The Commercialization of Genetics


Hello! Did you know that it costs more to get an
Xbox than to discover your ancestry through your DNA? No? Well now you know. Thanks to 23 and Me, you can get genetic analysis
of your ancestry, health and carrier status for the cheap price of $149. How is it possible that we can get something
as insightful as that for so cheap? Well it all started with Craig Venter, executive
chairman in the board of directors for Human Longevity Inc. Venter started off his professional career
as a professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo. In 1984, he started working for the National
Institutes of Health. After failing to get expressed sequenced tags
patented, Venter started his own genetic analysis institute, The Institute for Genomic Research,
also known as TIGR, which is credited for sequencing the second human genome. Venter believed that the commercialization
of genetics could radically transform healthcare. There are other entities like TIGR, such
as Genentech. Genentech is a company that researches genetics
to make medicines. It became a part of the Roche Group in 2009
whose mission statement is to “Discover, develop, manufacture and commercialize medicines…” In 1978, Genentech produced human insulin
in a laboratory setting. Thanks to Genentech being able to commercialize
insulin, people with diabetes can live healthy lives. Other common medicines were also commercialized
thanks to Genentech. Although 23 and me is not like TIGR and Genentech,
it provides a helpful service to people for a cheap price. Finding out your carrier status is useful
for family planning, and knowing about your genetic risk for certain diseases will help
you make decisions that affect your health. Craig Venter, Genentech, and 23 and me have
all contributed to the rise of genetics being commercialized. Genetics being commercialized help people
learn about themselves and make decisions regarding health for a cheap price. So, what will you choose? An Xbox or an analysis of your DNA?

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