Within the last couple of years it’s become possible to sequence the entire genome of a newborn baby—all six billion base pairs of DNA—and diagnose potential genetic disorders in about 7 hours. That’s already happening in a handful of hospitals, with a focus on babies who are showing symptoms of rare genetic disorders. But within five years, says Harry's guest Dr. Stephen Kingsmore, it should be possible to extend this rapid whole-genome sequencing to every baby in every hospital, whether they’re showing symptoms or not. Kingsmore is president and CEO of the Institute for Genomic Medicine at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, where he’s been leading an aggressive push to prove that rapid whole-genome sequencing and diagnosis can not only save the lives of newborns, but save the healthcare system a lot of money by making hospital stays shorter and therapies more directed.
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