Similarly, WGS results would be beneficial in relation to toxicogenomics. Toxicogenomics is an emerging technology that would allow scientists to predict whether certain people would be vulnerable to the effects of
82 From birth, with information from a whole genome sequence, doctors and parents could ensure children were protected from exposure if vulnerability was found and modify a child’s environment in response. This protection could continue from birth into adulthood to prevent
unnecessary exposure and risk of potential deleterious health complications.
For example, asbestos exposure led to a dramatic spike in cancerous mesothelioma, but this exposure only affected a fraction of individuals. It was
later discovered that certain genetic traits were linked to development of the
disease, and had that subpopulation been identifiable, avoiding exposure to
the substance could have significantly reduced the cancer incidence.
Not only could information improve a child’s health, but certain results
could also provide needed health information for a child’s parent. For example, a child may have inherited a late-onset disorder from a parent, and
the parent may not yet exhibit symptoms at the time of the child’s birth.
Such information may aid in the parent’s diagnosis and further treatment of
85 This would be most relevant in the early years of a whole genome newborn program, when adults may not have yet had a whole genome
sequence of their own DNA.
The results of WGS may also improve individual disease prevention. By
knowing in advance the diseases a person may be most susceptible to, prevention programs can be targeted to prevent disease development or severity.
86 For example, in cardiovascular disease, genomics plays a role in dis-
81. Id. at e144.
82. See NAT’L RESEARCH COUNCIL COMM. ON APPLICATIONS OF TOXICOGENOMIC TECHS.
TO PREDICTIVE TOXICOLOGY, APPLICATIONS OF TOXICOGENOMIC TECHNOLOGIES TO
PREDICTIVE TOXICOLOGY AND RISK ASSESSMENT
1 (2007), available at http://www.ncbi.nlm
. nih.gov/books/NBK10209. Toxicogenomics is defined “as the application of genomic technologies (for example, genetics, genome sequence analysis, gene expression profiling, prote-omics, metabolomics, and related approaches) to study the adverse effects of environmental
and pharmaceutical chemicals on human health and the environment.” Id. at Box 1-1.
83. See, e.g., Amy Powers & Michele Carbone, The Role of Environmental Carcinogens, Viruses and Genetic Predisposition in the Pathogenesis of Mesothelioma,
BIOLOGY & THERAPY 348 (2002); Michele Carbone & Haining Yang, Molecular Pathways:
Targeting Mechanisms of Asbestos and Erionite Carcinogenesis in Mesothelioma, 18
CLINICAL CANCER RESEARCH 598 (2012).
84. O. M. Vanakker & A. De Paepe, Pharmacogenomics in Children: Advantages and
Challenges of Next Generation Sequencing Applications, 2013 INT’L J. PEDIATRICS 1, 7
86. See Bonnie Rochman, Will my son develop cancer? Sequencing your kids’ genomes
(updated Oct. 22, 2012, 10:05 AM), http://www.cnn.com/2012/10/22/health/sequence-
children-genomes/ index.html. While such testing may have the potential to provide predic-