Personal Genetics Education Project

How can genome sequencing save a life? A new technique emerges to rapidly diagnose infections.

In a First, Test of DNA Finds Root of Illness” by Carl Zimmer in the New York Times tells the amazing story of 14 year old Joshua Osborne.  Suffering from an ongoing immune system disorder and an acute infection, doctors were able to use DNA testing to both identify the cause of the infection as well as a successful path for treatment.

By sequencing Joshua’s genome, doctors we able to separate his own DNA from  DNA belonging to pathogens in his body.  An amazing story that highlights the rapidly changing landscape and reminds us that new connections between scientific developments and sick kids getting treatment continue to emerge at an exciting pace.  Zimmer also notes that this isn’t necessarily as easy path – our body is full of foreign DNA thanks to our microbiome – but this is surely a promising approach for doctors and patients.

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