Warm-up to PMWC: More Poetry

The 3rd annual Personalized Medicine World Conference is less than one week away, so we thought we’d share a few more of our favorite poetry contest entries.

Double Dactyl for a Double Helix by Mark Cackler

SNPity, SNPity, Personalized medicine Looks at our DNA; Tells us our traits.

Multimendelian Phenotype research can Give us our haplogroup If not our mates.

The Small Things by Roopa Ramamoorthi

I observe the almond eyes in the mirror the phenotype I inherited from my mother the chubby cheeks–I study the similarity to my grandmother and descend into my ancestry, imagine those same chubby cheeks in the faded black and white photo of my great-great-great grandfather head wrapped in white turban a high court judge

Another photo again in black and white same cheeks, a solemn smile My great-grandmother fingering violin and bow What I do not see are the SNP’s base changes in certain genes–her genotype Or was it the epigenome, those tiny methyl tags that made her die of diabetes when my grandmother was only eight before Banting and Best’s breakthrough of insulin was available in India

A family inheritance not of fortune but diabetes descending to my grandmother and mother Now crossing forty as I tremble to see a high triglyceride profile–wonder how long I can ward this off–

Those small things that matter most Maybe the ten things about you I needed to know mother were not details about your youth and childhood like your favorite novel as a teenager or your being best at badminton but the ten SNP’s and tags on your chromosomes That may have travelled to me Making me vulnerable like you

The First Generation by Lisa Friedman


A gene travels through time, Hundreds and hundreds of years, Parent to child, parent to child, Direct to me.

So many women and men Along this long line Had cancer, Breast and ovarian; Prostate, pancreatic, or melanoma. So many died young.

One small change in DNA, Chromosome 17, my BRCA 1 gene, 5385InsC.

I learned the risk to my health and An MRI showed I already had cancer. I found my tumor early, Long before I would have known to look.

90% of cancer caught early is curable. I ask my oncologist What curable means. She says, Curable means We can make cancer go away And stay away.

A dangerous gene travels through time, Parent to child, parent to child, For hundreds and hundreds of years. I live in the first generation to know.

Thank you 23andMe.