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Value Range

Genetic tests can range widely in value, the New York Times writes.

Some, it says, can find conditions people did not know they'd inherited. For instance, the Times notes that a Geisinger Health System patient had been grappling with high cholesterol levels when she took advantage of a program there to undergo genetic testing, which found she had familial hypercholesterolemia. That testing helped her get her cholesterol under control, the Times says.

It adds that Geisinger and others are partnering with Helix, which sequences people's exomes so people can then buy 'apps' through its marketplace to further interpret their sequences.

However, the Times notes that not all tests are the same. Sema4, for instance, offers carrier screening to prospective parents and Invitae is to offer cancer and cardiology screening panels, but other companies say they can divine from people's genes what food or wine they would like. Scripps' Eric Topol notes that the tests from companies like Sema4 and Invitae have data that underpin their claims, while the data for some of the other tests is shakier.

"I'm a big fan of the democratization of health care delivery, wherever it's not a risk for the patient," adds Joel Eissenberg from Saint Louis University School of Medicine at the Times.