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It Was a Helluva Weekend for Personal Genomics

You may have spent the past few months thinking that companies like 23andMe or Navigenics would be a flash in the pan. But thanks to articles in major newspapers as well as video interviews all over the Internet, by now even your great-aunt Sally knows what personal genomics is. Here's a look at what all the hubbub is about.

In a front-page story from the New York Times this weekend, reporter Amy Harmon writes about her own experience getting her genome analyzed by 23andMe. "I don’t like brussels sprouts. Who knew it was genetic? But I have the snippet of DNA that gives me the ability to taste a compound that makes many vegetables taste bitter," she writes.

Following the theme, Thomas Goetz has a series of stories in Wired about the field. In the feature story, he too reports on what he learned from having his genome assessed by both 23andMe and Navigenics. (His take: "The experience is simultaneously unsettling, illuminating, and empowering.") That story includes a video interview with Linda Avey and Anne Wojcicki from 23andMe. Elsewhere in the series, Goetz includes a look at a diagram of his own genome and links to disease susceptibility, as well as a timeline of key events in the race to the $1,000 genome.

Meantime, over at All Things Digital, reporter Kara Swisher has video and notes from her recent tour of the 23andMe facility, as well as a two-part video interview with Avey and Wojcicki.

And to add some perspective to it all, the self-titled Gene Sherpa, Steve Murphy, has a blog post on "where this magical field of personalized medicine is headed." In his view, the success of the field will depend on solving legal issues -- such as getting a genetic nondiscrimination bill in place -- and making sure that personalized medicine isn't overhyped and remains in a favorable position among consumers.

 

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.