This Height Predictor Could Save Billions. In Cash and in Lives.

By Ella Do

Michigan State University’s new DNA algorithm possesses the ability to create predictors for several physical traits, primarily height, whose accuracy falls within about an inch of later documented results for each individual tested. Remarkably, such conclusive predictions can be determined based on the study of a singular genome. While this new tool serves primarily as a height predictor, other indicators of bone density and even the level of education predicted to be achieved by individuals have been taken into account as well. Though resulting in less accurate readings, application of collected data from the two latter categories provided enough information to identify individuals at higher risk of conditions such as osteopenia or osteoporosis, or even those who would be more likely to struggle in school.

According to lead investigator and vice president for research and undergraduate studies at MSU, Stephen Hsu, further application would allow for the prediction of additional complex illnesses, from heart disease to breast cancer, that stem from now detectable trait indicators. With a new definition for the idea behind preventative care, this model would be able to efficiently foresee potential threat of serious illness. The tool’s greatest benefits come with its ability to not only expand traditional genetic testing to tens of thousands of variations but simultaneously increase ease of sample collection and reduce out-of-pocket cost for patients. Hsu and his team aim constantly to improve the algorithm's diverse analysis of both physical and genetically based disease predictors with high hopes that such early intervention will save patients billions of dollars in treatment and even their lives.

Citation: Michigan State University. (2018, October 4). New DNA tool predicts height, shows promise for serious illness assessment. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 7, 2018 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/10/181004143856.htm