South-by-Southwest conference this year was largely a digital health affair with numerous sessions and keynotes dedicated to the topic. One of which was by Anne Wojcicki, CEO and co-founder of personal genetics company, 23andMe, who discussed the future of genetics in our everyday lives. Wojcicki covers how genetic information can aid preventative health and gives examples of how 23andMe has helped people improve their health and, in some cases, save their own life.
I attended the session in-person and it was an interesting talk. Personal genomics is a young and evolving field with new genetic discoveries being made by companies like 23andMe on a regular basis. The greater impact of how personal genomics can help us live the healthiest life possible is only beginning to be realized as Wojcicki alludes to by stating that we still don’t know what most of the genome does yet.
Wojcicki makes the plea that everyone should be entitled to their genetic data and gives an example of where over 90 percent of doctors in the U.S in the 1960s believed that telling their patients they had cancer when they were diagnosed was not the right thing to do.
Find Bionicly’s review of the 23andMe personal genomics service here.