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Test For Diabetes Risk

Direct-to-consumer genetic testing firm 23andMe has announced a polygenic test to predict users' risk of developing type 2 diabetes, MIT's Technology Review reports.

The test, Tech Review says, will weigh the influence of variants at more than 1,200 sites in the human genome to gauge type 2 diabetes risk. Fortune adds that the type 2 diabetes risk test will be incorporated into 23andMe's $199 Health and Ancestry Service test, and diabetes prevention tips will accompany customers' results. There will also be a way for customers to sign up for the Lark health coaching app, CNBC adds.

"Diabetes is a significant health issue in the United States that is expected to impact nearly half of the population," Anne Wojcicki, CEO and co-founder of 23andMe, says in a statement. She adds that customers' results could motivate them to make lifestyle changes to reduce their disease risk.

But, as Tech Review reports, some experts say the results might not be accurate and may not have health benefits. In particular, Wired notes that because the database used to calibrate the test algorithms are predominantly white, the risk estimates may not be accurate for individuals of non-European ancestries.

Others argue that polygenic risk scores in general offer limited information. "You might as well just look in a mirror, that's as good a predictor for diabetes as all your genes put together," Emory University's Cecile Janssens tells Wired.