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They May Have Some Value After All

Last year, the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Office of Public Health Genomics received several critical comments on a blog post he wrote, generally advising consumers against purchasing commercial genetic testing services because they were unlikely to provide information of medical value, he said.

Now, in post co-authored with his CDC colleague Katherine Kolor, Muin Khoury updates his position on commercial genetic testing services slightly. Khoury says that while he believes they still do not provide medically valuable information, DTC genetic tests "can offer a unique process for consumers to use a 'genomics lens' to learn about determinants of health and disease and to enhance both family and patient-provider interactions."

Khoury and Kolor add that while their position on such services "remains largely unchanged," and that they are "still concerned about the limitations of these tests in risk assessment and disease prevention for common diseases," they say thats knowledge can inspire healthy change.

"By educating ourselves about the evolving knowledge of genomic and environmental determinants of common diseases and the current limitations of genomics, we can take charge of our own health, broaden our knowledge base, and continuously seek reliable and credible sources of health related information in the midst of tremendous background noise, unsubstantiated claims and rapidly changing science," the authors write.

In their post, Khoury and Kolor urge consumers to consult their healthcare providers to discuss and share their genetic testing results, "especially in the case of reported mutations with high risk for certain genetic conditions or carrier state for these conditions."

The Scan

Missed Early Cases

A retrospective analysis of blood samples suggests early SARS-CoV-2 infections may have been missed in the US, the New York Times reports.

Limited Journal Editor Diversity

A survey finds low diversity among scientific and medical journal editors, according to The Scientist.

How Much of a Threat?

Science writes that need for a provision aimed at shoring up genomic data security within a new US bill is being questioned.

PNAS Papers on Historic Helicobacter Spread, Brain Development, C. difficile RNAs

In PNAS this week: Helicobacter genetic diversity gives insight into human migrations, gene expression patterns of brain development, and more.