Genomics companies are at the forefront of genetic research into disease. They also provide DNA profiling, genetic testing and gene therapies.
In addition, genomics companies are deeply involved in the process of producing hardier, more nutritious foods to feed an ever-expanding human population.
As recently as 50 years ago genomics companies did not exist. Now it is hard to imagine what we as a species would do without them.
21 Benefits Of Genomics Companies
As if their work to fight against diseases like cancer and their role in boosting crop yields were not enough, here is a complete list of the benefits produced by genomics companies.
1: Genomics companies are leading the fight against cancer.
Genomics are providing an unprecedented view into the workings of the body. That includes the workings of deadly diseases like cancer. Recent advances in mapping the entire genomes of tumors raise the specter of developing gene therapies that will be both low impact and highly effective.
2: Genomics companies can tell you where you come from.
In recent years, genomics companies have sold millions of home DNA test kits that provide people with an easy way to trace their genetic lineage back centuries. These kits are often available for less than $100 and are a great way to affirm one’s cultural heritage.
3: Genomics companies can catch a disease before it catches you.
A simple spit test can reveal if you have genetic markers that indicate susceptibility to numerous diseases. Those markers are called ‘single nucleotide polymorphisms’ (1). While they themselves do not cause disease, their presence typically indicates a person has a higher risk than others of developing breast cancer, macular degeneration, psoriasis, and more.
4: Genomics companies can determine if you are a father or mother.
One of the most common reasons DNA tests are conducted today is to determine parentage. Millions of people first became aware of the ability of DNA to rule someone in or out as a father by watching sensationalist daytime TV shows (2). But the business of determining parentage is not a sideshow. It has serious emotional and legal implications for all involved.
5: Genomics companies are helping to develop better cancer drugs.
Identifying people susceptible to certain types of cancer is a huge potential benefit of genomics. But cancer treatment is also set to benefit. Genetic information may provide insight into how different people will respond to various drug treatments. Dosages can then be adjusted accordingly to ensure optimal results. And certain drugs may be avoided altogether.
6: Genomics companies may produce the first genomic vaccines.
Current vaccines expose a person to a watered-down version of a virus in order to teach their system how to guard against it. But what if you could create a vaccine using specially encoded proteins that would produce viral antibodies without the need to expose people to dangerous viruses? These genomic vaccines are closer to reality than many people think.
7: Genomics companies are defining the field of pharmacogenomics.
Pharmacogenomics (3) is a relatively new field – made possible by advances in genetics – that studies the way genes affect a person’s response to different drugs. Pharmacogenomics promises to transform the pharmaceutical industry by enabling companies to tailor different drugs to different groups, and in some cases, different individuals.
8: Genomics companies are leading the fight against rare health conditions.
Genetic mutations are responsible for most rare conditions. According to the National Institutes for Health (NIH), there may be as many as 7,000 rare diseases affecting as many as 30 million Americans in total (4). Once the genetic cause of a rare disease is identified, researchers can then get busy formulating an effective therapeutic response.
9: Genomics companies are helping feed an increasing population.
In 1950 there were 2.5 billion people. Today there are more than 7.5 billion (5). The stress that rapidly increasing population has placed on global food production has been enormous. Genetic engineering is producing crops that are more resistant to drought and other risk factors, so more food gets to the people who need it.
10: Genomics companies are providing a multitude of good-paying jobs.
The contribution leading-edge technology companies like these make to the economy cannot be overlooked. Genomics companies have created countless thousands of good-paying jobs for people the world over. They are helping to lead the way to a better, more prosperous, and healthier future for everyone.
11: Genomics companies pay for many of your governmental services.
Government services do not just happen on their own. They are financed primarily by taxes on corporations. Every year the contributions genomics companies make to the public till is growing by leaps and bounds and today adds up to more than $10 billion annually in the US alone.
12: Genomics companies are picking up the baton from farmers.
Whether they were aware of it or not, humans have always engaged in genetic engineering of food (6). The modern watermelon, for instance, has been altered by centuries of cultivation and today bears almost no resemblance to its wild ancestor. Genomic companies that produce genetically modified foods simply speed up an already well-established process.
13: Genomics companies produce hardier crops.
History is full of instances where pests have caused widespread crop devastation and starvation. Perhaps the most well-known example in the past 200 years is the Irish potato famine of the mid-19th century. A million Irish died as the result of a fungus that invaded potato crops (7). Modern genetic engineering of crops prevents this type of occurrence and protects vital food supplies.
14: Genomics companies produce more nutritious food.
Some foods are being modified by genomics companies to increase their inherent nutritional value. This is nothing new as the nutritional profile of today’s carrots, for instance, is radically different than that of carrots from 500 years ago, before farmers started to cultivate them. Today, genomics companies are speeding up the process of increasing vital nutrients in many staple crops worldwide.
15: Genomics companies can help couples have healthy babies.
The ethics of genetics and childbirth are hotly debated. What is not debated is the notion of preventing children from being saddled with lifelong genetic disorders. Today, preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) can warn parents about the presence of genetic anomalies that could lead to these disorders (8) and enable them to decide whether to proceed with a pregnancy or not.
16: Genomics companies may help find a cure for diabetes.
Every year millions of people die from diabetes (9). And while the introduction of insulin a century ago has saved countless lives, the search for a cure has eluded us. That may change due to genomics. Large-scale studies of the human genome have revealed dozens of genetic variants associated with diabetes (10). In time, this knowledge may well lead to breakthrough genetic therapies.
17: Genomics companies may wind up leading the fight against global warming.
As strange as it might seem, it is possible that plant genetics may hold the key to defeating global warming. Some scientists believe we can produce genetically modified plants that absorb much higher levels of CO2 than their natural counterparts (11). This has the potential to undo some, or even most, of the ‘greenhouse effect’ driving global temperatures up.
18: Genomics companies are not out to steal your genes.
Some people fear that genomics companies are out to identify unusual or potentially profitable genes they may have and patent them. And indeed, during the early 2000s, thousands of human genes were patented. However, in 2013 the US Supreme Court put an end to that practice and invalidated all patents held on human genes. So there is no need to worry.
19: Genomics companies will help increase lifespans.
There can be little doubt one of the side effects of the genomics revolution will be longer lifespans. Until the late 1900s the average lifespan had remained less than 40 years for centuries (12). Vaccinations and advancements in medicine during the 20th century pushed that average to more than 70 years. Genomics is poised to create the next significant increase in lifespans for people the world over.
20: Genomics companies may help develop better household products.
Geneticists are creating new microbes to replace hazardous chemicals found in everything from cosmetics to dishwashing detergent. These new materials will enable companies to reduce their reliance on dangerous chemicals, drastically cut their toxic waste production, reduce their carbon footprint and prevent environmental disasters caused by things like leveling rainforests to make way for palm oil plantations (13).
21: Genomics companies enhance the overall quality of life for everyone.
Longer lifespans, healthier children, more food, and a cleaner environment are just some of the real and potential benefits provided by genomics companies. As you read this, genomic companies are leading the fight against cancer, diabetes, and other scourges. While at the same time producing safe, high paying jobs to power the future economy.
Genomics companies help catch nortorious killers, prove or disprove paternity, create innovative gene therapies that help fight disease and improve the world’s food supply. On top of all that they create good jobs and bolster everyone’s quality of life either directly or indirectly.