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Glenn Nichols, surrounded by his hospice team. The author is in yellow.

Genetic Linkage

Sequencing the Genomes of Dead People

October 16, 2015

Tags: DNA, bioethics, sequencing, human genome, ASHG

Last Wednesday, at “Career Night” during the American Society of Human Genetics annual conference in Baltimore, I was stationed next to Robert Steiner, MD, from the Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation in Wisconsin. With young scientists circling us like electrons around nuclei, I never got the chance to break away to talk to him. But I did overhear him discussing the Genomic Postmortem Research Project, an effort to sequence the genomes of 300 dead people.

I was fascinated.

Would knowing the information encoded in the DNA of the deceased have changed their health care? I went to the talk on the project the next day to find out about this clever test of the value of genome sequencing. (more…)

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