Personalized Genomics: Benefits and Risks

Location: Marina Ballroom E Level: Novice

The revolution of personalized genomics is just beginning. In this talk, Pauline Ng will discuss the promises and the dangers of personalized genomics.

Biotech companies have started to offer DNA tests that reveal a person’s genealogy and disease risks. Ng will discuss what can currently be gleaned from the genome sequence of a human, and the value it has for the individual and for society, and demonstrate some publicly available tools for visualizing the human genome.

Although the benefits to society can be great, we must be cautious in our use of DNA. DNA is a unique identifier, much like a fingerprint, and it is widely used in the criminal justice sysetm. Herein lies a potential for abuse by the system. Ng will describe the CODIS database, the FBI database that stores the DNA of offenders, and point out the pitfalls of using DNA for identification.

This talk will help inform the audience so that they can better assess the benefits of looking at their own genomes versus the privacy issues at risk.

Pauline Ng

J. Craig Venter Institute

Assembled the first genome sequence of a human at J. Craig Venter Institute.

Designed the biotechnology that is used to find disease genes at Illumina, Inc.

Developed one of the first algorithms for prioritizing disease mutations at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.


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