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All They Are Cracked Up to Be?

The US President's Council on Bioethics recently issued a white paper on genetic screening of newborns that says broad genetic testing, particularly for diseases that have no treatment, does more harm than good -- though some council members disagree. "Forestalling knowledge strikes us as a blatantly anti-intellectual fear of knowledge," write Floyd Bloom and Michael Gazzaniga in a statement at the end of the report. At Science Progress, Rick Weiss tries to find middle ground. He writes: "The routine inclusion of at least some diseases for which the benefits of early diagnosis are not in hand but are under development, and may come to fruition faster with better data."

In the UK, genetic tests are currently subject to little regulation, though there are calls for that to change. In the Guardian, James Randerson recounts having his DNA analyzed and then becoming dubious of the results after consulting with scientists outside the company. A related blog post by Stuart Hogarth argues that private-sector genetic tests need to come out of their "'regulatory abyss' -- not my words, but those of a French government official describing the regulations that are supposed to govern clinical tests in the European Union," he says. He adds that "robust, independent evaluation of well-developed clinical evidence is our best hope if we are to ensure public trust in the new wave of genetic tests for common diseases."

 

The Scan

Fertility Fraud Found

Consumer genetic testing has uncovered cases of fertility fraud that are leading to lawsuits, according to USA Today.

Ties Between Vigorous Exercise, ALS in Genetically At-Risk People

Regular strenuous exercise could contribute to motor neuron disease development among those already at genetic risk, Sky News reports.

Test Warning

The Guardian writes that the US regulators have warned against using a rapid COVID-19 test that is a key part of mass testing in the UK.

Science Papers Examine Feedback Mechanism Affecting Xist, Continuous Health Monitoring for Precision Medicine

In Science this week: analysis of cis confinement of the X-inactive specific transcript, and more.