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The Decision

In some instances, such as when someone has an unknown genetic disease, sequencing the genome makes sense to get to the cause of the disease, the Wall Street Journal says, but it adds: What about when people are healthy? Stanford University's Atul Butte and Robert Green from Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School take up the debate.

Butte writes that healthy people should have their genomes sequenced. He lists four main reasons to do so: to recognize disease susceptibility and to try to mitigate it, for family planning purposes, to aid determine best drugs should you fall ill, and to diagnose unidentified illnesses. "But for many people, that genome sequence may provide the crucial first step to move from 'knowing thyself' to "helping thyself,' he writes.

Green, however, argues against sequencing for healthy people, saying that there are still a number of challenges to overcome before genome sequencing can safely be expand to a healthy population. Right now, he says, it could do more harm than good as researchers and clinicians don't yet know how to interpret results in the context of a healthy person. "Known mutations may or may not carry the same risk in the absence of family history," he says. "If a healthy person without a family history has a well-recognized heart-rhythm mutation, should we send them home with reassurance or surgically implant a pacemaker?"

The Scan

Genetic Risk Factors for Hypertension Can Help Identify Those at Risk for Cardiovascular Disease

Genetically predicted high blood pressure risk is also associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk, a new JAMA Cardiology study says.

Circulating Tumor DNA Linked to Post-Treatment Relapse in Breast Cancer

Post-treatment detection of circulating tumor DNA may identify breast cancer patients who are more likely to relapse, a new JCO Precision Oncology study finds.

Genetics Influence Level of Depression Tied to Trauma Exposure, Study Finds

Researchers examine the interplay of trauma, genetics, and major depressive disorder in JAMA Psychiatry.

UCLA Team Reports Cost-Effective Liquid Biopsy Approach for Cancer Detection

The researchers report in Nature Communications that their liquid biopsy approach has high specificity in detecting all- and early-stage cancers.