Researchers are only just being able to put together the puzzle pieces of the human genome to create a picture of an individual's phenotypes, including diseases of aging, writes Wired UK.
When Craig Venter had his genome sequenced about a decade ago, he wasn't quite sure what his APOE4 variant meant for his Alzheimer's disease risk, but these days, his company Human Longevity can generate a decent image of his likeness based on his genome, Wired UK says. His company, and others, are now seeking to sort through genomic data to better understand genetic variation and its links to disease and aging.
At Human Longevity, Venter and his colleagues are deeply phenotyping a set of healthy individuals — who pay $25,000 to be part of its Health Nucleus — and are relating those phenotypes to the individual's genes. For instance, the researchers noticed two people with enlarged aortas, where the first symptom would otherwise be rupture and death. Though this was caught by screening, Venter says that if they can uncover genetic variants in those patients, perhaps it could be predicted even before screening.
From this, Human Longevity plans to tackle aging, Wired UK adds. "To have an impact on longevity we must first eradicate the causes of premature death, and the biggest factor here is cancer," Robert Hariri, company co-founder and president of the cellular-therapeutics division, says. "Next is to identify and address the causes of degeneration in aging."