Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

What to Know?

To try to tease out the cause of her daughter's breathing problems, Christine Rowan turned to genetic testing, but as she was waiting for the results, she tells NPR, she began to wonder about what else the testing might find. As the price of sequencing drops, NPR notes, all newborns, not just those who are ill, and possibly fetuses may eventually undergo whole-genome sequencing to catch genetic diseases early, raising a number of questions like those Rowan was asking herself.

"Instead of screening for currently something like 30 conditions, it would allow you to screen for hundreds, if not thousands, [of conditions] at birth," says Alan Guttmacher, the director of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, tells NPR.

However, NPR notes that many adults choose not to know certain findings from genetic testing of themselves — like if they are at high risk of developing Alzheimer's disease or Huntington's disease —and children may eventually wish they did not know certain information about themselves. As for Rowan and her daughter, she says she decided to only receive information related to her daughter's breathing issues.

"As with any new technology, we should try to use it to benefit people, but when it's not very clear what its exact impact's going to be, we should go slowly. We should study it," Guttmacher adds.

NPR has had other segments on genomics recently, as well.

The Scan

Push Toward Approval

The Wall Street Journal reports the US Food and Drug Administration is under pressure to grant full approval to SARS-CoV-2 vaccines.

Deer Exposure

About 40 percent of deer in a handful of US states carry antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, according to Nature News.

Millions But Not Enough

NPR reports the US is set to send 110 million SARS-CoV-2 vaccine doses abroad, but that billions are needed.

PNAS Papers on CRISPR-Edited Cancer Models, Multiple Sclerosis Neuroinflammation, Parasitic Wasps

In PNAS this week: gene-editing approach for developing cancer models, role of extracellular proteins in multiple sclerosis, and more.