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What About Insurance?

More and more genetic tests are being developed to determine people's risk for disease, but as NPR's Michelle Andrews reports at the Shots blog, don't expect insurance companies to pay for all of the tests. Insurers, she says, typically only cover a test if there is strong evidence that there's a health benefit.

"You don't test for testing's sake," Susan Pisano, a spokesperson for the trade group America's Health Insurance Plans, tells Andrews.

For instance under the American Affordable Care Act, BRCA gene testing must be covered along with genetic counseling, free of charge, for women with family history of breast or ovarian cancer.

However, testing the APOE gene, which is linked to Alzheimer's disease, is usually not covered. David Finley, the national medical officer for Cigna, says that "[i]t's not enough for a test to be accurate and scientifically reliable. It has to benefit the patient." And the APOE test doesn't meet that standard, he adds.

The Scan

Harvard Team Report One-Time Base Editing Treatment for Motor Neuron Disease in Mice

A base-editing approach restored SMN levels and improved motor function in a mouse model of spinal muscular atrophy, a new Science paper reports.

International Team Examines History of North American Horses

Genetic and other analyses presented in Science find that horses spread to the northern Rockies and Great Plains by the first half of the 17th century.

New Study Examines Genetic Dominance Within UK Biobank

Researchers analyze instances of genetic dominance within UK Biobank data, as they report in Science.

Cell Signaling Pathway Identified as Metastasis Suppressor

A new study in Nature homes in on the STING pathway as a suppressor of metastasis in a mouse model of lung cancer.