I was just in the midst of catching up on my daily dose of Oprah on Friday, when who should appear on her Friday Live! episode, but Anne Wojcicki, the wife of Google co-founder Sergey Brin. Alongside her 23andMe co-founder Linda Avey, Wojcicki talked about her Retail DNA Test Kit, which was named Time's 2008 Invention of the Year. For only $399 (a price drop from $1000), you can now purchase one of these kits that are easy to use (you spit in a tube and send it back), and it will be shipped off to a lab where 600,000 genetic markers are read. Once the results are in, you will be notified by email and then you can log in to view your very own genome.
During the show, Oprah asked Anne if she was six months along in her pregnancy, to which she replied — "I'm nine!". She also explained that after testing her and Sergey's genetics, they realized that her unborn son has a 50 percent change of inheriting a high risk for Parkinson's disease.
I Iooked at Sergey's profile and I looked at me, and we saw that the child has a 50 percent (chance of being) lactose intolerant. Because of Sergey, the child has a very, very unlikely chance of having blue eyes.
Very exciting stuff indeed —personal DNA testing, baby Brin on the way. As much as I would love to know my entire genetic makeup, I can't help but wonder what the moral implications will be. Even though on May 1, President George W. Bush signed a bill that makes it illegal for health insurers and employers to deny coverage due to a potential genetic condition, I can't help but wonder if and when this could change.
Images Courtesy of Oprah.com