"Genetic Wild West"

Direct-to-consumer genetic testing can be a trip down the rabbit hole

Genetics isn’t just for geneticists anymore. With the rise of direct-to-consumer genetic testing companies like 23andMe, anyone can rifle through their genotypes at hundreds of thousands of positions throughout their DNA. However, these new possibilities may have some serious drawbacks, says Alzheimer's-specialized site Alzforum.

With direct-to-consumer genetic testing, everyone can have a peek at their own...
With direct-to-consumer genetic testing, everyone can have a peek at their own DNA. This might lead to unwanted insights, but may also have more positive side-effects.
Source: shutterstock/vchal

Beyond lighthearted factoids about ear wax type and Neanderthal vestiges, anyone can learn much harder facts, such as whether they carry any of dozens of mutations known to cause Alzheimer’s, frontotemporal dementia, and other fatal neurodegenerative diseases.

Alzforum explores this genetic Wild West, reporting on what kind of information curious customers can find in their data files, how the FDA views direct-to-consumer genetic data disclosure, and how the role of genetic counseling is changing in the wake of the public rush to obtain genetic data from a spit sample. The story also raises hope that the movement toward personalized genetic data sharing could be harnessed toward a common good, e.g., by referring carriers of pathogenic mutations to prevention trials that could avert Alzheimer’s or related diseases.

 

Source: Alzforum

14.07.2017

Read all latest stories

Related articles

Hypotrichosis

Hair loss? This gene might be to blame

Hypotrichosis simplex leads to progressive hair loss already in childhood. A team of researchers led by human geneticists at the University Hospital of Bonn has now deciphered a new gene that is…

It's all connected

Understanding the "wiring diagrams" of genes in complex tissues

How is the activity of all genes in cells of higher organisms interconnected? And how are the genetic "wiring diagrams" of the cells in complex tissues coordinated with each other?…

Gene editing

Why CRISPR fails sometimes – and what to do about it

CRISPR has recently become synonymous with precise genetic editing. However, the mighty tool has been known to fail from time to time. Now, researchers have found out why.

Related products

Amplification/Detection

Agena Bioscience - MassARRAY Colon Panel

Agena Bioscience GmbH

Research use only (RUO)

Eppendorf - BioSpectrometer fluroescence

Eppendorf AG

Research use only (RUO)

Eppendorf - Mastercycler nexus X2

Eppendorf AG

Research use only (RUO)

Eppendorf - μCuvette G1.0

Eppendorf AG

Amplification

Orion Diagnostica Oy - Orion GenRead

Orion Diagnostics Oy