In a recent article, we discussed whole genome sequencing and how it works. In this article, we are going to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of whole genome sequencing, and offer some practical advice for overcoming the disadvantages.
The Advantages of Whole Genome Sequencing
Human whole genome sequencing (WGS) is starting to usher in a new era of personalized medicine. By allowing the entire genome of a person to be sequenced, every gene can be turned into digital data for analysis.
While this results in a large amount of data, it also results in big opportunities. Once a person has this data, it can be analyzed to easily determine if they carry genes for particular single genetic disorders like cystic fibrosis or sickle cell anemia.
But it doesn't end there. With advances in technology, WGS findings are starting to guide treatments for common cancers (colorectal cancer and melanoma) and are also being used to determine which medications are safe (and which are not) on a person-by-person basis.
Why is Whole Genome Sequencing So Powerful?
When compared with partial autosomal DNA technologies, such as microarray-based autosomal DNA testing, WGS provides 3,000 times more information due to the fact that it provides data on all six billion base pairs of the human genome.
Similar to partial autosomal tests, exome sequencing is another technique that also only covers a portion of the genome. It focuses on just the protein-coding sequences, which represents only 1% of the genome.
When compared with WGS, exome sequencing is again no match as WGS provides complete coverage of the coding and noncoding regions of the genome, which allows a more comprehensive assessment of genome.
WGS also offers a better determination of copy number variations, rearrangements and other structural variations due to it taking advantage of reads longer than 2×100 paired. The results of all of this is a much more thorough analysis that can offer significantly more predictive potential. However, there are disadvantages too.
The Disadvantages of Whole Genome Sequencing
While WGS is getting easier, faster, and less expensive for consumers, there are still some practical challenges regarding the interpretation of the data. Since most of the genetic variants in the human genome are still not fully understood, and since many diseases involve multiple genes, not all diseases can be predicted.
Because of this, we built a simple app we call Data Viewer that can help you easily explore the association between your genetic data and diseases, conditions, traits, and medication reactions. It is continually updated as the newest scientific research becomes available, so it is an excellent way to keep up to date with the latest scientific findings.
Also, most physicians are not well trained in interpreting genetic data and so many are unwilling to work with their patients DNA results. We recognize this is still a major hurdle for many people when trying to understand their results, which is why we offer a Genetic Counseling app. The app allows you to discuss your DNA results with a trained professional so you can get the kind of guidance you need to make smart decisions.
Finally, storage and analysis can also be particularly challenging since a WGS generates such a large amount of data. But here again, Sequencing.com has you covered. We offer free data storage, no matter how big your data file, and we have multiple DNA upload methods to handle any size file.
So go on, get your genome sequenced from Dante Labs, our preferred sequencing provider, and start outsmarting your genes!