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Genome power is about to sweep world: Nobel laureate

June 13, 2011

In a decade, we will have our genome on our smart phones and be able to routinely gain access to those of prospective boyfriends or girlfriends, says Nobel laureate Barry Marshall. People would get used to the ins and outs of knowing their genetic makeup as the benefits to their health became clear and treatment got better targeted, he says.

Marshall plans to become the first Australian to post his own full genome on the Internet, even though it reveals unsettling insights: three times higher lifetime risk of macular degeneration and double for testicular cancer and for Alzheimer’s disease.

Marshall says Australia, like the U.S., should legislate against discriminatory practices like higher life insurance premiums on the basis of genetic tests.

Barry James Marshall, AC, FRS, FAA (born 30 September 1951) is an Australian physician, Nobel Prize laureate in Physiology or Medicine, and Professor of Clinical Microbiology at the University of Western Australia, according to Wikipedia.

Marshall is well-known for proving that the bacterium Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is the cause of most peptic ulcers, reversing decades of medical doctrine holding that ulcers were caused by stress, spicy foods, and too much acid. Marshall drank a Petri dish containing cultured H. pylori, expecting to develop, perhaps years later, an ulcer. He was surprised when, only five days later, he developed gastritis with achlorhydria, that is, his vomitus had no acid content.

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