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Another Log to the DTC Fire

Parents don't currently have many choices when it comes to testing their unborn children for genetic disorders, says Scientific American's Melinda Wenner Moyer. But now, thanks to an enterprising DTC genetic testing company, parents may soon have a plethora of such tests to choose from. Using the discoveries of chemical pathologist Dennis Lo — who reported on a method of "sequencing individual fetal genes and counting individual fetal chromosomes in a mother’s blood to establish whether a fetus carries disease-causing mutations" in 1997, Moyer says — the San Diego-based firm Sequenom is developing a non-invasive fetal genetic test, which should be on the market within two years. "The big question is how these tests will affect parental decisions: Will couples abort affected fetuses? How will the prevention of rare diseases affect research funding for their cures?" Moyer asks. Experts believe the US government needs to step up to address such questions, and to generate guidelines for doctors administering the tests.

The Scan

Billions for Antivirals

The US is putting $3.2 billion toward a program to develop antivirals to treat COVID-19 in its early stages, the Wall Street Journal reports.

NFT of the Web

Tim Berners-Lee, who developed the World Wide Web, is auctioning its original source code as a non-fungible token, Reuters reports.

23andMe on the Nasdaq

23andMe's shares rose more than 20 percent following its merger with a special purpose acquisition company, as GenomeWeb has reported.

Science Papers Present GWAS of Brain Structure, System for Controlled Gene Transfer

In Science this week: genome-wide association study ties variants to white matter stricture in the brain, and more.