Genomics is cheaper and more available then ever, but its usefulness for parents has yet to be proven
Before Cheryl Connolly gave birth to her first child, Loudon, she ran through the checklist of all the things expecting parents are supposed to do these days:
1. Create a birth plan.
2. Consent to the newborn heel prick test for metabolic diseases.
3. Bank his umbilical cord blood.
But now, she learned, there was a new one to consider: Sequence his DNA.
Connolly knew of an ongoing genomics research study called MyCode, which would make it possible for his doctor to take a sample from Loudon’s umbilical cord and send it to a lab that would look for mutations in his genetic code. Run by the Geisinger healthcare system in central Pennsylvania, where she worked as a fundraiser, the genetic test would evaluate his likelihood of developing a myriad of disorders that can occur in childhood—from abnormal heart conditions to cystic fibrosis to high cholesterol.
Neither Connolly nor her husband, Travis Tisinger, had a history of childhood diseases in their families or were...