Two Part series on Personal Genomics
The Vancouver Sun recent ran a two part series on personal genomics. The stories were written by Randy Shore.
In the course of his early research, the chief scientific officer of Genome BC routinely drew his own blood to compare with the DNA of people who were known to have disorders such as cystic fibrosis or spinal cerebral ataxia.
“I would draw blood weekly … and provide that to extract DNA,” said Brad Popovich. “The reason I was very comfortable doing that is that knew I didn’t have any one of those diseases. So, I was a good control.”
But over all those years, dating back to the late 1980s, Popovich never allowed his DNA to be tested for the APOE e4 gene. Having a single copy of the APOE e4 gene increases the carrier’s risk of late-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Having two copies — the e4e4 configuration — dramatically increases the risk yet again.
“I basically said to the lab: ‘I’m not a control for that test, I don’t want you ever to use me as a control for that test, because I don’t want to know and I don’t want you to know if I have that,’” he recalled.