Mapping the genomic medicine goldrush

Mapping the genomic medicine goldrush

If an artist in the US can create a credible facial image of a smoker from DNA left on a discarded cigarette butt, imagine the potential power of genomic medicine, the vast awards awaiting those who possess access to genomes, and the potential for misuse where regulation of genetic information is light

Barry J Whyte

Chief Feature Writer @whytebarry
9th February, 2020

Heather Dewey-Hagborg’s chosen medium is thrown-away traces of human DNA. The artist collects chewing gum, cigarette butts and pubic hair – yes you read that correctly – around New York and New Jersey, takes them back to her studio for genome sequencing, and from the resulting genetic information builds pictures of the person who dropped or, ahem, lost them.

The results can be startling, as Dr Howard Jacob, head of genomic research at...

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