Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Are We Ready to Find Out?

As the Wall Street Journal and New York Times have both reported, Walgreens has decided to hold off on selling direct-to-consumer DNA testing kits until the FDA approves them. But Katherine Hobson of the WSJ's Health Blog says the issue isn't just whether Pathway Genomics can sell these kits without FDA approval or not, it's also about the larger issue of whether consumers are ready to know what's in their genetic code. "One of the big concerns about this test and direct-to-consumer genetic testing in general [is] giving people often-vague information about their risks for certain diseases might cause worry and distress, especially if there’s no sure way to reduce those risks," Hobson says. Some people disagree, however. Hobson quotes Thomas Goetz, an editor for Wired , who says those concerns echo the patronizing attitudes of decades past when doctors weren't always up front with patients about their diagnoses because they perceived their patients as unable to handle the truth. Goetz also cites a study in the New England Journal of Medicine which found that when patients found out about their genetic risk for Alzheimer's, it didn't "result in significant short-term psychological risks." Goetz says, "We don't need the FDA or docs as info gatekeepers."

The Scan

Long COVID-19 Susceptibility Clues Contained in Blood Plasma Proteome

A longitudinal study in eBioMedicine found weeks-long blood plasma proteome shifts after SARS-CoV-2 infection, along with proteomic signatures that appeared to coincide with long Covid risk.

Tibetan Study Finds Adaptive Variant Influencing Skin Pigmentation

With a combination of phenotyping and genetic data, researchers document at PNAS a Tibetan-enriched enhancer variant influencing melanin synthesis and ultraviolet light response.

Domestication Linked to Nervous System Genes in Inbred Mouse Strains

Researchers highlighted more than 300 positively selected genes in domesticated mice, including genes linked to nervous system function or behavior in Genome Biology.

ALS Genetic Testing May Be Informative Across Age Ranges, Study Finds

Researchers in the journal Brain identified clinically actionable variants in a significant subset of older ALS patients, prompting them to point to the potential benefits of broader test use.