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School is in Session

There are about 75,000 genetics tests on the market, and doctors have no idea what to do with them all, says The Verge. Indeed, a recent study of primary care docs in New York showed that only 14 percent of them were comfortable interpreting results from genetic tests.

Meanwhile, 10 new genetic tests enter the market every day, and they're rapidly becoming a part of routine care, the article notes, reporting that the CEO of Pennsylvania health care provider Geisinger recently announced that its doctors will now routinely offer patients DNA sequencing.

If major health care providers are planning to adopt genetic screening as part of their routine care, then they need to train their doctors to understand "which tests to pick, how they work, and how to interpret the results," The Verge says. "Otherwise, overwhelmed doctors may order the wrong test, or they may misinterpret the result — confusing patients and potentially leading to wrong diagnoses or false positives."

But that's not enough, either. Doctors also need to be able to tell patients what the pros and cons are of getting their DNA sequenced. Genetic screening sometimes reveals difficult information, such as whether a patient could develop a disease like Huntington's, The Verge says. And research shows that this type of genetic data can sometimes change how people live their lives.

"The test holds a lot of information and potential for both good and bad, and that means as they become more widespread, all health care providers need to be responsible for implementing these plans," the article adds.

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.