pushing forward:

A faster DNA sequencing machine and streamlined analysis of the results can diagnose genetic disorders in days rather than weeks, as reported today in Science Translational Medicine.

Up to a third of the babies admitted to neonatal intensive care units have a genetic disease. Although symptoms may be severe, the genetic cause can be hard to pin down. Thousands of genetic diseases have been described, but relatively few tests are available, and even these may detect only the most common mutations.

Source: Discover Magazine – Gene Expression