Whole-Genome Sequencing

Genome Sequence Uses

DNA microarrays are methods that scientists use to detect gene expression by analyzing different DNA fragments that are fixed to a glass slide or a silicon chip to identify active genes and sequences. We can discover almost one million genotypic abnormalities using microarrays; whereas, whole-genome sequencing can provide information about all six billion base pairs in the human genome. Although studying genome sequencing medical applications is interesting, this discipline dwells on abnormal gene function. Knowing about the entire genome will allow researchers to discover future onset diseases and other genetic disorders early. This will allow for more informed decisions about lifestyle, medication, and having children. Genomics is still in its infancy, although someday it may become routine to use whole-genome sequencing to screen every newborn to detect genetic abnormalities.

In addition to disease and medicine, genomics can contribute to developing novel enzymes that convert biomass to biofuel, which results in higher crop and fuel production, and lower consumer cost. This knowledge should allow better methods of control over the microbes that industry uses to produce biofuels. Genomics could also improve monitoring methods that measure the impact of pollutants on ecosystems and help clean up environmental contaminants. Genomics has aided in developing agrochemicals and pharmaceuticals that could benefit medical science and agriculture.

It sounds great to have all the knowledge we can get from whole-genome sequencing; however, humans have a responsibility to use this knowledge wisely. Otherwise, it could be easy to misuse the power of such knowledge, leading to discrimination based on a person's genetics, human genetic engineering, and other ethical concerns. This information could also lead to legal issues regarding health and privacy.