08 November 2019

Total genome - wide

All babies in Britain will begin to do full genome sequencing

Georgy Golovanov, Hi-tech+

British Health Minister Matt Hancock said that genetic tests in the country will become a routine procedure, along with the usual tests that are done to newborns. And most importantly, a complete genetic analysis will provide all newborns with the "best start in life."


According to the Minister of Health, genome sequencing in newborns will help prevent the risk of hereditary diseases and provide personalized medical care to the child, the official website of the UK government reports (Matt Hancock announces ambition to map 5 million genomes). This is a procedure for determining the order of all nucleotides in DNA.

Earlier, the Minister of Health had already promised to start providing such tests to all children diagnosed with cancer by the end of this year. The same measures were planned for adults suffering from rare diseases and intractable forms of cancer. In five years, the British authorities intend to sequence 5 million genomes.

Now Hancock has gone even further, telling scientists that every child should receive such an analysis at birth and called it the British "genetic revolution".

Such a step means that parents who have given their consent will be warned if their child is found to have a certain disease, and this will allow the National Health Service (NHS) to immediately begin appropriate treatment. According to the minister, this will provide the newborn with "the best start in life."

"We will give each child the best possible start in life, because we guarantee that he will receive the best treatment as soon as he is born. Predictable, preventative, personalized healthcare is the future of the NHS – and full genome sequencing and genetics will play a huge role in it."

However, not everyone is as enthusiastic about this idea. Some scientists urge caution in introducing mass sequencing of the genomes of newborns. Our knowledge is still too incomplete to accurately interpret the results of such studies, they believe.

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