According to the National Institutes of Health, a genome is an organism’s complete set of DNA, including all of its genes. Each genome contains all of the information needed to build and maintain that organism. In us, a copy of the entire genome—more than 3 billion DNA base pairs—is contained in all cells that have a nucleus. Each human cell has around 6 feet of DNA. Let's say each human has around 10 trillion cells (this is actually a low ball estimate). This would mean that each person has around 60 trillion feet or around 10 billion miles of DNA inside of them. The Earth is about 93 million miles away from the sun.
And as we head toward 10 billion people on the planet, that is a lot of DNA.
According to the National Human Genome Research Institute, the genomes of any two people are more than 99% the same. That tiny fraction of the genome that varies from person to person is very important. The variations of our DNA are part of what makes each of us distinctive and unique. These variations affect the color of a person’s eyes, hair and skin. Importantly, they also influence a person’s risk of disease and response to medicine. Visionary scientists are unravelling our genetic information so that they can personalize how we are treated. Dr. Dietrich Stephan, our guest on this episode, has been at the forefront of personalized medicine through genetic laser guidance, for decades. He is a human geneticist and entrepreneur. In December 2017, the University of Pittsburgh announced the launch of LifeX™, an initiative that will provide expertise, capital and working space to new companies addressing the most complex challenges facing modern medicine. The organization will be headed by Dietrich Stephan, PhD, Professor and chairman of the Department of Human Genetics. Let’s listen as he shares his views on personalizing medicine to cure disease and keep people well.