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So Many SNPs, So Few Translators

Genetic testing is at the forefront of public attention again, and judging from the sheer number of stories we're seeing about it, that won't be changing anytime soon.

The New York Times has an article about the value of genetic tests for Alzheimer's disease, for which there is still "no single yes/no gene," according to the story. "Instead, researchers think a combination of genes work together, maybe with other risk factors like diabetes, diseased arteries or head injuries." Given that, critics have long argued against testing people for Alzheimer's. The article reports on a study currently underway looking at how patients respond to being tested and diagnosed as at increased risk of the disease.

Over at Yahoo! News, a reporter follows up on a scientist's recommendation that men from high-risk families get tested for the BRCA mutations. While a typical man's risk of getting breast cancer is practically nonexistent, that susceptibility goes into very real territory in families where a number of women have the breast cancer mutations.

And with all this genetic testing on our minds, here's a well-timed blog post from Jason Bobe about the shortage of trained genetic counselors to help patients understand and deal with results from these diagnostics. In the US, Bobe says, there are just 509 board-certified geneticists who see patients -- that's roughly 600,000 Americans per geneticist. GTO hopes they're really good at time management.


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.