The two words unique to forward thinkers. Whether optimists or pessimists, the very act of asking “What if” places us in the company of the worlds most gifted minds.
So let me pose this question.
What if, you could be diagnosed with a simple swipe of your cheek?
You’re probably thinking back to that time you got mono in high school, or step throat in college, and found out through the test of a cheek swab. But that’s not what I mean.
What if you could be told your risk of cancer, simply with a cotton swab?
Would you believe if I said it’s already happening?
Genome sequencing is far from new technology, it’s existed since the better part of the 90’s after all. Cheap, reliable genome sequencing though, that’s a different story.
You can see how quickly the price is dropping, and that’s for a complete genome sequence. The majority of well studied genes can now be sequenced for a paltry 99$.
There’s a handful of services out there that offer sequencing, the best of which seems to be 23 and Me. A reasonably priced comprehensive gene testing service.
I could do a whole writeup on gene testing, that’s not my aim. What really strikes me, is how easy it is to make the jump towards 21st century nutrition prescriptions.
By now you should be well aware, though not entirely clear, on the impact of our diets on our epigenome. If not, feel free to check out the NUTRIGENOMICS link to the right. For the rest of you, you can start to see where I’m headed with this.
What if, you could test your genes and printout the diet you should be eating?
A thousand lightbulbs just flicked on.
I’ve talked of the “off” “on” effects that certain phytonutrients have on our genes. So why not take that a step further.
Say you test positive for a gene associated with breast cancer. Instead of doing a preemptive double mastectomy like some, why not eat more blueberries? High chance of prostate cancer? More tomatoes it is.
Realistically though, these aren’t actual nutrition prescriptions, they’re just a glimpse of what’s to come. The field of nutritional epidemiology is rife with new discoveries. It’s only a matter of time before they combine your genes, with your food, with your diseases.
I’ve always loved the idea of a genetic approach to nutrition, whether it’s feasible or not, I think there’s a lot that can be said for the foods your grandmother grew up on. Sometimes advancing a field takes going back to it’s roots. Only time will tell.
Be good to each other.
– Joshua Iufer