The idea of sequencing someone's genome at birth has been "has been around for a long time in a pie-in-the-sky way," Robert Green from Brigham and Women’s Hospital tells Carl Zimmer at Slate. But it is becoming more of a reality, Zimmer adds.
Green's BabySeq project recently received funding from the US National Institutes of Health to study how sequencing the genomes of some 240 healthy and ill infants affects their lives. They will be compared to a similar cohort of infants whose genomes will not be sequenced.
As the study is small, Zimmer notes that rare, deleterious mutations may not crop up. The project will, though, make the discussion of ethics in genomic medicine more concrete, he says.
“We’ll be grappling with them in real life, with real babies and real families and real clinicians and real laboratory results,” Green adds.