Personalized medicine for the paranoid: Lab on a keychain do-dads


Hello world! OK.  Fresh start, and all that, even if it is almost Q2/2012.

We read with interest reports of three lab-on-a-keychain advances:

 Raspberry Pi, a $35 computer with the USB and other inputs one would want;

— USB Thumb drive DNA sequencer (here, but see here ); and,

— Personal chromatography such as microfluidic-gas chromatographs (as well as a number of other detectors that can go on a key chain)

Yes, we read this with interest —  the unrestrained, unenlightened self-interest of the paranoid: can we now demand spit test DNA sequencing and drug testing on-the-spot to see who we’re dealing with?

This may not be theory.  After all, if you are considering having progeny with your significant other you may want to run some SNPS – sensitive parenting is associated with certain oxytocin and CD38 SNPS:

. . .OXTR (rs2254298 and rs1042778) and CD38 (rs3796863) risk alleles were each associated with lower plasma OT. Reduced plasma OT and both OXTR and CD38 risk alleles were related to less parental touch. The interaction of high plasma OT and low-risk CD38 alleles predicted longer durations of parent-infant gaze synchrony. Parents reporting greater parental care showed higher plasma OT, low-risk CD38 alleles, and more touch toward their infants.

We note that we have these “sensitive parenting” SNPS, hence our co-dependent family members and cats who refuse to be left alone for one hot second without vocalizing complaints of all sorts. Nevertheless, we predict this kind of thing to spawn a cottage industry of etiquette books (“How to ask your date to spit in your thumbdrive”) and lawsuits based on saliva sampling without consent. We’re surprised surreptitious genetic testing isn’t more common, frankly.  Some forecast this risk for the 2012 presidential candidates.

Our position:  disclosing our DNA is another kind of out.  We sense a civil rights issue just over the horizon.

A recent report on autistic-spectrum in the tech industry brings this into high relief (” The Tech Industry’s Asperger Problem: Affliction Or Insult? ,, with a particularly unnerving image here, watch it for a few seconds). We work in many technologies with those who we see as having some level of Aspergeryness (not to unduly label people, and usually to our benefit-after all, obsess ing on one thing is the ying to our yang of being screamingly bored when doing something for too long).  Being paranoid ourselves, we’d just as soon know the biological predispositions of others, and have them know ours and then everyone is on a level playing field and we know when to run away screaming when we see certain embodied SNPs approaching.

For SNPS we’d like to know, here’s a start.

If you want to browse other people’s genomes, start here: SNPedia’s Public Genomes. (This isn’t nearly as direct as we’d like – isn’t there some way to standardize this information to link SNPs to phenotypes?)

Image: “A DIY keychain made by pictured with keys. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.” Via Wikipedia.