Soon, doctors and scientists expect to begin controversial genome sequencing of healthy newborn babies, part of a research program funded by the federal government on behalf of genetic science. As reported by The Wall Street Journal, the research will be conducted at major hospitals and health institutions around the country. The project “stems from a growing recognition that genome sequencing could someday be part of routine testing done on every baby,” the paper said in its online edition.

That kind of testing, backers say, will give doctors and parents lots of information which could reveal a wider range of possible risks to their children’s health later in life — much more so than the current traditional heel-prick test in which blood is taken from a small number of newborns to check for dozens of potential health issues.

As further reported by the WSJ: Genome sequencing of infants also someday could provide people with a genetic blueprint to carry through life. The data could be used years later to help develop personalized medical treatment, such as choosing the most effective asthma medication. “We are entering an era where all of medicine is genomic medicine,” Robert C. Green, a geneticist and researcher at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston — a participant in the government program — told the paper. “In the next five to 10 years, as costs come down and interpretation is more established, it will increasingly be to everyone’s advantage to have sequencing information integrated into their care.” FULL REPORT