Carl Zimmer describes his experience as a master of ceremonies (with Robert Krulwich) at the Genomes, Envrionments, Traits conference (“A day among the genomes”). The conference, organized by George Church, got together on one stage almost everyone who has publicly made known their whole genome.
David Dobbs was in the audience and describes the show: “Genomes, cool conferences, and what the hell to tell people about behavioral genes”. He also describes some of the backchannel talk that focused on the more concrete element of trying to predict things from genomes – including behavioral variation:
As I'm quite interested in [behavior and mood], I couldn't help but notice that they didn't come up a lot in the formal discussions. But when I talked to people on the side, including some of those who had their genomes run, they usually confirmed my impression that people take a particularly keen intereste in genes related to things like mental health or behavior -- depression, bipolar, hyperactivty, aggression. "Oh God yes," one person told me. "Unless you're really worried about cancer or something, that's the first thing people look at. 'Do I have the crazy gene?'" Yet by my read, neither the industry nor the research community quite knows what to tell people to do with that information -- even as we move closer to making it cheaply available.