bioinformatics, genomes, biology etc. "I don't mean to sound angry and cynical, but I am, so that's how it comes across"

Genomics: prepare for the quacks!

Today is April fool’s day, a day when we traditionally put up joke stories in an attempt to fool other people.  I thought I’d turn this round and report on things that should be April fool’s stories but aren’t.

In keeping with the subject of this blog, I wanted to look at what will happen when everyone, when all of you, own your own genome data.  And what will happen is that there will be a new economy, 100s of new companies just waiting to con the stupid out of their money:

  1. “Love is no conincidence” – give these guys your genome data and they will find your perfect partner
  2. Too fat or unhealthy?  You’re eating the wrong food and the answer is encoded in your genome
  3. Hate the gym, but can’t play sports?  Don’t worry, we can provide your personalised genomic fitness plan
  4. Found the perfect genomic partner using genepartners.com?  Want to know how long they’ll live?  Easy!
  5. Have you always wanted to know how Yoga affects your genome?  No?  Well, if you do, “mind-body genomics” is a thing now.
  6. Do you want to improve your health?  Who doesn’t?  Well, why not just eat some DNA?
  7. Struggling to understand homeopathy?  It’s epigenetic, you clown!

To genomicists, scientists, rationalists and anyone else who uses an evidence-based philosophy to understand the World, I say this: prepare for the quacks.


  1. Most worrying about that last article? “Dr. Gabriele Hickmann studied Biology and human genetics and… She is head of a laboratory for cytogenetic and prenatal diagnosis and genetic counseling. Gabi also took courses in homeopathy…” How does the homeopathy part not immediately disqualify you from running a medical cytogenetics core?

  2. This trend is why I don’t object to the FDA’s move against 23andMe, despite my appreciation of the company and their services, and my conviction that I have a right to know my genetic information and to learn about what it might mean.

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