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Big Names Weigh In

While personal genomics companies say their tests have predictive value and will be helpful in health and wellness, The Economist asks what David Altshuler, Craig Venter, Russ Altman, George Church, and others think. Altshuler says that companies encourage people to read too deeply into their genomes -- he refused to have his sequenced -- and that he's worried about a backlash. And though Venter wants to sequence everyone's genomes, he cautions that "we don't yet know which parts of the genome are medically relevant." Altman, however, says that genomics has potential for developing pharmaceuticals, but that pharma companies are dragging their feet. Church adds that whole-genome sequencing in the future will be offered by companies nearly for free as they use it to sell other services.