Weldon advocates benefits of genetic testing
Genetic testing could boost health in Bermuda and cut costs, a Bermudian biochemist said yesterday.
Carika Weldon said: “It’s not just beneficial to health, which is obviously important, but it would save money for healthcare.
“You can actually know from genetics whether your body will accept a certain drug or not.
“If we are able to integrate this into our healthcare system we wouldn’t just be shooting blindly ... we would actually be hitting the target.”
Dr Weldon was speaking before her presentation Knowing your Genetic Code: How DNA Sequencing is Becoming More Personal, which is scheduled to take place at Bermuda College tonight.
She will discuss how genetics can help people make better health choices.
Dr Weldon, 28, explained: “If you understand certain parts of your DNA, it can help you to understand how to take care of yourself better.”
DNA sequencing determines the order of four chemical building blocks called bases that make up the DNA molecule.
The sequence tells scientists the kind of genetic information that is carried in a particular DNA segment.
Dr Weldon, a former Warwick Academy pupil, said that genetic testing was becoming a normal part of medicine in other places.
She added: “This is where the world is going. It’s just going to be routine — like having your blood test.”
Dr Weldon said it cost about $1,000 for someone to have their genome sequence tested — but that the testing was not yet offered in Bermuda.
She added: “We want to be able to create a place in Bermuda that will test Bermudians, by Bermudians, and is for Bermudians.”
Dr Weldon said she would like to see initial genetic testing in Bermuda focused on specific diseases, like cancer.
She said: “I think that is a big issue in Bermuda. That would be a good place to start.”
Dr Weldon will deliver her talk in the North Hall Lecture Theatre at Bermuda College tonight at 6pm. The event is free and open to the public.
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