Mai 07, 2017 – Genetics- and/or genomics-based approaches are penetrating every single aspect of human life. In contrast to the term theragenomics (therapy decisions with the help of genetic/genomic information obtaineble from the patient concerned), we may coin the term lifeomics referring to decisions being taken concerning the daily life of an individual based on genetic/genomic information obtainable from this particular individual (or obtained, in an innocent bystander fashion, in not related contexts such as
Epigenetic DNA-methylation as predictor of mortality.
medically-justified genotyping or direct to consumer whole genome sequencing) .
The implications of Dr. Horvath’s discovery and the work of other authors in the field are simple and profound: Individual biological lifespans can now be estimated with significantly greater precision across large groups of individuals and will revolutionise the prediction of human longevity. GWS expects to immediately implement this technology into their current business to enhance their actuarial underwriting precision. In addition, GWS intends to explore a more comprehensive application of this technology to the life insurance business.
It will be interesting to see, how not only GWS, but the life insurance industry as a whole is going to deal with that now seemingly accessible information on human longevity. Are we looking at models with life insurance policies only issued with a companion test (i.e., epigenetic DNA-methylation test) in the future? Who (i.e., which authority) would approve such test? At what point would such models become discriminating against individuals with certain un-favorable test results? Would there be individuals who simply could not obtain life insurance? Moreover, from real life, an important question would be how reliably confounding factors of life, such as traumata, warfare childhood, famine, infection outbreaks, etc., to name just a few, are going to be represented in detectable ways in epigenetic test. It appears that there remain some fundmental questions to be resolved, bevor widespread application of the “life insurance policy with companion test” becomes reality.