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Not Ready for Prime Time

Considering that there are now 4,000 to 5,000 tests for heritable conditions, the question of how good is any test if it doesn't lead to actionable results is on the mind of a lot of people in the consumer genetic testing industry. Scripps' Eric Topol is conducting an experiment to see if taking a test (in this case, they're using Navigenics) will spur people to actually improve their lifestyles. Most experts still urge caution. If you're not taking the test under genetic counseling supervision, you might as well skip it, says one. Michael Watson, executive director of the American College of Medical Genetics, says a test should at least give you "the frequency of positive results and the number of people who test positive but never get the disease," says this article in Forbes. "These are very general concepts," Watson says, "but if someone can't tell you the answer to those, they're probably not ready for prime time."

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.